Praise the Lard!
Apparently people who attend regular religious services are more likely to be obese than those who don’t. (I knew it was the church’s fault that I’m fat! Well, at least partially their fault.) It’s too bad that there aren’tany numbers published in the article so I don’t feel very confident that this correlation is that powerful. Plus, they didn’t explain how they proved that one behavior caused the other result, but just for the sake of discussion, let’s go with it.
In the article — Praise the lard? Religion linked to obesity in young adults — the author glosses over a few possible reasons why this correlation exists, but I feel like she completely misses deeper, and yet more obvious explanations.
I wonder if she has ever been to church.
Anyway, she addresses the amounts and types of food that people can find at church gatherings but ignores any spiritual, psychological and emotional causes that might exist. And since church is a psychological and emotional experience — and the whole point is for it to be spiritual — it seems to me to be a glaring omission.
My immediate and deeply personal reaction to this idea is that (if it is true) the cause has to be how the church encourages us to think and feel about ourselves. And I can think of several possible examples just off the top of my head. Foremost being the kind of self-talk modern religion encourages.
Especially in light of the article I read about self-compassion last week, I’m convinced that the evangelistic models of god and man and sin — and the resultant self-loathing — create a negative impression of ourselves (as fallen, broken, sinners) and that has to create enough negativity within ourselves to be a potential cause of this correlation. At least for some of us. I know some faith traditions like to focus on words like redeemed and saved. But even those ideas conjure up possible negativity because they imply those other ideas (fallen, broken, sinners).
Furthermore the oppressive, repressed ways that the Church demonizes sex and sexuality– even though they are trying to just demonize premarital sex — have got to cause some separation (at least in women, I can’t really speak for the men) from many people’s physical selves and keep them from paying their bodies the kind of attention needed to keep them well. I know the Church did this to me and it cut DEEP.
It wasn’t a cut that was purposely made, mind you. But that doesn’t mean it was shallow or that it healed quickly. It doesn’t remove the resultant scar.
Even just urging us to concentrate so intently on a realm beyond this present physical one has to cause some psychological issues for some. Purposely leaving the moment we are currently in, when so many of us aren’t completely in that moment to start with, and looking so far forward must disconnect some from their experiences here. Including eating. Removing the mindfulness of any act can cause us to perform that act to our own detriment.
I could probably go on. It may be obvious that these are some of the issues I’m personally working on in relation to my own body and weight issues. I’m not really blaming the church. But I am starting to see how they did contribute to these issues for me. And that makes me a little angry because I think that ideally a church should help people with these issues rather than cause them.