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I know a lot of people will find this question strange but I've been wondering .. I know that the Bible says our body is the temple of The Lord, and therefore we should treat it as such. If we ''condemn'' or frown upon acts like smoking (lung cancer) or drinking (liver failure) ..and call it a sin, how about those who have certain eating habits that causes them to grow bigger and bigger. In the long run, that would affect your health, there are numerous negative consequences that can result from that actually .. and people in this condition know this for a fact and some just keep doing what they do...

So back to my question, if smoking, drinking, using drugs is frowned upon, by both man and God, shouldnt overweight, or unhealthy weight gain be as well?

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT do drugs or drink or smoke, and I never will, I have just had this question in mind for a while.

PLEASE NOTE: I think I might have put the question out in a wrong way, I know there are different medical conditions that may results in one getting fat, and many other things..but I'm referring to those who DO NOT have any of those conditions and are fat because of what they INTENTIONALLY eat. (except for children) is that a sin then?

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I'm overweight and consider it to be a sin that I've allowed food to control me rather than the other way around. –  Brian Knoblauch Mar 8 '12 at 15:04
btw - "drinking" may or may not be a sin - the substance itself is amoral –  warren Mar 28 '12 at 13:47
This question appears to be off-topic because it is a truth question ("Is X a sin?") –  Daи Mar 10 at 3:33
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closed as primarily opinion-based by Flimzy, fredsbend, David Stratton, James T, Daи Mar 10 at 3:33

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

9 Answers

Firstly, we recognise that people are fat for different reasons. Some people choose to over-eat, others have little choice over what they eat (children?) while for others the cause may be medical or psychological. Therefore, being fat is not a sin itself, as it is a consequence of one's actions rather than an act in itself.

Second, as Christians we don't "condemn" anyone for their actions, and neither does God. On the contrary, Jesus came to save and not to condemn, and our attitude will be the same as we develop Christ-likeness. Our role is to be gracious towards others and their failings, to encourage and sustain them in their fight against sin. Typically, a fat person doesn't need any more disapproval than that they already level at themselves.

Thirdly, care of our bodies is less important than caring for souls. Jesus demonstrated this by sacrificing his body on a cross so that he could rescue our souls. Over the generations, many Christians have gone without food, shelter etc. for the sake of others. Our bodies are not to become an idol, but are rather a tool for service that we'll one day leave behind.

All this said, I am persuaded that looking after myself is a Biblical mandate. In Genesis, God gave adam stewardship over all creation. Our bodies are a temple. Exercise has some value etc. Therefore, yes, not doing so is a sin.

Thank God for grace, for I, too, am fat.

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+1 just for the last line. Genius. Thank God for Grace. BTW in your second paragraph, the verse is John 3:17. –  Wikis Mar 8 '12 at 8:52
On such a positive post, I really do hate to add a negative comment (no downvote), but your second point is slightly incorrect and kind of muddles two very important points. First, God does indeed condemn us for our sins. This is why many people end up in Hell. Even for those covered by Christ's precious blood, we were still judged vicariously in Christ. When Christ Himself came to Earth, His mission was not in judgement but in salvation. Lose these points, and you lose the Gospel. Otherwise, an uplifting post... apparently this SE is full of fat Christians (like me). –  San Jacinto Nov 24 '12 at 22:00
@SanJacinto: On the contrary, I don't view your comment as negative. Anything that clarifies the gospel (and makes me think) can only be a good thing. Thanks for picking me up on this! –  Kramii Nov 24 '12 at 22:42
Sin has to do with our disobedience to God and His truths revealed to us. Thus, if a person is serving God much and does not give place to exercise, it's hard to see that as sin; he is not putting food above God and his service; he is not being a glutton; he is letting the body take its natural course. Getting fat is not his aim; so it's hard to see fatness as sinful, especially when the local culture's food is high in fats and cholesterol, and he enjoys the food and companionship of others. –  Steve Jun 8 '13 at 15:21
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Kramil has a good answer, but I want to approach the subject from a different angle.

In Isaiah 28:9-10 (NRSV), we read the following:

‘Whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’

In other words, we grow in our Christian faith a little at a time.

The ideal way to study the Bible is to learn one of God's truths, then apply that truth to our lives. In that way, we can get closer to the perfection that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5. Of course, we're not going to get to perfection by ourselves. We require grace.

None of us are that ideal. But, concerning your question, when you realize that something in your life is keeping you from getting closer to God, then it's up to you to do something about your own personal stumbling block, whether it's overeating, lack of exercise, or whatever.

However, it's not up to us to make that judgment about anyone else, and decide they are sinning. I can say that, in my opinion, overeating or gluttony is sinful. I can't say that Brother James is sinning by overeating.

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I've always thought of this scripture:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Where it sounds concerning is when it's extreme as found here:

Philippians 3:18-21 NIV

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

How would I want my temple to look? I wouldn't want it run down. I wouldn't want it not kept. However because of God's will, my temple is larger than some other people's (I'm 6'3" 235#s, athletic but still overweight). Does that mean there's a specific BMI which makes ones temple considered bad? I don't think so.

So, is not keeping the temple close to a platonic ideal a sin? If it is, I'm sure it's not worse than any other sin that we commit daily. That half a second thought that you had when you saw the attractive person on the billboard is considered a sin. However we should attempt to suppress and with practice we'll get better :)

It's most important to reflect on:

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Do what is healthy for you and take pride in yourself. Your attitude will spread the word of God further than your words.

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We don't always (typically?) agree entirely, but this is one time when we do. You put the emphasis in the right places: sinful actions are sinful, yet in God's grace He has paid for them. –  San Jacinto Nov 24 '12 at 21:55
Sometimes I emphasize a viewpoint to get people to think about what they're saying. It doesn't always reflect my personal convictions. However, here I am. –  user1054 Nov 25 '12 at 7:47
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According to the 2nd/3rd Century Christian theologian, Origien, spheres were the perfect shape. As such, as noted in this journal, he concluded that our resurrection bodies would be spherical.

It is said of him, that as he got fatter later in life, he would remark, "I am merely prefiguring my resurrection body. The fatter I get, the more perfect I become."

I take way too much solace in that argument.

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Ha! That's great. –  Matt White Mar 8 '12 at 22:32
Origen got hell for his "spherical" views –  Iulian Nov 26 '12 at 2:46
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Catholics have fat saints. So it might be a venial sin to eat oneself fat, but I don't think a Catholic would make the argument that its a mortal sin to do so.

St. Thomas Aquinas was supposedly so fat that they had to cut a semi-circle in the community dining table to accommodate his girth.

No one claimed Thomas Aquinas got famous on his looks. He was colossally fat, suffered from edema (dropsy), and one huge eye dwarfed his other. Nor was he a particularly dynamic, charismatic figure. Introspective and silent most of the time, when he did speak, it was often completely unrelated to the conversation. His classmates in college called him "the dumb ox." Today, recognized as the greatest theologian of the Middle Ages, he is called "the doctor of angels."

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Seven deadly sins:

Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. In the Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food for its withholding from the needy.[13]

Based on your statement:

DO NOT have any of those conditions and are fat because of what they INTENTIONALLY eat. (except for children) is that a sin then?

I think you have to be somewhat of a glutton if there were no other medical conditions, genetics or body type given....

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Even if you choose to overeat then it may still be a psychological compulsion. In the same way anorexia is. Food is an addiction for many people. Yet we don't say anorexia or is sin. And what about those people who self-harm by taking overdoses and cutting themselves again and again? Even if they don't suceed at killing themselves surely any form of attempted suicide is a sin. I can't see that those people are any less sinful. Overeating is as much a mental disease as bipolar, BPD, depression etc

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Welcome to Christianity.SE! This is an interesting new angle to the question - Can the results of a disease be sinful? You may want to separate that question out, however - as there is more diversity of thought on that than you might imagine –  Affable Geek Nov 25 '12 at 13:52
Is a psychological compulsion qualitatively different from other distortions of nature (e.g., bad temper)? I would be very hesitant to remove the possibility of choice--especially for a Christian who is not limited to "the flesh". For an anorexic to eat well even once may well be a heroic triumph where failing might be comparable to not fully and truly loving one's torturer as one is being tortured (a falling short of God-like moral perfection, i.e., sin). –  Paul A. Clayton Nov 25 '12 at 21:26
@PaulA.Clayton yes a compulsion is quite different than than something as simple as a normal bad temper. –  caseyr547 Jun 9 '13 at 1:18
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Being overweight is not a sin, even though it is primarily caused by gluttony, which is a sin.

But we cannot judge a person's piety (or medical state) based on their weight.

As the OP rightly pointed out, medical conditions can result in obesity.

And on the other hand, there are many, many skinny gluttons with high metabolisms.

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Gluttony also includes the mind/heart, just as the Sermon on the Mount talks about lust and adultery. A glutton may not actually eat excessively. Purging could also avoid the need for a high metabolism. –  Paul A. Clayton Jun 10 '13 at 15:17
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Yes. In most cases being fat points to sin. Most of the major sins of the old testament had an idol associated with the sin. Dagon was the fishgod and he was supposed to supply food abundantly. Some people eat when they are upset, instead of asking God for help. Others overeat when they are sad, instead of seeking comfort from God. Others who are bored eat to keep them busy, instead of finding something to do to glorify God. Jesus said we must ask for our daily bread, not for a week's bread, and we are not supposed to eat a week's bread in a day. Glutton is called a sin. Pro23:20, Pro23:21, Pro28:7. When the Pharisees were upset with Jesus they called Him a glutton and a drunk. Mat11:19, Luk7:34

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Welcome to the site! I'd invite you to read the help page, as well as these posts: What makes a good, supported answer? and What Christianity.StackExchange is (and more importantly, what it isn't) –  David Stratton Jun 16 '13 at 0:21
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