Obesity And Belief

foodChristians have pound-for-pound less will-power than non-christians.

If the above statement is true, then claims of a holy spirit giving believers power over the lusts of the flesh are false, and the source of the notion of such a holy spirit all fall suspect.

Is this statement true? I offer only a few inconclusive sources for my belief in the truth of this statement.

  • Anecdotal
    In my own social circles the number of obese among the “godly” is far greater than the the number of obese “godless” .
    This anecdotal evidence is the weakest of all sources of evidence. However, this source is strengthened if you and other readers assess their own social environments with similar conclusions.
  • U.S. State Statistics
    In states with a higher number of church-goers, we could expect to see a lower rate of obesity if the notion of a holy spirit were true. To the degree that the result is the inverse, to this degree we confidently dismiss the notion that there exists a holy spirit with any potency. I’m sure there is a study out there somewhere. Feel free to comment if you’ve this information.
  • Country Statistics
    Though this may be confounded by genetic differences and the availability and quality of food, it would be informative to have a cross-national study of obesity rates. If there is a guiding holy spirit, we might expect to see lower obesity rates in nations with a strong Christian influence. Comment on this are also welcome.
  • The Shepherds
    The obesity rates among those who are considered to be most “godly” is the strongest form of evidence for or against the existence of a holy spirit. In my own extensive experience in a wide range of churches, a significant number of ministers, pastors and other church leaders were significantly more overweight than the general population of their communities.

Theologians can spout all they want about the potency of the holy spirit based on the scriptures. However, if statistical evidence fails to demonstrate a real-world difference in power over “sins” such as obesity between the “godly” and the “godless” as would be expected if a holy spirit actually exists, then this is not only salient counter-evidence, but this also brings in to question the veracity of the scriptures which make the claim of a potent holy spirit. And should the statistics show that there is actually an inverse relationship between persons who claim to have the holy spirit and the ability to overcome the “sin” of overeating, this strongly warrants our dismissal of the scriptures as a source of truth.

A subjective assessment of a belief system is not enough. If the promises that make you feel good are not borne out in objective reality, then, in spite of the warmth the promise gives you, it must be dismissed.

To be fair, if it can be shown that Christians have more power over their eating habits, then this would be a good step in demonstrating at least the pragmatics of believing in the holy spirit (as a placebo?), and perhaps even compel non-believers to reassess the Bible.

Romans 16:18 “…whose god is their belly.”

While this proposed failure of the holy spirit is sufficient to conclude the Bible as false, this argument is based on potential statistical data. You’ll find other arguments on this blog that posit the Bible as false due to logical inconsistencies that are not dependent on statistics.

UPDATE: Here is a report on a study actually done on obesity among Christians that confirms my suspicions.


In the new study, he breaks this down by specific creed, and reports that whereas 1 one percent or less of those embracing the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or other non-Christian religions qualify as obese, the numbers of the markedly overweight rise dramatically the further one goes toward the Christian fundamentalist end of the spectrum: around 17 percent of Catholics, 18 percent of Methodists, 20 percent of Pentecostal and Assemblies of God parishioners, and a striking 27 percent of Baptists, including the Southern, North American and Fundamentalist wings.


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