Obesity in the Christian World

With the majority of the population, estimated at over 75% in the U.S., being oriented with some form of Christianity, there should be no doubt about whether spirituality plays a part in our everyday lives. Even those people who have turned away from their prior beliefs make urgent decisions based on the belief system that is embedded into the sub-conscious.�¯�¿�½

Choices that are made through life, ethical, spiritual and physical, is the texture we weave our life into. Every individual’s reality affects the reality of another, this is easily proved by going up to a sad stranger with your bright smile and telling them to have a blessed day. Now imagine what happens if you are going up to a smiling person and verbally abusing them because they are suffering from a disease.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

The acknowledgment of the first scenario as good and the second as bad was the practicality of moral ethics working for you, but are Christians using it faithfully when it matters?�¯�¿�½

According to the director of the CDC, obesity is a chronic disease of epidemic proportions, with a conservative estimate of nearly one-third of the population being obese. The ASBP, American Society of Bariatric Physicians, estimates that 33 to 40 percent of woman and 20 to 24 percent of men are trying to lose weight at any given time.�¯�¿�½Obesity is a chronic disease that wins second place in the preventable death category.�¯�¿�½

Given the two variables, the percentage rate of obesity and the percentage of those that have a religious orientation of Christianity, we can assume that around one third of those that are centered with Christianity is obese. Yet, the two topics are like mixing oil and water in a boiling pot.�¯�¿�½

That is not to say that the belief system of an individual is an unimportant factor in the subject of weight loss. It is a well known fact that health is tied to positive thinking, the very thing that is sought for by followers of all religions and belief systems. There have been well documented cases of miracles and healings of different diseases and conditions.�¯�¿�½

As an obese person, the resulting health and mental problems faced are multiplied since there is much discrimination directed at them from the public and church peers. Stereotypes of what a fat person is, or isn’t, is generally degrading and cruel. Labels like lazy, weak willed, stupid and worthless hang over the heads of sufferers. Even in the knowledgeable medical field, including Bariatric professionals, health care workers hold true to the biased belief that it is an ethical disease that dieting and exercise would cure.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

As one Christian lady so bluntly phrased it, “But then that is the way of the world- people are cruelly judged when they are overweight and the religious community does not tend to be gentler in that regard.” With that in mind, does it surprise you that suicides contributed to the factor of obesity and the stigma thereof is as high as five times that of other factors?
Since gluttony is one of the major sins in this religion, any obese Christians have had to wait out sermons given by pastors that used the sin of gluttony as an example time and time again. Weight troubles are seen as self-imposed problems, the result of sin. If the sin was gone, so would the weight be.�¯�¿�½

A Christian is very likely to have feelings of guilt due to their inability to rid themselves of the sin. Phrases like “you should pray more” or “you should take better care of God’s temple” make more rounds than a door-to-door salesman, and adds to the sore feeling of failure. Ironically, some formerly-overweight church members participate in the mental torture of those that are overweight.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

But why is there so much discrimination against obesity? It affects millions of people from all walks of life. It is almost impossible for a person not to be able to name at least three obese people that they know well. Obesity is not an indicator of maliciousness, criminal activity, mental illness or retardation. It is not contagious.�¯�¿�½

So generally speaking, the discrimination is without a logical sturdy foundation. Yet, it thrives and bears many fruits of hate and anger.

In what way can the religious community be de-programmed? An old adage is Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Tell the truth and shame the devil’ The truth is a very powerful spiritual weapon. And it takes more than one person to change the discriminatory habits of a multitude.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

It cannot be overcome in a matter of hours or days.�¯�¿�½The embarrassed or ashamed obese individual may not be willing to point out to others the misconceptions of obesity. Yet, this is one of the requirements to bringing about change.�¯�¿�½

Scientific and medical data should be cited to others, so that pointing out their misconception of a lazy and weak willed individual is not received as a rationalism from the obese person. Information should not be given only to the selected few that are tolerant, but to those that are cruel with their intolerance.�¯�¿�½

The authorities within the church should be confronted with the problem. Once again, medical data should be gone over with a calm mind and a loving and forgiving heart. For every scripture that defines the discriminator’s perspective, a variety of scriptures can define what God says is the ultimate truth.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

History has taught that major changes don’t happen overnight, so patience and commitment must become an integral part of the war on discrimination.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

A pre-made discussion template to speak with your clergy and church members could follow the following model of presentation:

2 Kings 7: 3,5- focus on the fact that God uses everyone to do his work.�¯�¿�½

Galatians 5: 22-23- focus on these fruits as fruits of God�¯�¿�½

Romans 8: 26- focus on that God knows we are of physical bodies and are prone to sin even when the spirit doesn’t want to. This goes for every sin, every temptation, including prejudice.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

John 15:17- how God wants us to treat each other, in love�¯�¿�½

Galatians 6: 7- everyone reaps what they have sown. And each person only answers for their sin, not the sin of others�¯�¿�½

2 Corinthians 10: 3- the bible says our enemies are not flesh and blood, we war with Satan, the real enemy.�¯�¿�½

Ephesians 6: 12- who is our real enemy? Satan and darkness.�¯�¿�½

Isaiah 54:17- those that are being used as a weapon of the Devil will not prosper�¯�¿�½

James 3: 2-8- tame the tongue�¯�¿�½

Mathew 12: 34-35- what treasure does tongues come from�¯�¿�½

James 3: 13-16- let them show themselves�¯�¿�½

1 Corinthians 13: 11-13- as you grow spiritually, so should you grow out of worldly acts and things. charity is charity of the soul, such as love, mercy, acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness.

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