Gambling is not a sin

The only reason that some religions forbid gambling is because it’s very easy for some people to get addicted and to lose everything and destroy their lives or worse, their families. Not everybody has an addictive personality and plenty of people are capable of controlling their gambling and restricting it to only what they can afford to lose.

Moreover, when playing “gambling” games like poker, or really anything, if there isn’t any actual money or stakes involved (e.g., playing with chips for fun), then there is no harm in it and it’s perfectly fine for everyone to play, young or old, without fear of going to Hell (the only problem then might be sore losers who get angry and rage, but they’d probably do that over anything that sets them off).

The reason that religions forbid gambling is because it’s easier to make blanket laws that apply to everyone, including those that it doesn’t even apply to. This is particularly true of religious laws from a long time ago when people were a lot more simple and education was limited to just the elite, so most people couldn’t understand more advanced reasoning like psychology and germ-theory. I’d like to think that we’re past the point of hand-holding and can be trusted to understand the reasons for rules and commandments and laws can be more specific to the individual person and circumstance. Unfortunately, there are still far too many stupid people, and worse, the human population just keeps going up at an accelerating rate, which makes it impossible to deal with things individually, so we still need blanket laws. 🤦

Bad luck is good

It is a pretty widespread tradition to spin things that seem like bad luck as actually being good luck. For example, it is common for people to consider getting pooped on by a passing bird or rain on a wedding day as good luck. But are they really?

No. No, they are not.

There is no supernatural force that provides good fortune based on bad things happening. That’s just silly. Even if there are supernatural forces, it’s silly to think that they would bestow us with good luck because of some sort of bad incident. So then why do we attribute good luck with bad luck?

There are two main reasons. First of all, it is a way to neutralize any bad feelings or anger or panic about the event. This helps to avoid the victim of the bad luck from stressing out and/or retaliating in anger, as in the case of a bird pooping or a baby vomitting. It also helps to avoid letting the occasion be ruined and salvaging it, as in the case of a rainy wedding or tripping in public.

Spinning bad luck as good luck is just another way to calm people down and keep humans from blowing up.

Wash Before and Bow During Prayer

Some religions (notably Islam) mandate that people perform ablutions before praying. During the prayer, it is also required to stand, kneel, bow, and prostrate several times.

Washing makes sense because back in those days, bacteria and viruses were neither known, nor could be understood by the average person. They had no microscopes, so convincing people of invisible creatures that surround us that can harm us was a difficult task at best. It was much easier to just require people to wash as part of the prayer to keep people sanitary. And since most of the people where these religions began lived in desert areas, washing not only was a way of ridding people of germs, but also cleaning off the sand that invariably gets into their nooks and crannies. Moreover, requiring them to pray several times a day, keeps them clean all day long.

The physical movements involved with the prayers also make sense. While some members of society would get plenty of exercise from hunting or farming, there were still plenty of people who remained behind and could get out of shape. Requiring people to repeat some simple but muscle-using movements several times a day was an effective way of keeping the populace physically fit.

Granted it would be ideal if one could just explain things to do to keep a person healthy instead of having to trick them, but back then it was pretty difficult (just look at how well it worked out for so many prophets and scientists). Besides, today we do teach people things to keep them healthy and nobody listens. Maybe parents should take a cue from the past and find a way to trick their kids into eating healthy, exercising, and washing.

Breaking a Mirror

It is a well-known superstition that breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Of course there is a much more reasonable explanation for warning people to avoid breaking mirrors.

One reason is that mirrors are (especially in the past) made of glass. Broken mirrors and glass are really dangerous. Not only can they cause nasty cuts, but the little shards can go unnoticed for some time, even after cleaning up, and can get stepped on and enter the blood stream and kill (or at least cause other health problems).

Another reason that people were warned to avoid breaking mirrors is because mirrors used to be made of silver spread thinly on the back of the glass (silver is rarely used these days). As such, they were expensive and so breaking them was undesirable.