The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony

FOTSthumb2A StubbornThings Symposium9/19/15
Introduction  •  I like Thomas Aquinas. But going by this information from Wiki, perhaps there’s a reason I haven’t become a Catholic. Under the definition of “gluttony,” Thomas included “eating too soon,” “eating too expensively,” “eating too eagerly,” “eating to daintily,” and “eating wildly.”

This is surely one reason religion has a PR problem. It’s one thing to stump for not being a lard-ass. It’s another to obsess on morality to the point where “eating too daintily” is considered a sin. Oh, if only. Have you been to a family restaurant lately?

The purpose of The Seven Deadly Sins ought not to be to exercise our obsessive-compulsive disorders. They ought to be a guide — taken together and with square measure — on how to be a noble human being. Dying by drowning in your own puke, as many fat celebrities have done, should not be one’s goal for life.

All of these Deadly Sins, if taken in stride and measured without fanaticism, can go a long way to raising a man above the animal. We learn these habits not to put on a false front but to have a good inside.

The Editor

Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony



Well, we can see I got the sloth thing going for me! [Editor’s note: I can verify the gluttony thing, having eaten a pizza with him a time or two, but not the sloth thing. Pat is as hard of a worker as I’ve seen.] Well truth be told, I got most of these sins going for me at some level or another.  So let’s begin.

Gluttony, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste. In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven deadly sins—a misplaced desire for food that may result in hunger among the needy.[pullquote]Like lust before this one, gluttony has ties to all the rest of the gang of seven. Lust for food, money, sex, power or whatever = gluttony…[/pullquote]

Gluttony is truly the easiest to see as a deadly sin, having weighed in at over 400 pounds for a good portion of my life, my gluttony was killing me.  The definition above almost makes gluttony sound like it could be a onetime event?  I am not sure how that could work with the exception of drinking to death, but from a Biblical perspective, I am sure it is a lifestyle sin, not a one-time slip up.

Like lust before this one, gluttony has ties to all the rest of the gang of seven. Lust for food, money, sex, power or whatever = gluttony; Greed: you can never get enough, food, money power, sex or even pain, glutton for punishment = gluttony; Pride: I deserve to be treated like a king so I will act like Henry the 8th = gluttony; Envy: we have to keep up with the Jones, get more stuff = gluttony;  Wrath: anger and hate tend to feed off one another and lead to excesses in both = gluttony; and finally sloth:  this is where America is today, over-the-top slothful. We have way it too easy, and the more that big brother takes care of the masses the more slothful we get. We are so far gone that we cannot even call government handouts what they are. We call them “entitlements.”  Seriously, when did being an American come to mean do as little as you can, revel in your slothfulness and be rewarded? [Editor’s note: Since about 1964, Pat….right around “The Great Society.”] Well I am not sure that sloth from the Bible equates with gluttony, but it sure does today.

So we over-indulge from time to time. Does that qualify as gluttony?  Maybe, but I do not think so.  I think it must be a total lifestyle, and most likely in every aspect of your life.  I am a six-day-a-week type of worker; as a matter of fact that is where I am typing this right now.  Does that qualify me as a workaholic, (glutton for work)?  [Editors note: This type of gluttony is “glutton for being able to pay the tax man and support a family.] The Bible tells me six days you should work and on the seventh, I should rest, so no, I think I am OK there.

I lost 130 pounds in six months by being a glutton with vegetables, stuffing my face all waking hours with raw vegetables and no fat or protein.  It worked. For the first time in my life I lost weight and kept it off. But there was a price: type II diabetes; remember that deadly part.  Who knew carrots were pure sugar?

You could be a glutton for StubbornThings [Editor’s note: This remains purely a theoretical thing…not enough people here for that to happen.] if you were to take it to extremes.  So this whole life thing, really, is simple to state, and hard to do: Moderation in all things, lest we become gluttonous.  In this land of plenty, something that at times can be very hard to do.

— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one. He’s sometimes a glutton for punishment.



In dealing with the practical consequences of gluttony, we must first deal with the question of what we mean by it. One meaning turned up in Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. A health-food nut finds himself in the part of Hell assigned to gluttons, and is much put out by this — particularly when he encounters protagonist Allen Carpenter, whom he knows as a member of a society of gourmands. To this, Carpenter’s guide Benito replies that gluttony is too much attention to food — which can apply to a health-food nut as well as a gourmet or gourmand.

Obviously, the harm involved in being a glutton in that sense is limited. It can be considered a lack of intellectual balance, as discussed in a scene in The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. There (and this is actually in mockery of the kaldane Gek, all brain and virtually no body of his own), two characters bring up people who can describe the best way to cook anything — but have no knowledge of any other aspect of culture.

Still, lack of intellectual balance is hardly a major concern, partcularly when only someone who is obsessive about food and has no other interests is likely to suffer from the problem. Nor is the cost necessarily all that high, though I suspect that foodies of the sort Niven, Pournelle, and Burroughs were talking about would fact high-cost ingredients for their favorite foods. But plenty of people can afford that anyway.

So this brings us to the common meaning of gluttony — eating lots and lots of food. This can be very expensive, unless one relies solely on very cheap food (such as bulk grains, which take a good bit of work to turn into tasty food). One should also note that some people even today have jobs that require a great deal of exercise, and thus really need more food than most people. This in fact has come up regarding Michelle Obama’s school lunch guidelines, which are based on the assumption that no one eating them is a student athlete. (This isn’t the only complaint against them, of course. They’re also based on the assumption that you can get children to eat right by only serving them the appropriate foods. The fact that this hasn’t worked, as usual with liberals, is irrelevant.)

So that leaves us with the usual problem associated with gluttony — the great Western pandemic of obesity. One of the main reasons for this is that Western-oriented diets are designed for people who work hard for a living, not for a sedentary population. In that sense, one can argue that the problem is mainly sloth rather than gluttony. Bur for whatever reason, the fact remains that most of us eat too much, some of us far too much.

Where that can lead varies. In my place, it led to a visit to the ER in January 2012 for severe pulmonary edema that resulted from obesity and extreme water retention. After a night of extensive diuretics, I was weighed in at 415.9 pounds. 48 hours later, I was done to 393.1 — 10 liters of fluid removed. A week later I was over 25 pounds lighter than that. That (and the various physical symptoms that had resulted from it, such as gasping for breath at the slightest exertion, being unable to put on my shoes, and being unable to wipe my own rear after excretion) — was a consequence of obesity. And if this situation hadn’t been resolved, I very likely wouldn’t be here today.

Not everyone goes that far, of course, So instead they suffer milder symptoms, such as knee and back strains. high blood pressure, and diabetes. There’s no guarantee of any of this; I have no problem with cholesterol levels and no diabetes. But we have several freinds who are diabetic.

The problems that can result from gluttony (aside from the very rare example of choking, which isn’t example a problem of gluttony per se) are long-term, unlike (at least sometimes) the consequences of lust. But one should note that it’s also possible to consume too much of other things, such as alcohol or recreational drugs. Unlike food, none of these are essential to life (though ethanol in small quantities reportedly can be healthful). But the harmful effects can be very fast, a result of the fact that all can affect the mind in a way that even coffee or chocolate don’t. Even a small amount of intoxicant can be enough to result in a fatal accident, but someone who consumes intoxicants gluttonously is far likelier to suffer that fate.

So, eat, drink, and be merry. But don’t overdo it, or tomorrow you may indeed die.

— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine. His recreational drug of choice is blogging.



THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS AS SET FORTH IN PROVERBS 6:16-19. #1: A Proud Look (KJV); A Haughty Bearing (TANAKH); Haughty Eyes (Peshitta).

Don’t you love the word HAUGHTY? “Proud” could be about anything, but “Haughty”, either in bearing or eyes, has a flavor all its own. It applies overall to a certain segment of our society who look down on the rest of us beings as lesser mortals. Haughty: Arrogantly superior and disdainful.

Let’s start at the presumed top of the food chain, the president of the United States. Does haughty suit him, or what? I haven’t counted his boogers or nose hairs as he sticks his snoot in the air, but someone could easily do so. And his admirers and minions are cut from the same cloth.

Two people who have the Haughty Bearing and Eyes down pat are IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and his henchwoman, Lois Lerner. I can hardly stand to even look at Koskinen, but Lerner kind of fascinates me. She has the haughty look, but I can see her raveled edges even as she keeps asserting her 5th Amendment Rights. I have finally concluded she is a True Believer with absolutely no idea why anyone would think she has done anything wrong. She is really confused since she knows she is on the side of the Angels. How can anyone question her intent? When even her neighbor would not let her into her home to escape a reporter it must have been a stunning blow to Lerner. Every time she testifies before Congress you can see her aging and developing stress lines before your eyes. Her haughty look does not help her, even as she tries to intimidate people with it.

John Koskinen is a different matter entirely. I do not know if there is anything he believes but his own advancement and his contempt for anyone or anything that stands in his way. As I wrote of him before, “He lied to Congress, he lied to the Court and to the American people. He lied to save this ruinous regime and his own sorry hide. He lied about lying.” He continues to lie and no longer cares if we know, so the haughty sneer appears. I thought for a time that I was alone in the willies he gives me, but lately I have been reading about other folks who want to slap the smarmy look off his face and send him packing, preferably impeached and in Contempt of Congress. And then to jail.

The Rules of the Lord’s Deadly Sins:
The Rule of the First Deadly Sin: By their haughty look ye shall know them.

— Anniel is a frequent contributor to StubbornThings and is somewhat, errr, proud of that fact.

See Also:
The Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

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21 Responses to The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    By posting this a little ahead of time (the opposite of sloth), I’m sending notice for all of you to get off your gluttonous behinds and get to writing! 😀 I’ll add essays as they are submitted and make note of that.

  2. Rosalys says:

    I think there is something to the obsession about food, beyond shear volume of consumption, to qualify it as gluttony (a la Thomas Aquinas – and for that matter, C.S. Lewis (somewhere in The Screwtape Letters, I believe.)

    Last year, I won a prize trip to Columbus, Ohio. The Chamber of Commerce of Columbus has been trying to promote tourism to their city by focusing on their cuisine and the prize was mainly gustatory in nature. Besides two nights in a very nice hotel, my husband and I also got a “food tour” of the city’s restaurants, bakeries, food mall, candy and ice cream factories, plus several gift certificates – one of which was a dinner for two at place called “M”, for $100. (That’s almost twice what we’d normally spend at a good restaurant.) The food was good, but I don’t know if it was $100 good. Still, it wasn’t costing us anything, but it was a bit pretentious. The icing on the cake was the “pink, Himalayan, sea salt” sprinkled atop the sour cream that came with the appetizer! Pink, Himalayan, sea salt seems to be a current fad among gourmands. I suspect it is nothing more than sodium chloride with a little iron in it, and an exotic address, and is just a snobbish bit snootery to separate the elite from the unwashed masses. Maybe this doesn’t qualify as gluttony, but it probably would fit into Anniel’s haughty bearing category, and is certainly unnecessary.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Maybe this doesn’t qualify as gluttony, but it probably would fit into Anniel’s haughty bearing category, and is certainly unnecessary.

      Implied in gluttony is, I think, waste and sometimes exhibitionism as a type of pride. It may be difficult to know exactly when the line is crossed, but there is little doubt that eating gold, which has become something of a fad, is an extreme type of gluttony and pride. Ha, ha, ha, I have so much more money than you that I can actually eat and excrete gold.

      In both Europe and Asia, a certain portliness was admired as a sign of prosperity. In Germany, one of the terms used to signify luck is, “du hast Schwein”, which is literally, “you have pig”. Nothing like having fat pigs around to demonstrate one’s wealth.

      • Rosalys says:

        A certain portliness was indeed a sign of prosperity in a world where food was labor intensive to grow, harvest, prepare, and preserve. Today, in the developed countries, food is both abundant and cheap.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          That’s a good point. Now maybe being at a moderate weight according to one’s height marks one as more prosperous, for it sure seems as if the people on welfare are the fattest of all.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Still, it wasn’t costing us anything, but it was a bit pretentious. The icing on the cake was the “pink, Himalayan, sea salt” sprinkled atop the sour cream that came with the appetizer! Pink, Himalayan, sea salt seems to be a current fad among gourmands.

      That kind of food and menu is all about thinking you are better than others. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things in life. But there are now many multi-billion-dollar industries that exist to pamper people to an excessive degree. And it is as offensive to my sensibilities as is the poodle you see walking down the street with all the pink ribbons and knitted coat while the owner purrs. “Oooo…my sweet baby. Mama wuvs her Tinkie Winkie.”

      That gluttony of eating gold and pink sea salt is about man’s never-ending quest to think himself better than others. It’s sort of a gluttony of conceit. The current Pope has that as well regarding his “social justice” Leftism.

      A humble man is still hard to find. A man of no-nonsense tastes is a rarity. A man who measures strength by the brave acts he commits to do something good and productive is scarce. But the man who pampers himself with fag-like obsessions with pink sea salt and eating gold are a dime a dozen.

      We now hale “Caitlyn” Jenner as the hero. And who is John Wayne?

  3. Pst4usa says:

    Brad ,I just read your post and thank God you corrected yourself right away, I could feel my head winding up to explode after your tattoo statement. By the way, we just went on a one night cruise. I am not sure you could find a better real life description of gluttony in all its forms than a one night cruise. Wow is all I can say.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Yeah..I barely caught myself from going over the edge with that tattoo thing. Moderation in all things, I guess.

      Where did you guys cruise to? And I have no doubt the whole point is gluttony. If there was truth in advertising it wouldn’t be “Princess Cruise” but “Gluttony Cruise.”

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Pat “big boy, but shrinking” Tarzwell’s essay has just been published. Great work, Pat. I really enjoyed your essay. So did The Editor.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven deadly sins—a misplaced desire for food that may result in hunger among the needy.

    Pat, I consider myself a conservative progressive in that I stay up with the times. What worked 200 years ago might sometimes have to be modified. I believe in timeless truths, but sometimes one does has to adapt to new circumstances.

    Clearly that is true in regards to one of the Christian interpretations of gluttony. I think now one would be doing “the poor” a favor by eating as much food as you could. That might help put some of these “poor” on a diet, for “the poor” in America are amongst the fattest of the fat. Just sayin’.

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Brad, you’ve got a little bit of an Abbott and Costello thing going in Pat’s piece. I like it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      For obvious reasons, Pat is the Lou Costello part of the act…but a very very tall Costello. There is some vague resemblance.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I am not a fan of slap-stick, but I love Lou Costello. His bit with Abbott, “Who’s on First” is the funniest and most clever stand-up bit ever.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I hope everyone has seen this. If not, take a moment: Who’s on first?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I”ve seen that many tmes, and naturally I especially like it as a baseball fan. A friend of mine once got a book that had a few Abbott and Costello routines with still photos. Among them was what may have been the original version of the “Who’s on First?” routine.

          As for gluttony itself, the main thing I would have said was already forestalled by Rosalys: fatness was associated with a higher class. Not only could they afford more (and better) food, but they also didn’t usually need to do as much hard physical labor. Richard Powell had his main character make a similar observation in his Trojan War novel, Whom the Gods Destroy.

  7. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    My contribution to gluttony:

    “I love the look of food, the lure of food
    The sweet of food, the pure of food
    The eyes, the arms, the mouth of food
    The east, west, north and the south of food

    I’d love to gain complete control of food
    And handle even the heart and soul of food
    So love, at least, a small percent of me, do
    For I love all of food

    I’d love to gain complete control of food
    And handle even the heart and soul of food
    So love, at least, a small percent of me, do
    For I love all of food, for I love all of food”

    With hat tip to Cole Porter’s “All of You”.

    It’s less trouble than sex.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It’s less trouble than sex.

      Yes, I’ve never heard of the need to have “safe food”…other than food that isn’t rancid. I suppose putting a condom on a banana or cucumber mixes these two together in ways it is best not to think about.

  8. I being a day late and a dollar short this time around, but I’d like to add only this to the discussion — from the Disney version of Winnie the Pooh,
    “It is a fine thing to go feasting,
    But feasting never pays,
    For I have feasted
    And increased
    In a most obesetly way.” 🙂

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      As I say, Deana, “It’s never too late to pontificate.” Feel free to submit your gluttonous essay. 😀 This is a bit free-form this time.

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