Greg brings clarity to the ethical dilemma of deciding whether or not to work in places like casinos or bars.
Here’s an ethical question I’ve never been asked before. Is it ethical to work in a casino? There may be an application for many of you, even though the specific circumstance is not one you’re faced.
It depends on what you’re doing at the casino. If you’re a waiter or a bus boy at the restaurant, I don’t see any problem with that. You might be thinking, aren’t casinos themselves a problem? What about the gambling environment? That presumes that gambling itself is a sin. It may lead to sin; it is not a sin in itself. I have friends who enjoy going to casinos to do the gaming because it’s fun for them. There does not seem to be a moral component to that.
I know this may take some of you back because you were raised in environments that simply prohibited certain behaviors. If that’s your conscience, then live by it. But these kinds of things like going to casinos, often known as “blue laws” are not found in the Bible. The Bible does not teach that it’s wrong to drink alcohol, go to R rated movies, play cards, or dance per se. These are traditions that have been developed over the years. There may be some wisdom in those traditions, depending on the circumstance.
What we have to be careful of is taking man’s tradition and elevating it to the level of God’s law. Jesus spoke directly to that issue. What often happens is that we take man’s tradition, which may have some value with regards to spiritual life and sin issues, and we elevate it to be equal with God’s law. What takes place then, which was Jesus’ concern, is that features of God’s law end up taking a back seat.
For example, there’s a discussion in the New Testament about not eating meat sacrificed to idols because it can cause a brother to stumble. Many Christians have adapted this verse to the issue of drinking. There’s wisdom in that consideration and that application. However, that isn’t all Paul says in those passages. He also says, “Why should I be judged by another man’s conscience?” Who are you to judge another? The weaker brother should not be judging the stronger brothers in appropriate exercise of their Christian freedom.
If we take a biblical principle and establish a tradition that is reflecting something about that principle, that’s fine. However, if we make it into a law, and then use that law to judge people who do not comply with our manmade tradition, then we’ve violated what Jesus has in mind. This happens in a lot of different issues, so I’m warning you to be careful about it because this causes serious problems. The Bible, as far as I know, does not weigh in on the gambling issue. It might be that some gambling circumstances involve other problems. Then, you have to weigh those things and perhaps stay away from a casino if you become a slave to gambling. The same thing goes for alcohol, food, etc. These things may not be sinful in themselves, but can rise to sinful proportions. It is for us, in counsel with others and being wise, to make judgments. It is not for leadership to pass manmade laws to control everybody to live according to their own particular conscience.
Working in a casino is not a moral problem as far as I’m concerned. Someone would have to spell it out biblically for me to see otherwise. Wherever you happen to work, you should be careful about things that may draw you into a sinful circumstance. Some things may not be wise for some people, and you have to consider what those things might be for you. That’s part of what it means to grow in maturity with God making wise distinctions and judgments, not being forced to follow arbitrary rules of human groups which then become a pretext for bringing unbiblical and sinful judgment down on your personal behavior.