Thursday, 9 April 2009

Weight loss as secular theology

Interesting thread in this discussion

About how Christianity handles the issue of body size. It's clear from what has been said and quoted that opinion seems to vary.

There are references to the state of being fat as something to aspire to, as a blessed state, which probably reflects the threat of hunger and famine.

The issue of gluttony, which of course fat people have become a representation of, seems more about philosophical interpretations of the soul versus the flesh. The idea that our spirit is eternal, but our flesh is mortal, therefore to transcend it, by neglecting to feed it and generally being disgusted by it and such, is a sign of inner piety.

It's interesting to see how various groups handle the current weight loss culture. I always say, diversity is strength, because different worldviews pick up on different things, which should give us ideally a kind of mosaic of wisdom to draw on, and therefore a better ensuring our survival as a whole.

The whole weight loss thing has seen this cherished theory shot somewhat to hell, as groups of all kinds fall like nine pins in line with diet fascism. The sheer ubiquity of this is truly staggering. I never would have predicted it.

Feminist's become sexists, science becomes a form of religion, it just goes on and on. All to perpetuate the notion that we can control our weight using calorie restriction. It makes you wonder what we actually know or fully understand what we are supposed to be believe in.

The big question is why? Why has this idea achieved such potency?

What is ironic about all this in a religious context, is that dieting causes 'gluttony', if you define that as overeating- from rebounding or compulsive eating or other forms of disordered eating.

Attempts to prevent our urges, bring them about- dieting up the scale, attempts to discharge our 'sin', causes it to increase- dieting provoking binge eating etc., Bringing about the sin, through the morality or control is the reason why a lot of secularists reject religion, or believers grow weary and lose their faith.

Like god, dieting can never be wrong, therefore only the individual is left to carry the burden of things going wrong. If you eat a lot, that's why you are fat, if you eat neither too much nor too little, you're eating too much for you, if you eat very little, why then of course you're fat, you're not eating enough.

After embracing atheism and humanism, in part due to finding the very religious notion of original sin depressingly misanthropic and inhumane, we seem to have embraced it again.

It turns out we do need the rigid guidelines of lifestyle choice (which of course isn't a choice), we must have the strictures of dieting to atone for our sin and the threat and punishment of social stigma to keep us in line. Or we will 'eat ourselves to death'.Normal eating- eating according to your own needs and dictates= gluttony. Because we are intrinsically corrupt.

Our mistake in the past was having the wrong priests to guide us, not priest's but scientists and doctors, even though they are exactly the same people. On know account should we feel fit to question them, ours is not to reason why.

We must not think, but follow, memorising and regurgitating that which we may or may not understand. There is no point in us understanding what we cannot question or have any say on. We cannot take care of ourselves, we are children, like the sheep of god ( or is it lambs?). Except scrub god, and replace it with man.

We have supposedly progressed from religion to the triumph of rationalism; and yet somehow.....

1 comment:

  1. That last line is great. Just absolutely brilliant.