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Is it a sin to be fat?


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#1 Christina M.

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 09:55 PM

I am looking for opinions on this. I would've never thought that someone would think such a thing, but there is at least one person on this forum who thinks so, so I'm wondering if maybe others are in the same boat, and what reasons they have to justify their thoughts.

#2 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:11 PM

I think not that it is a sin to be overweight but it is a sin to eat too much. A lot of people are overweight beacuse they overeat but it is not beacuse they are overweight that it is a sin, it is only a visible sign of something they do. However, not all people are overweight beacuse they overeat and indeed those who do, are not overweight just beacuse they overeat. People with a faster metabolic rate do not put on weight as easily as those with a slower one. The thyroid also affects this as also do other thinks such as the menopause in middle aged ladies.

Personally I would say one should not worry about being overweight, worry about what sins are being committed if overeating be one of them one ought to try tackle it along with all the other sins if not do not worry about being overweight.

#3 Andra K.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:27 AM

Could you elaborate Christina M. about that person's viewpoint about this issue? I would be interested in hearing more about that person's point of view. Thanks.

Christina, what is your understanding of this issue? It is something that I have not thought about, personally. I am not overweight at all, btw.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:52 AM

The posts are there in the threads for anyone who wants to become more familiar with the search function, we do not need to repeat less than edifying things again.

St. Olaf of Norway as also known as Olaf the fat. G. K Chesterton wrote that we need more fat saints.

Gluttony is a sin. If one is gluttonous, one side effect is often being overweight. But it is possible to be gluttonous and not be fat. It is not one's physical condition that is a sin, but how one got to where they are.

At one point the actor/comedian Jerry Lewis was looking very obese. It was from the steroids he was prescribed for his medical condition at the time, not from over indulging. I know of some very big people who have very big hearts and are better Christians than I am. If they eat a bit too much, who am I to judge for the many sins I have?

We all have our weaknesses. We are not to glory in them other than to know that God's strength is made perfect in weakness, when we allow our weakness to make us look to God for His strength. We all have crosses to bear. Better to help each other and bear each other up than to beat each other with them and drag each other down.

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:56 AM

Could you elaborate Christina M. about that person's viewpoint about this issue?


If "that person" wishes to express his/her feelings, they will do so. It would be bad form for anyone to speak for him/her. If you have comments or questions on the question of whether or not and if so how or how not being overweight is a sin, then by all means share your ideas, however, let us allow those who wish to remain out of the discussion to do so.

Fr David Moser

#6 Andra K.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:06 AM

Well, I was asking for clarification and/or more information on the issue in general and since Christina made the original inquiry, she is probably more knowlegeable about it than me, who know nothing about the issue whatsoever. However, as I work in health care, I know the whole issue of 'overweight' is very complex and not simply an equation of "food in equals body weight/size". Just like a previous poster mentioned about steroid use...well, that is just one of many factors.

As far as past discussions, well, I am brand new here with only a few posts so how I am to know that there are/were past threads about this topic except that somebody may or may not have made an off handed comment about the issue? That leaves very little information about what happened in the past, if anything.

Yowza. The tone of the responses makes me scratch my head.

#7 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:12 AM

There are sins by "omission" ... whilest being fat may not be as a consequence of a "legalistic" sin it can certainly contribute towards our overall well-being so we are indirectly harming our overall health by being over-weight even if it is not our direct fault for being so. Sin is not always because of legalistic reasons and can also merely be a cause for our physical or spiritual health to not be able to meet the mark.

If I am overweight then perhaps I am unable to do as many prostrations (example) as I could if I was leaner ... by omission to this fact I am not able to participate as actively for example and not "meet the mark" that ordinarily we are invited to be part of.

I am not saying this is the case for all over weight people I am merely trying to demonstrate a point that being overweight can be "sinful" in a non-legalistic sense but not something that is without compassion by God.

... I wanted to add. I think that sins by omission are not necessarily things that we should stress out over or have anxiety attacks either they are merely opportunities to confess the reality of the situation and leave the rest in Gods hands; observations we can make in confession to God about ourselves good or bad.

Edited by Father David Moser, 15 March 2011 - 02:51 AM.


#8 Nina

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:12 AM

Is it a sin to be thin because of vanity?

#9 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:31 AM

Recognizing that there are many contributing factors to the condition of the body, perhaps it would be better to consider over eating (and whether that is a sin). The following is from Our Thoughts Determine our Lives on the life and teachings of the Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.

We are not obedient to the Lord when He tells us not to burden our hearts with food and drink and the cares of this world. We burden our bodies and our souls. Food and drink burden the body when we eat and drink more than we need. Our bodies must work to digest all that food,m and so they are burdened. And if we also burden ourselves with thoughts, then the stress is doubled and so is our suffering.


Whether one is fat or thin, if we eat more than we need, then we are not obedient to God (and is this not a sin) and we create more suffering for ourselves. I suspect that most of us (yes, me too) who live in 1st (or even 2nd) world nations (US, England, Germany, Russia, etc) tend to eat more than we need without even thinking (or perhaps even thinking that we are not eating much at all). Something to consider - especially now during the fast.

Fr David Moser

#10 Nina

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:50 AM

Father David, you are so right and thank you for the quote of Elder Thaddeus. This is the right perspective for this thread to see if we overeat and overdrink and as Eric said in another thread not all people who overeat are fat. Some people have perfect metabolism and can eat a lot. Although I have to say that in Germany esp. people are on the lean and thin side. In Germany there is a great responsibility and awareness about health, environment and recycling and many things. The world is being awaken about many problems and Germans have thought about these things ahead of us (recycling, energy consumption and conservation, even the nuclear power it was dealt with some time ago and Germans were smart enough to understand that if there is a leak the place can be inhabitable, or hostile to life for thousands of years).

As Father David pointed out, it will be more profitable for us here to concentrate on the overdoing certain things such as food, which are dangerous for us physically and spiritually.

There was an article published recently saying how the Last Supper portions are super-sized. And portion size is very important as we know esp. because modern life does not allow the physical activity that was normal during the time when Christ was here.

#11 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 05:49 AM

I remember hearing a saying (Russian I think): "never trust a thin priest." The point being, if he's a good priest, he'll visit his people a lot and they will love him and give him a meal at every house. If he's not a good priest, people won't feed him so much!

Whilst we're on sayings, and it's a little off topic, is if we ever complain about our priest we should remember that "you get the priest you deserve."

In Xp

Alex

#12 Jake A.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:06 AM

I believe I am the mystery person everyone is talking about, yes I believe it is a sin to be fat, I believe that our bodies do not belong to us and is God's property entirely, any misuse of our bodies in any way is defiling the Holy Spirit who is intended to dwell in our hearts. Everyone seems to be over-sympathetic towards overweight people as some kind of a form of political correctness, blaming everything on metabolism, etc, but it seems to me it would be hard to find a justification at the fourth toll house, a Saint once said that every extra piece of food that you put in your mouth is an extra piece out of the hands of the hungry, I forget the saying exactly but I agree with this completely, those who overeat are guilty of gluttony, and those who overweight and are lazy are often overweight, whether they're fat or not does not make them less guilty, but in fact more guilty. Sorry I'm not PC.

#13 Jake A.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 06:12 AM

I would like to redact my previous statement as for being the person who is the focus of this thread, after reading some posts, there are more revealing discussions that took place which might have inspired such a question, I thought my previous post on Christina's forum about smoking concerning fat people was the focus of attention. But I do not redact my dissatisfaction with overweight people.

#14 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 11:51 AM

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here. If we don't get the question right, we are not going to get a good answer.

Is it a sin to be fat? Well, if I touch a hot stove and burn myself, is it a sin to have a burn on my finger? Is it a sin to have cancer? Is a symptom of sin the same thing as the sin? Particularly since a "symptom" can have more than one cause, sometimes not sin-related? There are certainly people out there that believe if you are suffering, it is because you need to be punished for something you did. My son (which whom I am not always well-pleased) has a bumper sticker that says "Stupidity should hurt". Unfortunately it often hurts those other than the "stupid" person.

Obesity is a problem. It kills people, it drives up health costs. But hating or being dissatisfied with "fat" people is not going to solve the problem. Obesity is not the sin, it is only a symptom of sin. I think it fair to say that there is a lot more to being overweight than merely eating too much. People who say otherwise should probably talk less. I am very dissatisfied with such people.

Do we have some sort of God-given right to be "dissatisfied" with people who do not live up to our standards for whatever reason?

Herman the "things are not always simple but I wish they were" Pooh

#15 Christina M.

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:58 PM

Here's a question for those that think it's a sin to be fat: how would you explain babies who are born obese? Are the babies sinning because they were born overweight? Studies show that 62% of obese babies stay obese throughout their lives. Do you think God will judge them on this?

#16 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:05 PM

Dear Christina,

I don't think anyone here is saying that it is a sin to be overweight.

#17 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:08 PM

Theologically we are all born in sin. The Turkish saying: "in the eyes of its mother the baboon is a gazelle" has some truth to it, but mostly this is about how we see things, not about how they actually are. So all are born with the defects of sin whatever they are: overweight, underweight, sick, whatever. I've even seen a pre-speaking infant who had developed the habit to be able to expertly manipulate her father to get what she wanted, by howling; whereas with her mother she would not do this.

In any case, the question I think is more along the lines of what Herman asked: "Is a symptom of sin the same thing as the sin?" This is a very good question I think for it affects how we deal with things.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#18 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:35 PM

I remember hearing a saying (Russian I think): "never trust a thin priest." The point being, if he's a good priest, he'll visit his people a lot and they will love him and give him a meal at every house. If he's not a good priest, people won't feed him so much!


This is actually a saying that I have used in the past in a humorous context with some of my parishioners. It goes something like: "Never trust a fat abbot (because he's not fasting) and never trust a skinny parish priest (because his people don't feed him)" But it has backfired on me. Recently I was visiting a parishioner, I'd just stopped by for a couple of minutes and had to get going. When I was offered something to eat, I demurred saying I was getting to fat and is was quickly reminded that I had to eat so that everyone would know how much my parish loved me... So much for excuses.

Fr David

#19 Eric Peterson

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:42 PM

It's a much bigger sin to judge someone based on their appearance.

#20 Dennis Justison

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:28 PM

In my minstry, when people ask me if being fat is a sin, I try to gently take the focus off specific questions and answers. I am not defined by my sin, but by Christ. As a person grows in Christ, He will gently nudge me to what needs to be taken care of at a given time. Maybe today, there are far more "weightier" things to be dealt with by the person than his or her weight. Maybe the person's judgmentalism or self hatred needs to be dealt with first. So, I encourage people to find their identity in Christ, and the healing of sin will come, little by little. And with Christ, it comes with no guilt or self hatred or condemnation, but with a healing love that is liberating. We must not become soft on sin, but when we leave sin because of the touch of Christ, how much softer, loving, and joyful we are as compared to a change that comes through only our own guilt or the pressure of others.

I remember a Catholic priest who confided in me about his weight. He went to doctors for years, had medicine and surgeries. Finally, he was able to maintain to about 100 pounds over weight, but how miserable he was because of the jugement he felt from his brother priests and even parishioners. He is a kind and wonderful man. We really must be careful with our words, and our thoughts too, because they affect people so profoundly.




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