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Gluttony, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning "to gulp down or swallow", describes over-consumption and over-indulgence of food, drink, or wealth 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.


How long could we allow this beast
To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast
On everything he wanted to?
Great Scott! It simply wouldn't do! ~ Roald Dahl
The surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence. ~ Dorothy L. Sayers
  • GLUTTON, n. A person who escapes the evils of moderation by committing dyspepsia.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Oompa Loompas: What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?
    Eating as much as an elephant eats?
    What are you at getting terribly fat?
    What do you think will come of that?
    I don't like the look of it.
  • Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
  • For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
  • Moses … denied to the members of the sacred commonwealth unrestricted liberty to use and partake of the other kinds of food. All the animals of land, sea or air whose flesh is the finest and fattest, thus titillating and exciting the malignant foe pleasure, he sternly forbade them to eat, knowing that they set a trap for the most slavish of the senses, the taste, and produce gluttony, an evil very dangerous both to soul and body.
    • Philo, On The Special Laws, Part IV, p. 69
  • The inexperienced in wisdom and virtue, ever occupied with feasting and such, are carried downward, and there, as is fitting, they wander their whole life long, neither ever looking upward to the truth above them nor rising toward it, nor tasting pure and lasting pleasures. Like cattle, always looking downward with their heads bent toward the ground and the banquet tables, they feed, fatten, and fornicate. In order to increase their possessions they kick and butt with horns and hoofs of steel and kill each other, insatiable as they are.
  • The surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence.
  • Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Dante puts his gluttons in the third circle of the Inferno – writhing 24/7 in a whirlpool mudbath of live intestines and excrement. Does that seem an overharsh judgment on a life spent ordering supersize cokes, buckets of fries and vats of gelato? Given the way we live now, the gluttony debate in Christian thought looks like a proto-Marxist prophecy against the overconsumption we have learned to call capitalism. Overconsumption that wrecks the planet and unbalances our relationships, nation to nation, class to class – and with one another. The greed-is-good philosophy of the Reagan/Thatcher era – 30 years of stuffing your face followed by economic collapse – is the macro model of what happens in our bodies. We are not designed for “all you can eat”... Food is fabulous. But too much eating of too much easy food too much of the time is partly responsible for our current level of degenerative disease – diabetes, heart conditions, fatty liver, hypertension, inflammation and, of course, the rise and rise of obesity. Yes, this is about the sort of food we eat, but it is also about the quantity of food we eat. Many of us are gluttons.

See also

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