Is it wrong to play the lottery?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Virtual_Cliff, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I was brought up to believe that gambling was wrong. That included games of chance etc although curiously it did not seem to apply to premium bonds. The reasoning goes that if you need the money God will provide, and it would be wrong to believe in luck (or money) rather than God.

    But maybe that argument just doesn't stand up. If you really thought God would provide or money didn't matter then why go out to work? Why bother about anything? Isn't the lottery just another legitimate opportunity to look after your material needs, and do a bit of good for others as well?

    I'm reminded of the Christian mountaineer joke: he turned away help from a passing climber, a rescue team and a helicopter believing that God would save him. On reaching heaven he asked why God had let him drop. God said "I did try. I sent you a climber, a rescue team and a helicopter!"

    Another question that's bothering me is: if you do play the lottery, is it OK to take lucky dip, or do you try to select the winning numbers? The same arguments apply - if God wants you to win then you'll win. But mostly I think God does not act unilaterally, he works through people, through their talents an abilities. Maybe, just maybe, sometimes some people might have some intuition about the numbers. Millions of people think so anyway. So would it be foolish not to give it a try?

    I should add I don't endorse gambling addiction or spending the last of the rent money on a ticket. I'm assuming we're all sensible people here! :)
     
  2. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Besides being a personal preference of whether one likes to gamble or not, what would be "wrong" with playing the lottery?
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I follow your logic and agree VC.

    If you wish to go the whole monte on the G!d concept...then don't worry about what you'll eat or what you'll wear...just do what you like and G!d will provide.

    Now as far as the lottery goes, the reason not to play that is that it is a horribly regressive tax, the gov't playing the numbers racket, and the managers of the companies cleaning up in the process.

    So if you don't need the money, and have plenty of it, have at it, have fun. Just know that it is entertainment...and think of what you could do with that tithe!
     
  4. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    I think that gambling is only wrong when it either leads to a self-destructive addiction or when it causes you to deprioritize earning your money.

    I disagree that investing money is "gambling". It's only gambling if you don't know what the hell you are doing. The smart investor researches the companies she invests in.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  5. Amergin

    Amergin Well-Known Member

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    Astronomical odds in a lottery are one form of gambling.

    Is it wrong? No, it is just stupid. I suppose it would be wrong if a dishonest participant or organizer fixes the results.

    Gambling by investing in the American Stock Market or Banks would not be wrong but also a bit stupid seeing the gross corruption in that system. Corporations and Banks are white-collar criminals who use a keyboard instead of a gun.

    As Pascal indicated, the greatest gambling risk is in choosing to believe in the correct God. If you choose the right God, you go to Heaven and everyone else goes to Hell. If you do not choose a god, you go to Hell.

    You could choose Christ but Ahura Mazda is the correct god, you are screwed. Is the right god, Brahma, Zeus, Allah, Aed Álainn, Odin, Jupiter, JHWY, or any of some thousands of gods invented by humans?

    Amergin
     
  6. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Gambling is against my religion so I don't gamble..

    Lotteries are supposed to be a way of raising money.. I recall years ago I was visiting Mexico and they had all these lottery tickets for sale and now in California you see them everywhere.. When California adopted the lottery system some years ago grocery stores noted a drop in food sales around ten percent ... so this tells me something that there are people who would rather purchase lottery tickets than feed themselves or their families.. and this aint good.

    Another aspect that I find disturbing is that along with gambling comes addiction... there is a sizeable group of people who are addicted to gambling and simply can't help themselves especially when it's sanction by the state..

    See:

    Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling: Signs, Help, and Treatment

    Now Indian casinos in some areas have actually helped the local economy but there's a hidden side I believe to this that is not very wholesome .. They become the targets of car dealers and every other panderer to spend their newly acquired wealth and become debt encumbered faster than you can whistle ..well whatever you want to whistle..

    So I'm not a big fan of gambling or lotteries..
     
  7. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to see if there were still people whi considered all games of chance to be bad, in and of themselves. This used to be put over as a form of idolatry, believing in chance rather than having faith in God.

    It looks as if this view has gone the way of the dodo. We all seem to agree that, like alcohol, it's OK for those who can handle it.

    My other reservation is that there are potentially millions of people whose hopes and dreams depend on something which for most of them will never happen.

    What might the world be like if people decided to make their dreams happen using what they have?
     
  8. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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    in my humble opinion, I think religious/leftie types should be encouraged to play the lottery...

    In the UK the Lottery gives millions, every year, to good causes who may not otherwise get funding... arts, sports, opportunities for excluded and disenfranchised people -- lots of small and medium sized community groups directly benefit from your once a week low cost lottery ticket... (in the UK)...

    yes, there's an argument that this is "extra taxation by the back door", "another way for the government to make profits" and that the lottery "props up government services", etc, but... shucks... if that's what it takes to run the country and fund charity X and Y, then I see no issue with it... Nobody forces you to play the lottery -- it's an optional extra!

    If you're a religious type, and win big, you know God/Allah/Jehovah/whoever it is up there will expect you to give at least 10% of it away to good causes from your own pocket, too, so, it's a potentially win-win situation for everyone...

    In the UK, one lottery ticket costs £1.50 GBP. Consider that £1.50 a week as a donation to charity, as, that's where a proportion of your pound fifty will eventually end up, and... it's not strictly gambling... it's a charitable donation that might make you a millionaire! whats not to like?
     
  9. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain Well-Known Member

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    A lottery is nothing other than a tax levied upon stupidity.
     
  10. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    I will admit I miss my lottery tickets. After becoming Muslim I had to stop playing ... I tried telling myself if I won I would give 95% to charities etc but knew in my mind I was trying to find a get out clause, so I stopped.

    I do miss the feeling of "what if" though and daydreaming about all the good I could do with that sort of money.
     
  11. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting. What is the standard Moslem position on gambling? I used to hear stories of camel racing with large amounts changing hands.
     
  12. biomystic

    biomystic Interfaith Forums

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    As someone who was at one time a consultant on how to set up a Native American lottery system I've spent many years thinking about lottery systems. They've been around since the Roman times if not before and there's no sign that the gambling impulse that fuels lottery sales is going away despite religious prohibitions. I think lotteries are under utilized by governments as a way to raise money. I think lotteries should be part of tax system, i.e. paying one's taxes with the possibility, albeit a very tiny one, of winning a huge amount of money. It would make paying taxes a more pleasant experience. Yes, there are problems with with a minority of poor people who will buy lottery tickets vs. living necessities but that's really a separate issue of poor peoples comparable lack of skill in the management of their lives in general than an across the board human behavioral problem. For the majority of people, playing the lottery is an innocuous past time that expresses the human need to have hope, hope of winning against the stacked deck of life.

    The other problem with lotteries is the winners being unable to manage their winnings which can be alleviated by contractual agreement of lottery ticket buyers to agree to having their winnings managed by professionals instead of by personal whims of the winners. In other words, if a state lottery system goes about it conscientiously, the relatively minor problems associated with lottery ticket sales and lottery winnings can be overcome. Wouldn't you rather pay your taxes if there was a chance however small of winning significant money? Lotteries historically are used to fund good causes and that could include financing most of our government programs.
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste and welcome biomystic,

    But dagnabbit...with your name and this thread title I was all excited to see the numbers for tonight...

    False advertising my brother....good commentary and I agree...but false advertising nonetheless.

    Enjoy the site....
     
  14. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain Well-Known Member

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    Is it wrong to spend money stupidly? That's the same question, after all. If being stupid is immoral, then a lottery is immoral. If it is not immoral to merely be stupid, then there is no immorality inherent in playing the lottery.
     
  15. biomystic

    biomystic Interfaith Forums

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    Well, I'm glad we cleared that one up. Thanks for the welcome. I've been a member before but somewhere along the line I couldn't access this forum for some unknown reason so I left it until trying to access it again and succeeding this time.
     
  16. Boethiah

    Boethiah Member

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    This. On the surface gambling doesn't seem like such an issue, but it can lead to addictions. It seems like chasing something, like a distant goal or possibility. So people rely on luck in hopes of winning. When they lose, "maybe next time". To me, this seems wasteful.

    Gambling isn't for me, but if others do it responsibly then it really isn't a problem. It is those with addictive personalities that have to be worried.
     
  17. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain Well-Known Member

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    Governments become addicted to gambling more than does any individual gambler. They become addicted to the revenue and put it into their budgets. Then they get whiny if that "sure bet" starts to dry up, and to punish the people, they raise taxes.
     
  18. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I must admit, I'm not a frequent player, but I go in for it sometimes. Sure it would be nice to win, but I'm always scared I'll get hooked on the idea of winning, to the extent that I might begin to lose interest in the life I have.

    It seems to me that the lottery perpetuates the individualist / materialist way of thinking, as opposed to promoting the common good. Of course good causes do benefit, but that's not why people play. Maybe there could be a new lottery where you played on behalf of a charity, and they got the money if the numbers came up. I wonder if it would catch on. Actually I doubt it.

    I worry that people will be more prepared to accept a less than satisfactory life, or a poorer community, or a dirtier world, if they think that maybe next week it won't matter because they'll be rich.
     
  19. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain Well-Known Member

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    It perpetuates selfish dependency upon largesse from external powers instead of promoting self-reliance and personal responsibility. The government-sponsored lottery is one way to help perpetuate the welfare state. The government-sponsored lottery is one way to help perpetuate the plutocratic state.

    If Big Brother keeps the proles at a barely subsistence level, but then permits the proles to play a "lottery" that gives a miniscule chance for an insignificant portion of the proles to cease being proles, then the proles will be more willing to swallow the condition of constant shortage that a welfare state produces.

    If the plutocrats keep the proles at a barely subsistence level, but then permit the proles to play a "lottery" that gives a miniscule chance for an insignificant portion of the proles to cease being proles, then the proles will be more willing to swallow the condition of constant shortage that a plutocratic state produces.

    A government-sponsored lottery works to the benefit and perpetuation of any highly stratified state. It is a way for the elites of a Workers' Paradise, a Social State, an Industrial Superpower, or any other state in which real political and economic power is concentrated in a small number of hands to convince the proles that they have "a chance" to enter the elite without a great deal of effort. In the process, more money is harvested from the proles.

    The solution to this is not to take the totalitarian tack of banning all lotteries. The solution is to permit as many privately owned lotteries to exist as the market will bear, while the government acts to ensure the lotteries are run without fraud or anti-competitive collusion. Let the purchase of lottery numbers be subject to ordinary sales tax.
     

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