Dan Popp
Is voting gambling?
By Dan Popp
September 10, 2016

Trump supporters say that, even though we don't know what he would do as President, he's a better gamble than Hillary. This is expressed in phrases like "playing the odds." Some have admitted that Trump's potential performance in office is unknown, "but," they add, "we know he'd be better than Hillary." We don't know, but somehow, magically, we know.

Allllrighty, then.

Take for example the essay that Rush Limbaugh called "powerful," devoting a good chunk of airtime to it recently: the Flight 93 Election piece by "Publius Decius Mus." Much of the article is straight-up Bulverism: "You only say that because you're part of the Establishment." When you resort to Bulverism, you're out of arguments. The straw men and fantasy facts in this article are difficult to wade through. No Republican contender except Trump would challenge the status quo, Mus says. Right. That's why Cruz and Fiorina are such darlings of the left.

In his article, Mus uses the metaphor of a hijacker in the cockpit. We have to get the terrorist out of the cockpit, at all costs. But the metaphor is as inapt as it is emotionally charged. The question is not whether there's a hijacker in the cockpit, it's what are we replacing the hijacker with? So, to fix this broken metaphor, we storm the cockpit and replace the hijacker with a deaf and blind pilot. Or a crazy person. Or a monkey. My purpose isn't to insult, it's to introduce the missing element of chance – which Trump supporters acknowledge is there. Let's put the plane on Autopilot and feed the computer random numbers.

No matter how bad we, or Mus, may think the situation is, if the solution is "Unknown" it's very difficult to support.

But, Trump supporters say, there's a chance that Trump will be better. (Forget there's a chance he'll be worse.) Pretend that we can know what we don't know.

OK, let's take this argument at face value. Voting Trump is like playing Russian roulette, Mus says. It's all a gamble with our lives, and our children's lives.

If voting is gambling, I want to know: Are Christians allowed to gamble?

In the Old Testament the Jews used the mysterious "Lights and Perfections" (Urim and Thummim) to ascertain the divine will. Sometimes lots were cast to divide property or to choose leaders. And then there's Proverbs 16:33: "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." (NAS95) But those ideas are peculiar to the OT. We never see Jesus throwing dice.

I recall only one instance in the New Testament where believers cast lots: Acts 1:16-26. The Disciples were in crisis, so they thought. They were lacking a leader, so they thought. Sound familiar? They prayed and cast lots. If they had waited and trusted, they would have had direct guidance from the Holy Spirit; Pentecost was only a week-and-a-half away (Acts 2:1 ff.). But regardless of whether their action was right or wrong, as one Bible commentator put it, "...lots were never cast after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost."

Someone said to me that "life is a gamble." But that's not true for a Christian. Our life is instead a walk of faith. That faith isn't based on a coin toss; it's based on the utter faithfulness of God. There's no such thing as "blind faith." The Christian looks at the many promises God has fulfilled in the past, and sees that He is trustworthy.

That is faith. It doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to gambling.

So if you're a Christian and you're wondering why you just can't get on board the Trump Train, perhaps it's because gambling is a foreign feeling to you. The Spirit inside you is the Spirit of Jesus. And Jesus doesn't gamble.

The proper question to ask about Trump or any other potential leader is: What is his track record? What can I trust him to do in the future, based on the foundation he has laid in the past? And if he hasn't laid a solid foundation that instills trust in his future decisions, that's on him – not me. In the political life of Donald Trump there is, as far as I can tell, nothing solid to have faith in. If Trump gets into the cockpit, he's as likely to play kamikaze on Rosie O'Donnell's house as to land safely.

Please, please, someone prove me wrong on this. I would love to be able to vote for Donald Trump. But "ya pays yer money, ya takes yer chances" isn't an argument that's going to sway me.

Christians don't play Russian roulette.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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