Gluttony: The Socially Acceptable Sin

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wkessel1's picture

Curious what the Biblical support for his article is?  Not alot of verses referenced.  Probabaly because there aren't very many.  I always wonder why the Apostle Paul never metioned gluttony in any of his lists?  Even disobedient to parents makes those lists.

christian cerna's picture

The Apostle Paul does describe the Cretans as lazy gluttons.

christian cerna's picture

The article would have been more intersting and useful if the author would have addressed the sin of gluttony. But instead, he uses the term gluttony to describe greed, lust, and vanity. He doesn't actually address gluttony, which is the sin of eating when the body is not hungry or doesn't need food- or even a lack of self-control. Gluttony is a serious issue in this country, with such a large percentage of the population being fat.

Donn R Arms's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Gluttony is a serious issue in this country, with such a large percentage of the population being fat.

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

Donn R Arms

dgszweda's picture

Donn R Arms wrote:

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

It is a pretty good indication, depending on how you define gluttony.  Being overweight is a result of intaking more calories than you body needs, regardless of health conditions.  I do agree that there are gluttonous individuals who are not fat, so I agree it is not a 1 to 1 correlation.

Andrew K.'s picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Donn R Arms wrote:

 

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

 

 

It is a pretty good indication, depending on how you define gluttony.  Being overweight is a result of intaking more calories than you body needs, regardless of health conditions.  I do agree that there are gluttonous individuals who are not fat, so I agree it is not a 1 to 1 correlation.

True, but I do feel that is oversimplifying things a bit. The fact is, many people who are overweight simply eat to the point that they are full. They are not consuming beyond their actual appetite in a manner that I would call "gluttonous." As an expat and observer of diverse cultures, I would say a great many overweight individuals in the US are so more because they are victims of the American lifestyle than a sinful self-indulgence on their part.

Just look at how Americans live compared to other places: We get up, drive to work where we sit in an office, perhaps, then drive home. We sit, sit, sit, all day long, and think that perhaps 30 minutes to an hour of exercise can compensate for all that.

When I walked all around my neighborhood in China (no car), the weight melted off, even though my appetite and calorie consumption remained unchanged. Now that I have of necessity somewhat more sedentary habits, I'm putting on weight again. Sad

神是爱

christian cerna's picture

Most fat people are fat, because at some point in their lives they were gluttinous. Most likely, while they were growing up, they had poor eating habits and their parents didn't correct them. They were chubby kids. Now that they are adults, they still have that fat on their bodies. The only way to lose the weight, is to practice intermittent fasting and exercising more. So that they body can get rid of that fat that has been their for years.

pvawter's picture

Christian,

You say, "Most fat people are fat, because at some point in their lives they were gluttinous [sic]." As a fat man, I am curious to know how you come to your extensive knowledge of the way that most fat people have become fat.

Of course, the principle of weight gain is quite simple. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, and if you burn more than you take in, you will lose weight. But I don't recall seeing any indication in Scripture of an ideal body weight/bmi, so I wonder how one would use a person's weight or body fat content to determined whether he/she is a glutton.

christian cerna's picture

If a Christian man is a cigarette smoker, you will have the whole congregation criticizing him, telling him how bad smoking is for the body, and how he should quit smoking because his body is the temple of God and he needs to take care of it(Even though there is nothing in scripture that prohibits smoking). Yet if a person is obese, no one would dare criticize the person openly about their weight. Yet that fat person is also damaging their body by their eating habits and lack of exercise. That is a double standard we have in this country. We were programmed to think this way by all of the anti-smoking propaganda in this country. If there was more anti-fat propaganda and laws, you would see a lot less people eating the way they do.

Lee's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Donn R Arms wrote:

 

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

 

 

It is a pretty good indication, depending on how you define gluttony.  Being overweight is a result of intaking more calories than you body needs, regardless of health conditions.  I do agree that there are gluttonous individuals who are not fat, so I agree it is not a 1 to 1 correlation.

Please show me anywhere in scripture where weight is a discerning characteristic of spiritual standing or defines gluttony.

Lee

christian cerna's picture

Gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore. We are often quick to label smoking and drinking as sins, but for some reason gluttony is accepted or at least tolerated. Many of the arguments used against smoking and drinking, such as health and addiction, apply equally to overeating. Many believers would not even consider having a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette but have no qualms about gorging themselves at the dinner table. This should not be!

Proverbs 23:20-21warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”Proverbs 28:7declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.”Proverbs 23:2proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/gluttony-sin.html#ixzz2palNrWjD

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Christian,

While I agree with part of your assertion here, you have bypassed the question several have asked. How do you know what is gluttony, and what is not? Since gluttony does not the same as overweight, how do you know when to tell someone they are in sin?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

dgszweda's picture

Lee wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

 

Donn R Arms wrote:

 

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

 

 

It is a pretty good indication, depending on how you define gluttony.  Being overweight is a result of intaking more calories than you body needs, regardless of health conditions.  I do agree that there are gluttonous individuals who are not fat, so I agree it is not a 1 to 1 correlation.

 

 

Please show me anywhere in scripture where weight is a discerning characteristic of spiritual standing or defines gluttony.

 

I never made the claim that it was a discerning characteristic of spiritual standing.  Gluttony is an english term that means overconsumption of food.  Being overweight means that you are consuming (or overconsuming) more calories than you body needs to operate.  Continuous overconsumption leads to being overweight, regardless of pre existing conditions.

dgszweda's picture

dgszweda wrote:

 

Lee wrote:

 

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

 

Donn R Arms wrote:

 

Speaking on behalf of fat people everywhere:  gluttony does not necessarily result in making one "fat" and being "fat" does not necessarily mean one is gluttonous.

 

 

It is a pretty good indication, depending on how you define gluttony.  Being overweight is a result of intaking more calories than you body needs, regardless of health conditions.  I do agree that there are gluttonous individuals who are not fat, so I agree it is not a 1 to 1 correlation.

 

 

Please show me anywhere in scripture where weight is a discerning characteristic of spiritual standing or defines gluttony.

 

 

 

I never made the claim that it was a discerning characteristic of spiritual standing.  Gluttony is an english term that means overconsumption of food.  Being overweight means that you are consuming (or overconsuming) more calories than you body needs to operate.  Continuous overconsumption leads to being overweight, regardless of pre existing conditions.  The scientific consensus is to keep your BMI under 25.  Of course there are determining factors such as excessive muscle content, frame size....  But weight is one of the key determining factors of health, and has one of the largest impacts on improving overall health.

pvawter's picture

Would anyone like to suggest a place in Scripture where some sort of ideal weight/bmi could be determined? How do we define what is overweight, apart from government defined standards?

dgszweda's picture

pvawter wrote:

Would anyone like to suggest a place in Scripture where some sort of ideal weight/bmi could be determined? How do we define what is overweight, apart from government defined standards?

 

Not everything is in Scripture.  What is the ideal speed limit?  Is this found in Scripture?  Overweight is always going to be subjective, but we also all know what it looks like when we see it.  Again, it is not about being on the borderline, it is about being excessive, and having sloppy discipline in one's life.

christian cerna's picture

The scriptures teach us that a spiritual person is disciplined, has self control, and seeks to grow in knowledge and improve himself. While unbelievers are described as having no self control, reckless, sensual, lovers of pleasure, lazy, etc. If a person looks at himself in the mirror, is excessively overweight, does not exercise, and is told by a doctor that his weight will cause him serious health issues, yet does nothing about it- which is he more like?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

christian cerna wrote:

The scriptures teach us that a spiritual person is disciplined, has self control, and seeks to grow in knowledge and improve himself. While unbelievers are described as having no self control, reckless, sensual, lovers of pleasure, lazy, etc. If a person looks at himself in the mirror, is excessively overweight, does not exercise, and is told by a doctor that his weight will cause him serious health issues, yet does nothing about it- which is he more like?

emphasis added

There's part of the rub. There are many people out there who would be considered overweight, but have a clean bill of health otherwise. Are the gluttons because they are genetically predisposed to carry more weight than others? 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

christian cerna's picture

You are genetically predisposed to carry more weight? And how do you know this? Is it because you are on a strict diet and workout regularly, and still cannot lose weight? 

dgszweda's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

christian cerna wrote:

 

The scriptures teach us that a spiritual person is disciplined, has self control, and seeks to grow in knowledge and improve himself. While unbelievers are described as having no self control, reckless, sensual, lovers of pleasure, lazy, etc. If a person looks at himself in the mirror, is excessively overweight, does not exercise, and is told by a doctor that his weight will cause him serious health issues, yet does nothing about it- which is he more like?

 

emphasis added

 

There's part of the rub. There are many people out there who would be considered overweight, but have a clean bill of health otherwise. Are the gluttons because they are genetically predisposed to carry more weight than others? 

 

My brother is a body builder, exercises extensively and has very little fat, but his BMI is off the charts.  At 240lbs and 5' 10" his excessive muscle carries him way over.  In addition, there are very skinny people (my 15 year old son) who can eat like crazy and never gain a single pound.  There are people like me who struggle to keep weight off and have to work at it.  The clean bill of health is irrelevant to gluttony and so is weight.  But it holds more true that if someone is overweight, regardless of clean bill of health, he is consuming more calories at an excessive rate than his body needs.  Overweight people who maintain their weight are essentially consuming calories to maintain their excessive weight.

My body, based on my metabolism and lifestyle, by itself struggles with weight.  I went from 260lbs to 145lbs (in my 5' 10" frame) by just reducing my caloric intake and moderate exercise (no fancy diet), but it took a lot of discipline (did it in about 5 months).  Taking the weight off was easy, keeping it off is a struggle.  I kept it off for about 5 years, but recently went up some and am working at bringing it back to about 150-160 lbs.  Not only did I have more energy, but I felt considerably better.  I finally came to the realization that blaming my weight on lifestyle, genetics, metabolism..... was just an excuse.  I was at the end of the day fulfilling a weight because it 1) made me happy and 2) I was too lazy to do anything about it and 3) food made me feel good.  Once it was off, I realized how much I was missing and how much I held my body back because of a sloppy lifestyle.

I would never say what weight is gluttonous or what impact it is on your spiritual life.  We need to examine ourselves and hold ourselves accountable before God.  I think truth be told, we know what overweight is and what gluttony is, and all too often we are great about making excuses.  It saddens me when a 350lb pastor stands at the pulpit and laughs about how there is much more of him for God to love, or how being overweight is a Baptist tradition because we like to eat, while at the same time the pastor is in and out of hospitals and struggles to go up a pair of stairs.  I can say this stuff because I struggle with this, have been there and done it, and have overcome it.

pvawter's picture

dgszweda wrote:

Not everything is in Scripture.  What is the ideal speed limit?  Is this found in Scripture?  Overweight is always going to be subjective, but we also all know what it looks like when we see it.  Again, it is not about being on the borderline, it is about being excessive, and having sloppy discipline in one's life.

What does speed limit have to do with anything? Last time I checked, being overweight is not against the law (although with Obamacare, that may be coming). By all means, let's encourage people to exercise self-control as a spiritual discipline, but let's not pretend that some arbitrary, 21st century standard of ideal weight/bmi has any direct relation to the issue of gluttony.

dgszweda's picture

pvawter wrote:

 

dgszweda wrote:

 

Not everything is in Scripture.  What is the ideal speed limit?  Is this found in Scripture?  Overweight is always going to be subjective, but we also all know what it looks like when we see it.  Again, it is not about being on the borderline, it is about being excessive, and having sloppy discipline in one's life.

 

 

What does speed limit have to do with anything? Last time I checked, being overweight is not against the law (although with Obamacare, that may be coming). By all means, let's encourage people to exercise self-control as a spiritual discipline, but let's not pretend that some arbitrary, 21st century standard of ideal weight/bmi has any direct relation to the issue of gluttony.

 

This is why I specifically said that overweight is subjective.  In addition, while you may not agree with something like the BMI standard, it is far from arbitrary.  No matter where you draw the line, weight does have a direct relation to the issue of gluttony.  If you are overweight, you are practicing some form of gluttony.  But that doesn't mean that only those overweight are gluttonous either.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

christian cerna wrote:

Gluttony seems to be a sin that Christians like to ignore. We are often quick to label smoking and drinking as sins, but for some reason gluttony is accepted or at least tolerated...

Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

The verses quoted here start to move us toward the crux of the debate: how does Scripture define gluttony? Interesting to note in these passages: where it is defined at all, it's defined in terms of consumption, not in terms of result. "Gorge themselves" certainly doesn't sound like your typical "a few too many calories+too little exercise+lots of time" scenario. Most people get overweight slowly because there is a relatively small calorie-intake vs. calorie-consumption ratio problem. Is this "gluttony" an any biblical sense?

Another scenario has to do with how much water a person retains. The stuff is heavy, and that part of the equation has nothing to do with calories at all.

Then you have bone density and muscle density. There's a whole lot of really stupid discussion out there if you google "does muscle weigh more than fat?" (of course a pound is a pound, regardless; that's not the question. Does x cubic centimeters of muscle way more than x cubic centimeters of fat? I think it probably does.)

In Scripture, "fatness" is usually associated with blessing. Not sure what that implies, but it's a fact.

(If it matters from an ethos standpoint, I'm not quite "skinny" again yet, but my BMI is below 24.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

pvawter's picture

dgszweda wrote:

This is why I specifically said that overweight is subjective.  In addition, while you may not agree with something like the BMI standard, it is far from arbitrary.  No matter where you draw the line, weight does have a direct relation to the issue of gluttony.  If you are overweight, you are practicing some form of gluttony.  But that doesn't mean that only those overweight are gluttonous either.

So, are you saying that gluttony is entirely subjective?
My point in even entering this discussion is that the conclusion that overweight people must be gluttons and are therefore sinful is overly simplistic and not Biblical. If we are going to discuss sin, then by all means, let's discuss sin, but bodyweight and BMI do not factor in to whether or not a person's behavior is sinful. Weight as a means of defining gluttony (and presumably therefore, sin) is not a Biblically defensible category, so suggesting that a person who carries around extra pounds (whatever that means, since the concepts of ideal weight and overweight are subjective) is ipso facto sinning is a faulty conclusion. 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

This problem with definition is exactly why gluttony is not a subject of more preaching. If lying is the topic, a lie is always a lie is always a lie. If adultery, the same - or stealing or any number of black and white issues. However, one thing this thread is proving is that you really can't lay down a black and white line for gluttony.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

christian cerna's picture

Fat/obesity is not subjective. We all know a fat person when we see it; in the same way we know a fit person when we see it. Obesity is a very recent trend. Pretty much a health condition mostly seen beginning in the 20th century, due to junk food and lack of exercise. 

I think gluttony is not mentioned more in preaching, because a greater number of people are obese(most likely including the preacher), therefore we do not wish to offend someone. Also, it is harder to become un-fat than it is to stop lying or stealing.

wkessel1's picture

 

I think it is not mentioned more in good preaching because the pastor are preaching what is in the text (ie expository) and not some pet subject.  The Biblical fact is outside of Proverbs gluttony is mentioned very little.  Other than a few descriptive uses, it is not mentioned in almost all of the NT.

Lee's picture

I think more than anything this discussion illustrates the level that cultural/societal influence, and in our culture primarily various media, has affected the thinking of the church and those that make up the church.  Here we are discussing a matter that Scripture is absolutely silent about--not even a hint as to being right or wrong in any context, and barely mentioned at all (Eglon of Judges 3 fame and Eli in I Sam. 4:18 are the only mentionings to my knowledge)--in terms of judging sin in the life of an individual and whether or not a certain individual with a certain body type is qualified for ministry. 

It is indisputable that our culture has raised attaining a certain body image to a borderline religious endeavor.  The examples are too myriad to begin with, but the fact we are having this discussion at all should rest the case.  If public nakedness is, indeed, a sure sign of societal idolatry (which I have mentioned in other threads as is likely indicated in Scripture) then this body image phenom is a primary idolatry of our culture, seeing as all the advertisements for achieving this image have as their goal that you can feel good about walking around practically naked (the proverbial bikini-body; 6-pack abs thing) without shame.  Open the front page of any of the main online news-feeds (Fox; Yahoo; AOL; etc) if you doubt the veracity of my observation.

All that to say this--as believers and leaders in church, family, and community we more than ever need to guard ourselves and that which we have care over from the anti-scriptural influence of society that would deter us from the cause of Christ and being conformed to His image alone.

Lee

TylerR's picture

Editor

Gluttony and healthy living is emphasized in the pulpit by some preachers!!!!. I give you . . . The Daniel Plan

I don't know why, but every time I hear of a diet plan based on the Scriptures, I want to cringe. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

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