Body by Jesus

Your pastor wants you to lose weight.

Jesus Christ was not obese,” [Rev. Steve] Reynolds told the audience, pointing to passages in the Bible that describe Jesus walking 40 miles in one day. “I believe the heart of God is so sad today when it comes to our physical shape.”

That must explain why God lets the poor Ethiopian kids starve…

As Skepchick Elyse points out:

… I find it suspicious that there’s no mention of Jesus’ love of all-you-can-eat fish buffets.

The reasoning for the church weight-loss programs include your body being a temple, gluttony being a sin, and other diets not working.

Karen Cunningham, 41, said she’d always blamed genetics for being overweight and for unsuccessful diets. A Christian since age 10, she didn’t make a connection between God and her body until she started going to Capital Baptist Church with her 16-year-old daughter last year for the weight-loss program.

“I didn’t think what I was doing was sinful,” Cunningham said. “Going to McDonald’s was getting a hot meal.”

Cunningham says she and her daughter cut down on fast-food trips, started drinking water instead of sweet tea, read the Bible and exercised. She’s lost 70 pounds; her daughter Laura Belle has lost 40 pounds.

(Really? You didn’t make a connection between McDonald’s and your weight…? The food being “sinful” is the least of my worries if I eat there.)

Elyse recaps:

So let’s go over that again:

1. Gave up Whoppers
2. Gave up sugary beverages
3. Started drinking more water
4. Read the Bible
5. Started exercising
6. Did it all with a diet buddy for support

I wonder which one of those is going to be #1 on Karen’s list of reasons she lost weight…

Another case in point:

Michelle Stanley, who lost 90 pounds with Bod4God last year and wants to lose 40 more this year, says the message of obedience to God was what worked for her.

She literally combines the physical and the spiritual each day, when she gets up at 4 a.m. to use the elliptical machine and read her Bible.

“You have to put God first,” Stanley said.

Yes, put God first. The elliptical machine is secondary to that, I’m sure.

At least the churches are doing something to help those who are struggling to lose weight. Some of them need it:

… Kenneth Ferraro, a sociology professor at Purdue University, has studied religion and obesity and found that religion is related to the prevalence of obesity. His research in the U.S. has found, for example, that Baptist and fundamentalist Protestants had higher rates of obesity than other Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jews and other non-Christians, including Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists.

I wonder where atheists are on the weight continuum.

Probably toward the heavier end.

Those babies contain a lot of fat…


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Matt

    So let’s go over that again:

    1. Gave up Whoppers
    2. Gave up sugary beverages
    3. Started drinking more water
    4. Read the Bible
    5. Started exercising
    6. Did it all with a diet buddy for support

    That reminds me of one of those test questions: “which statement doesn’t belong to this set”

    Apparently Christians failed their ACTs.

  • Renacier

    Proof positive: slap Jesus on anything and it’ll sell like hotcakes.

  • Mriana

    You know, it’s sad not to see rational thinking here. Giving up McDonald’s and exercising would have been enough to lose weight. Replacing the sugary drinks with water helps even more. Reading the Bible and putting God first didn’t do anything to help her lose weight. It would be interesting to know how much education she has had too.

  • Julie

    Well, whatever works! Losing weight sucks. Even though God really didn’t help her, if it helped her get through the day to think that, then okay, I can dig it. I mean, maybe that idea that someone is WATCHing you actually would help when you’re about to reach for a donut.

    Isn’t this a case of a church really helping to improve its congregation’s lives? The scientific gap is a little troubling, but the spirit of the thing is pretty right on.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I’m not quite getting why y’all are mocking this. Clearly what this program is providing is a psychological motivation for these people to follow through on their weight loss goals. Any expert will tell you that the mental side of things is key to any weight loss program – without psychological motivation it is hard to keep up a physical regimen of consistent diet and exercise. In this sense reading the Bible and having a faith-based conviction regarding weight loss is highly relevant (and apparently effective), inasmuch as people often are motivated by their faith convictions to do all kinds of things.

  • cautious

    started drinking water instead of sweet tea,

    Sweet tea > living longer.

    Isn’t this a case of a church really helping to improve its congregation’s lives?

    Yes, it’s a good thing, so the atheist response should be…basically what Hemant is saying, which is that it’s great that people are losing weight, but that’s its sad that people aren’t giving credit to their own hard work.

    It’s just like AA: while it’s great that people learn how to control their bad behaviors, wouldn’t it be better if they also didn’t think that magic cloud man gave them the power?

  • http://www.acosmopolitan.blogspot.com Anatoly

    Na, I’d imagine they’re slightly more lighter. After all, they don’t have a soul to weigh them down.

  • sabrina

    First, as a nurse, I’m happy with people losing weight, even if its through God. But for the woman in the article, she thought it was a “genetic thing”, while she was eating fast food, drinking sugary drinks, and not exercising? Maybe one Sunday a month, every church should be required to have a course on nutrition. And to continue the wishful thinking, they should have a course on evolution and the scientific method the next Sunday:)

  • cipher

    Obesity is a problem among ultra-Orthodox Jews as well. It’s the diet and a complete lack of interest in physical exercise. And a lot of them chain-smoke. It’s only recently that some of their rabbis have been suggesting that the latter may not be such a good thing, and may not even be consistent with Jewish law. I’m not aware that any of them have addressed diet or exercise, as, in their world view, any activity (for men) other than study of religious texts is a waste of time.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    I think McDonald’s should sue them for saying that eating Big Macs is a sin!

    MikeC, we’re mocking it because it’s stupid. Sorry but that’s really what it comes down to. It’s the same BS about giving credit to God instead of to the human beings who really deserve the credit for their own successes and will power. It’s what I hate most about Christiainity.

    And curches caused their own obesity problems by not allowing any other “sins.” When I went to church it was a big joke that everyone was a fat pig, because it was the only vice allowed. If you can’t drink, dance, do drugs, have sex, go to the movies, and so forth, what else can you enjoy but food? Even coffee and tea are off limits to Mormons and some Christian groups in Europe. I mean, c’mon, some churches sap all of the fun out of life. If you take away my cheesecake, I’m leaving the church. (Oh, I forgot, I left already.)

  • Jen

    Ya’ll need to read more Junkfood Science. First off, there are no diets that have been found to keep the weight off for more than five years. Also, not all fat people have bad eating habits or refuse to exercise. A large friend of mine is probably the healthiest woman I know, much healthier than a lot of our non-exercising skinny friends, and she is just always going to be larger.

    So… let’s check back with Karen in 5 years and see where she’s at. I bet she’s back to her regular weight, and all the unhealthier for yo-yo dieting.

  • http://www.tuibguy.com Mike Haubrich, FCD

    writerDD

    I think McDonald’s should sue them for saying that eating Big Macs is a sin!

    Somehow, I see a marketing campaign in the works for when Jared retires:

    “Go to Subway, my child, and sin no more!”

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » That’s Not Very Nice

  • Karen

    MikeC, we’re mocking it because it’s stupid. Sorry but that’s really what it comes down to. It’s the same BS about giving credit to God instead of to the human beings who really deserve the credit for their own successes and will power. It’s what I hate most about Christiainity.

    I agree with you, DD. The other problem is they give credit to god for their own accomplishments, so they don’t become appropriately empowered by them, but if(when) they fail, they never blame god, they blame themselves for being weak and disobedient. It’s that old, toxic double-standard that I really think is so destructive.

    And curches caused their own obesity problems by not allowing any other “sins.” When I went to church it was a big joke that everyone was a fat pig, because it was the only vice allowed. If you can’t drink, dance, do drugs, have sex, go to the movies, and so forth, what else can you enjoy but food?

    Ha, ha! I remember that, too. There was always a line at the belgian waffle house after church, and the sundae place after Monday night bible study. What else were people supposed to do to indulge themselves a little? ;-)

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Karen & Donna, I think you’re missing my point about psychological motivation. If these people’s faith has provided the motivation they needed to achieve what they did, then I don’t see why it’s inappropriate to give some credit where it is due. It doesn’t have to be an either/or. Most Christians I know (Calvinists excepted) tend to think of our work and God’s as a “both/and”, as us working together with God, in a dynamic, co-creative relationship. Both get the credit. (In fact my wife just led our church in a sermon/discussion on this very topic last week and the consensus did seem to be both/and.)

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    There really is an amazing amount of ignorance about physiology in this country. Trust me on this, I have a degree in Exercise Physiology. (I went into software because I wanted to make money. Plus, I am not the most patient person in the world. A lot of people cannot (or choose not to) get it in their heads that if they do not want to be fat, they need to exercise and watch their diet.

    Another point: The pastor said Jesus Christ was not obese. No, he was not married either. How far do you take the “Be Like Jesus” idea?


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