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Gluttony


Gluttony (Latin: gula, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning "to gulp down or swallow") means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items, particularly as status symbols. In Christianity, it is considered a sin if the excessive desire for food causes it to be withheld from the needy.[1] Some Christian denominations consider gluttony one of the seven deadly sins. Eating before the time of meals in order to satisfy the palate. Biblical example: Jonathan eating a little honey, when his father Saul commanded no food to be taken before the evening.[1Sa 14:29] (Note that this text is only approximately illustrative, as in this account, Jonathan did not know he was eating too.) 2. Seeking delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the "vile sense of taste." Biblical example: When Israelites escaping from Egypt complained, "Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers and the melons, and the leeks and the onions and the garlic," God rained fowls for them to eat but punished them 500 years later.[Num 11:4] 3. Seeking to stimulate the palate with overly or elaborately prepared food (e.g. with luxurious sauces and seasonings). Biblical example: Two sons of Eli the high priest made the sacrificial meat to be cooked in one manner rather than another. They were met with death.[1Sa 4:11] 4. Exceeding the necessary quantity of food. Biblical example: One of the sins of Sodom was "fullness of bread."[Eze 16:49] 5. Taking food with too much eagerness, even when eating the proper amount, and even if the food is not luxurious. Biblical example: Esau selling his birthright for ordinary food of bread and pottage of lentils. His punishment was that of the "profane person . . . who, for a morsel of meat sold his birthright," : we learn that "he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully, with tears." [Gen 25:30] The fifth way is worse than all others, said St. Gregory, because it shows attachment to pleasure most clearly. To recapitulate, St Gregory the Great said that one may succumb to the sin of gluttony by: 1. Time (when); 2. Quality; 3. Stimulants; 4. Quantity; 5. Eagerness. He asserts that the irregular desire is the sin, not the food: "For it is not the food, but the desire that is in fault".[11] Gluttony is defined as the over-indulgence or lack of self-restraint in food, drink, or wealth items, especially as status tokens. The English word comes from the Latin and means “to gulp.” Gluttony worships food to feed our own self-love. Merriam-Webster defines gluttony as "habitual greed or excess in eating...greedy or excessive indulgence". While gluttony may seem to be a more trivial transgression than the others grouped in the “Seven Deadly Sins,” there is a reason this sin makes the list. With the alarming rate of modern obesity we see today, perhaps many have forgotten or forsaken the warnings against gluttony and its deadly consequences. Let’s look at the biblical references of gluttony to better understand its classification as a deadly sin.

  • Gluttony is often connected with idolatry (Philippians 3:19; 1 Corinthians 10:7), and leads to deadness of heart (Psalm 115:4-8, 119:70).

  • Gluttony and hopelessness go hand in hand (1 Corinthians 15:32).

  • Devotion to food for Christians gives birth to legalism and judgmental-ism in Christians (Romans 14:13-17).

  • Gluttony induces laziness (Titus 1:12) that brings forth poverty (Proverbs 23:21).

  • Gluttony is a visible expression of rebellion against God and man that destroys life (Deuteronomy 21:20).

  • Drunkards (liquid-based gluttons) will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10).

According to John Piper, there are a lot of reasons for obesity in our culture. It's not just that we eat a lot of bad food. We're also pretty inactive and don't do a lot of walking, running, biking, etc. Oftentimes obesity issues are connected as much to activity issues as they are to what goes into our mouths. Muscles are designed to burn food, but if they aren't being used then any amount of food is going to result in obesity. But "gluttony" is a better word to use in this context rather than "obesity," because overeating is where the problem is, not how much you weigh. There are all kinds of reasons why a person might weight too much or too little that is not a result of gluttony.

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