The demonic promotion of gluttony (C. S. Lewis)

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess.

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil (1942; London: HarperCollins Publishers, Kindle Edition, 2009), p. 87.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The industrial revolution killed gluttony because everyone can have enough to get fat.


Puritan Board Freshman
Psalm 17:14; From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
It’s one of those “acceptable” sins. With the topic being seldom given attention in churches, it’s no wonder it is so prevalent. I don’t say this as if I’m above the storm! It is indeed a personal battle I often find myself in.

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It’s one of those “acceptable” sins. With the topic being seldom given attention in churches, it’s no wonder it is so prevalent. I don’t say this as if I’m above the storm! It is indeed a personal battle I often find myself in.

Gluttony is what Jerry Bridges would term a "respectable sin." I have lost count of the number of times I have heard Christians and even ministers boasting of gluttony and thinking that there is nothing wrong with stuffing themselves full of food. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with eating large amounts of food if you need it and can do so in a controlled fashion. But undisciplined stuffing yourself to the gills is wrong.
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Staff member
Providentially, I spent a fair amount of time contemplating Jeshurun today.

So there's this:

Deut. 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.


Ordinary Guy (TM)
I know folks who were literally starving in the jungle. At 220 lbs and being very beefy I often felt guilty as I lived among a tribe where so many suffered malnutrition.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
About gluttony – a friend of mine once cited a quote from GK Chesterton I liked: “Temperance consists in finding out the proper limit of a particular indulgence and adhering to that.” There's nothing wrong at all with eating what we like, all things being equal. Those indwelt by the Spirit of Christ have a sensitivity with regard to self-control. Plus, He often leads us to fast – even if briefly – and this also brings a balance between our intake of food, and our seeking afresh the bread of heaven.

Being disciplined in various aspects of the Christian walk is a mighty stabilizing force when the world, with its temptations, disruptions, and storms, is unstable.

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Gluttony is a constant battle for me and it comes down to the fruit of the spirit known as self-control.

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It’s a battle for many, Izaak. In my own life Pig Self wants to be in control but I – the new man – let him know he’s not, I am, and I have the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ to do what I want.

The ultimate issue for me is maintaining close communion with Jesus (and in Him the Godhead). Sometimes I will notice my awareness of spiritual reality in prayer / communion is diminished, that is, an awareness of Jesus (of which I’ve spoken here elsewhere) is almost absent, and it’s then I will do a brief fast – by that I mean I will skip one or two meals – and devote some time renewing close fellowship with my Saviour.

I haven’t fasted longer than that lately as I now have to take meds in the evening and if I don’t eat an evening meal they don’t work well – though if I wanted to fast longer I would do it.

Pig Self loathes the idea of fasting, and over the years has made me doubt my fasting – sometimes skipping fasting for months – but the Lord has always given me clarity in the matter, and I have found it a good and healthful discipline.


Puritanboard Clerk
Eating too much food is an example of gluttony, but strictly speaking, it isn't gluttony (at least not as the classical tradition saw it). Gluttony is excessive love of pleasure. The love itself is a good, but it is ordered wrongly. Only one object, God, is to be loved with all our hearts. Gluttony perverts that love. Here is my outline of Dante's Purgatorio.

Lower Purgatory: Love Perverted. Love of injury to one’s neighbor.
  • Pride: Superbia. Love of self perverted to hatred of one’s neighbor.
  • Envy. Invidia. Love of one’s own good perverted to wish harm to neighbor’s good.
  • Wrath. Ira. Love of justice perverted to revenge.
Mid Purgatory: Love Defective.
  • Sloth. Acedia. Failure to love a thing in its proper proportion. Namely, we fail to love God with all our heart.
Upper Purgatory. Love Excessive. Only one object is to be loved with all our heart. This means there is a hierarchy of goods.
  • Cornice Five: Avarice. Excessive love of money.
  • Cornice Six. Gluttony. Excessive love of pleasure.
  • Cornice Seven. Lust. Excessive love of persons.
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