Ohio to Citizens: Your Gambling Vices are Chemistry, not Character


The Ohio Lottery has a new website, and fresh comfort to its statewide gambling addicts: “It’s not your character, it’s your chemistry.

Albert Mohler aptly stated in today’s The Briefing:

”It seems that the forces behind the lottery in Ohio have come to the place where they are now arguing that if a citizen of Ohio or where else that’s involved in the lottery has a problem with gambling in terms of what might be described as an addiction or a dangerous pattern of gambling, the problem is not an issue of character, it’s of chemistry. One of the things we have to not in terms of the moral landscape around us, is the increasing tendency to blame everything on chemistry, particularly on brain chemistry or on some kind of medical reason or rational for bad behavior.”

“What we have here is another attempt to evade the issue of character. One of the issues behind this is the worldview of biological reductionism. A worldview that’s gaining in terms of the academic elites in the United States. A world view that argues that we are basically just a mass of atoms and chemicals, and the chemicals are responsible for our behavior. It’s not reducible to a moral issue, it is—to use the statement on this website—a matter of chemistry, not of character. Notice the precise claim that’s being made in the motto. I quote it again,

It’s not your character it’s your chemistry.

“In other words they are saying very straight forwardly it’s not character at all, it’s all chemistry. This is one of the rarest most pristine forms of this kind of biological reductionism that I’ve ever seen. . . .”

The Columbus Dispatch explains,

The focus of the campaign is on the estimated 5% of Ohioans for whom gambling is a compulsive addictive problem which can result in financial, family and health issues. They may skip a car payment to gamble, lie to their spouse about missing money and even consider suicide. . . .

“Let’s go back to that website, It’s not your character it’s your chemistry. Just as an experiment, let’s assume that we share the worldview that is behind this. That worldview would say, it’s chemistry, it’s not character, but then how in the world does a state put citizens at risk if in deed the problem is even their chemistry if not their character? After all of this is their chemistry, they can’t change their chemistry, so the state of Ohio is seemingly ready to write off about 5% of its citizens because it wants the income coming from legalized gambling. . . .”

“But returning back to thinking from the Christian worldview, there is no reason why Christians will deny that chemistry might be an issue. In a fallen world, as Genesis 3 tells us, we should expect that even our body chemistry, the chemicals in our brain will reflect the damage of the fall, but that doesn’t relieve us of personal responsibility, it doesn’t remove the issue of character.”

“The biblical worldview always has character right at the front and it never leaves the scene. Just imagine how this kind of logic will be transferred to other areas of moral importance. Just imagine a parent correcting a 5 year old from misbehavior for dishonesty or disobedience, and the 5 year old says, hey mom, hey dad, it’s not my character it’s my chemistry. Just imagine someone standing before a judge charged with a very serious crime who says, it’s not my character it’s my chemistry, but wait just a minute, those kind of arguments are already being used, and that shows the moral meltdown of a society.

Once we buy into this kind of biological reductionism, eventually character does disappear, and there is no personal responsibility. That however is a society that gives itself over to moral irresponsibility and moral anarchy, but that’s the kind of society that also allows itself to become increasingly dependent upon the kind of tax income that comes from gambling. That issue of character goes all the way to those most responsible for government, elected officials, and they have no right to say, it’s not character, it’s chemistry. We know the reality. It’s character, it’s character in the capital, it’s character in the court house, and it’s character in the casino.”

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

You can find Albert Mohler’s entire treatment on The Briefing here:


About savedbygrace1976

Mark Chanski (author of Manly Dominion; Womanly Dominion; and Encouragement: Adrenaline for the Soul) has labored as a full-time Pastor since 1986 in churches in Ohio and Michigan. He has been Pastor of Harbor Church in Holland, Michigan, since 1994. He has also been elected as Coordinator of the Reformed Baptist Network. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He teaches Hermeneutics for the Reformed Baptist Seminary in Sacramento, CA. Mark is married to his wife Dianne, and has fathered their four sons and one daughter, whose ages stretch from 36 to 26 (born 1983 to 1994).
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