Last Friday, October 11, 2019, was World Obesity Day AND National Coming Out day!!! How does God, according to the Bible, deal with “celebrations” or special days that commemorate something that the Bible, either implicitly (obesity) or explicitly (sexual deviance) condemn? John Piper wrote this: “When a people turn the world upside down and elevate man and degrade God, one of God’s responses is to turn their values inside out. If they turn the world upside down, God’s going to turn their values inside out. Their glory becomes their shame. And God sees to it that that happens. Their shame becomes their glory.” “…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” Romans 1:25. “And one of the most appalling parts of Romans 1 is at the end, where Paul says every one of those people who turns God into a creature — who lowers God and exalts self — every one of them knows what they’re doing. When they reflect that inversion of God and man, and reverse their sexual roles, they know what they’re doing. It says they know God in the depth of their soul (Romans 1:21). And they know that homosexual practice and transsexual experimentation is against God’s righteous will.”
Christians who truly believe the Bible will have no problem with what he is saying about sexual deviancy (from the norm as described Biblically). But obesity? Surely that is not a sin; it is not even addressed in the Bible….is it? “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Five short sentences. What do they say to you? The obvious message aside, can you reconcile obesity with being a temple of the Holy Spirit?
WorldObesity.org is launching a new World Obesity Day on March 4, 2020, “to call for a global response to this critical challenge. Obesity is now a global crisis affecting more than 2 billion people, but is poorly understood. The complexity of the disease, the challenge of developing sustainable solutions and the burden of stigma means we need to work together to address the challenge. The new World Obesity Day will include global recognition as well as regional and national campaigns and local activities and events. Organisations from across the world will acknowledge and celebrate our efforts on 4 March 2020. Together, we can change the narrative around obesity.“
Okay, this topic is a difficult one for me to address, because it deals with my most entrenched, perhaps most unreasonable(?), prejudice. Really think hard about the statements in the previous paragraph, “complexity of the disease, the challenge of developing sustainable solutions and the burden of stigma means we need to work together to address the challenge” and “we can change the narrative around obesity.” A global response to this critical challenge is ……what? If obesity is, as they claim, “poorly understood”, then how do they know it’s a disease? “We need to work together”? Who is “we”? Everyone? Just fatties (there’s my prejudice)? Just slim people? “Sustainable solutions?” Are we talking about free range fair trade organic gluten free food? If it’s a disease, as they insist alcoholism is, then “sustainable” takes on a different meaning. The most successful alcoholism recovery program, Alcoholics Anonymous, starts meetings with “I am an alcoholic.” It’s sustainable only in the sense that you will always be one.
Slim people know how to maintain a healthy weight, presumably they are conscious of how they do it, perhaps they could teach what they do to fat people. Fat people know how to be fat, not how to maintain a healthy weight. I am not sure what they have to teach about it, except “don’t do what I do.” What exactly is “the narrative around obesity?” Is it the same narrative around addiction as a disease, or hyperactivity as a disease, or gambling as a disease, or “born this way” as the explanation for homosexuality? If obesity isn’t a disease, what is it? My prejudice says “it’s mostly about lack of self control around food.”
Scientifically, it’s taking in more calories than you burn. That truth is inescapable. If I were wrong, and it’s a disease, let’s list the symptoms: I consume more calories than I burn, I consume a lot of sugar, empty calories from soft drinks and juices, I choose highly processed calories rather than purer, more natural calories (sugar Frosted Flakes over steel cut oatmeal for example), I eat too high a proportion of meat and carbohydrates, too low a proportion of vegetables. Years ago I would have added foods high in fat, but I believe that sugar is a much bigger problem, that most of the extra fat on your bones isn’t consumed but manufactured by your body as a way of storing those calories from sugar. “Those aren’t symptoms” you say, “they are behaviors.” Aren’t they visible indicators of an underlying problem? Yes? That’s what a symptom is. Calling the end result a disease does what? If it’s a disease, does that mean you can’t keep a record of what you eat? I could give you a list of do this and don’t do that. Does the disease prevent you from following the list? Well, stress – depression -loneliness – boredom – you name it, makes me eat. Exercise is too hard.
Anyway, it’s none of your business. Oh, isn’t it? According to a recent article in Science Daily based on a 2018 study by the Milken Institute: The impact of obesity and overweight on the U.S. economy has eclipsed $1.7 trillion, an amount equivalent to 9.3 % of the nation’s gross domestic product….The estimate includes $480.7 billion in direct health-care costs and $1.24 trillion in lost productivity….Universal healthcare means that universally, thin people are financially penalized for fat people’s culinary habits. We pay for their high blood pressure, their type 2 diabetes, their heart attacks, their strokes, their gallbladder disease, their osteoarthritis, their sleep apnea, the various obesity-related cancers they contract, and for all the mental-health treatment that goes hand-in-hand with realizing you are encased in a prison of your own making.
Remember when starvation was the big global health crisis? Those days are gone. According to Mike Bloomberg of the World Health Organization: Today, for the first time in history, more people are dying from too much unhealthy food than they are from too little healthy food. The “Fat Pride” movement apparently extends way back to 1967, when 500 or so people met in Central Park to stage a “Fat-In” where people burned diet books. Jim Goad opined, “If only they were so zealous about burning calories.” Do you defend the “right to bear arms” with the argument “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”? I do. Do you blame the food industry for obesity that results from unhealthy food? I don’t. I can put a gun in your hand, but you decide what to do with it. I can lay out a whole buffet of heart attack burgers and a buffet of fresh salads, but you decide which to eat. I can offer to pay for a prostitute for you, but you decide whether to violate your marriage vows. I could introduce you to a willing same sex partner, but you decide what to do from there. This entire post is about one thing only: The temptations we yield to, not whether or not we are tempted. My “issue” or prejudice isn’t about obesity, sexual deviancy or any other outward manifestation of the inner habits. It’s calling such habits “diseases.” I suppose some obese people have great habits or great genes or whatever, but are still obese. Maybe that’s glandular, genetic, a disease process. Only they know what their habits of mind and body are.