I stumbled across this blog post today by Violetwisp. (Thanks for bringing this to my attention!) In it, the author points out a problematic proverb. For reasons unknown I usually avoid proverbs. They are incredibly boring (well, so is the rest of the bible, but these are boring even for the bible). So I hope you forgive me for not being familiar with this verse until this morning. I didn’t have time to properly put this verse into context, but I don’t think context matters with a verse like this.
The verse in question from the NRSVCE:
and put a knife to your throat
if you have a big appetite.
That’s Proverbs 23:2. In context Proverbs 23 appears to mean (summed up in its entirety) it’s not good to covet the wealthy. But still, the context could’ve been anything at all, and it wouldn’t change the meaning of this verse. If you’re fat, kill yourself.
I can already hear apologists (SOM is that you???) saying that this verse is allegorical or metaphorical. If we are overweight we should cut the sin of gluttony from our beings. Or even better: Don’t be a fat jerk when the rapture comes. God’s carrying you all the way to heaven. He would appreciate it if you lost some weight. So what? Who cares if this is allegorical?
Some people will read this verse and interpret it literally. They may feel that god would rather they be dead than fat. Indeed, all it takes is one literal interpretation for this verse to become a tragic consequence of religious belief. Even if they don’t take it 100% literally, they may still feel the shame of being overweight.
At best this verse is about fat shaming. At worst it condones suicide for people who eat more than they should (there goes most of the US).