Religious Attitudes Towards Food and Eating Habits

According to the oxford dictionary, religion has been defined as the conviction of utmost belief in a supernatural being or power that influences human fate. Scholars have also defined religion in various aspects spanning from both the complex aspects of universal embrace and its functions in society. According to Mead and Hill, the order in the world derives its policies and rules from the various religions. They established the linkage between eating taboos and the religious pronunciation of the same practices. Many Christian believers practice certain eating habits based on what the Bible says; for instance, pork is considered dirty as the Bible associated ‘swines’ with sinfulness. Therefore, such life signposts streamline the coordination between nature and culture, (pg. 12-24).

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Werblowsky, & Wigoder in their analysis trace back to the time of Jesus whereby the ‘holiness’ aspect was pegged not only on the Israelites’ physically distancing themselves from the other tribes but also on their dietary practices; always eating what God ‘allowed’. Further, food and religion adversely impacted gender by sanctioning women on the roles they could perform. Currently, this notion has been changed by the fact that women have taken control of the kitchen, thus gaining access to the most demeaning feature in their aspirations, (pg. 45-49).

In essence, religion has played a role as a sacred feature of life. In a Christian church setting, a holy place segregated from the rest of the members is set for the ‘chosen few. Since Jesus’ times, the altars serve when religious doctrinal practices such as The Last Supper are conducted. Although a pulpit has taken its place in the current church setting, it is where the ‘food’ is ‘served’ in form of sermons to the ‘sheep’, (Mead and Hill, pg. 70). Alternatively, the religious practice of fasting to denote sacrifice intertwines the aspects of food and religion. This complex disciplined denial of food emboldens the individual’s holy connection with God. Ironically, the origin of sin is founded on the eating of the ‘forbidden fruit’. In retrospect, the sacrificial ‘Lamb of God’ in Jesus on the Cross restores the God-son relationship that existed prior to the sin at the Garden of Eden. The fact that the revelation of death and life was ‘food-based’ the importance of diet supersedes other doctrines as appertains to life, both in the Bible and in our lives. This is clarified more by the creation story, whereby God upon creating every other creature molded Adam from mud and gave life to his body via his mouth. This would systematically be equated to the medical resuscitation administered to a patient that has fainted or lost consciousness, (Neusner, Avery & Green, pg. 56-58).

Emotionally, various instances of religious cleansing involve the ritualistic connotations that power is tested, smelt, or even transmitted from the performer to the afflicted party. This in effect strengthens the belief in the practice, thus presenting a healed person from the perceived afflictions one was suffering from. Similarly, the ability to desire and feel hunger for food adheres to the same principle, thus uniting the two concepts. In the current times, however, there is a diminishing conception that food influences the diet. An example is the annual Thanksgiving ceremonies are evident in the sacrificial fowl and fruits that have for ages remained on the menu. Efforts to alter these elements have been received with stern reaction worthy of communal ex-communication in the biblical times, (Neusner, Avery & Green, pg. 70-75).

In summary, it has been deduced by scholars that religion provides man with aspects or sacred practices through sacrificing, serving and eating. Although the identity that food grants to Christians may not be highly esteemed, their keen faithfulness to religious practices and acknowledgment is nevertheless overlooked.

Work cited

Mead, F.S., and Hill, S. S. Handbook of Denominations in the United States. (11th ed.). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 2001, pg. 12-70

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Neusner, J., Avery-Peck, A.J., & Green, W.S. (Eds.). The Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York: Continuum, 1999, pg. 56-75

Werblowsky, R.J.Z., & Wigoder, G. (Eds.). The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, pg. 45-49

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