Thursday, 18 August 2011

Christian Reflection on the Gambling Culture

The latest issue of Christian Reflection, published by the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, is now available, this one devoted to the topic of the gambling culture. The whole issue is available as a pdf here, and an accompanying Study Guide is available here. The main articles, with their abstracts, are as follows:

Robert B. Kruschwitz


We live in a gambling culture in which the dramatic expansion and new forms of organized gambling – from private casinos to state lotteries, from sophisticated slot machines to Internet games – raise challenging moral issues.

Kevin Moore

Would a Good and Faithful Disciple Gamble?

The Christian tradition has long been wary of gambling, but we live in a society largely desensitized to its dangers. No wonder we are puzzled about what to do. How can scriptural teachings about common motivations for gambling guide us to a more clear and consistent witness?

Earl L. Grinols

The Hidden Social Costs of Gambling

The social costs of gambling are “hidden” only to the extent that they are often misunderstood or overlooked. Empirical studies (which estimate some, but not all, of the implied social costs of gambling) report that the impact on society of one additional pathological gambler is about $9,393 per year.

Julia Fleming

State Lotteries: Gambling with the Common Good

While their regressive burden upon the disadvantaged is a strong ethical reason for rejecting state lotteries, we should also consider the messages that their promotion conveys to the community as a whole. Lotteries, as alternatives to taxation, undercut the development of civic virtues and social responsibility.

Mike A. Stegemoller

Investment vs. Gambling

Investing in financial markets is very different from gambling in important ways. Yet these activities share a common thread of risk. How can investors avoid the imprudence associated with inordinate risk-bearing that can make capital markets seem more like casinos?

Deborah G. Haskins

Congregational Ministry to Problem Gamblers

When Christians experience the effects of problem and pathological gambling, to whom do they turn for help? As congregations become more aware of the spiritual and emotional struggles that gamblers face, they can provide holistic supportive ministries to their members and to the wider community.

Suzii Paynter

The Harm of Predatory Gambling

It is not the simple personal impulse to wager that is so destructive; it is the multi-billion dollar business model and its complicit partner, the state, that have elegantly designed machines and marketing that will without conscience “play you to extinction.”

Bob Terry

If Only the Bible Said…

Gambling violates the heart of the biblical message because it is the opposite of loving God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and loving “your neighbor as yourself.” No “thou shalt not” prohibition is necessary to understand that truth.

Janet E. Jacobs

Problem Gambling

With the growing plethora of gambling venues in the United States, there is more awareness of pathological and compulsive gambling. All three books reviewed here summarize substantial research on this problem and its treatment; one offers very practical examples of counseling exercises.

Heather Vacek

The History of Gambling

Why have humans throughout history gambled? What explains the recent explosion of gambling in American culture? Approaching these questions from legal, economic, political, psychological, social, and ethical perspectives, the four books reviewed here provide insight about the complex history of gambling.

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