Does Jesus make you fat?
Does Jesus make you fat? Apparently so.
Here is an obesity map of the United States from the Centers for Disease Control. The darker the read the higher the percentage of obese residents in that state.
When I first saw the map it immediately struck me that the fat states are the Bible-belt states. Bible-believing Christians like to argue that the body is the temple of God. And they love megachurches so I guess it follows that they love megabodies as well.
Of course the red states in the fat map are also the “red states” on the political map since America has divided itself political on religious grounds with the Republicans being dominated by an American version of the Taliban and the Democrats being secularists for the most part. Libertarians were once proudly secular but these days one has to wonder.
Compare the fat map to the Jesusland USA map that was circulated after the last presidential election.
There is lots of overlap. Certainly the Bible-belt states tend to be the fat states. This is no surprise actually. The Bible-belt states tend to be dysfunctional is dozens of ways. They are more crime prone, less educated, have more poverty, more venereal disease, higher teen pregnancy rates, higher divorce rates, more homicides, shorter life spans, etc. See here,
I previously identified the most fundamentalist states in America as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Every one of these states have obesity levels exceeding 25% of the state’s population.
At the same time I identified the US states that were the least religious. Those were California, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Everyone of these “secular” states had obesity rates below 20%.
Religiosity and obesity seem to go together.
I don’t purport to prove that religion causes people to be fat. I actually don’t believe that. Nor do I think that religion causes them to have higher divorce rates, higher VD rates, higher crime rates, etc., even if all those connections are there. In reality I suspect that religion, and other forms of dysfunctional behaviors and attitudes, come from a common root: a lack of intelligence.
There is a clear correlation between crime rates and intelligence. The less intelligent people are more likely to commit crimes. But lower intelligence is positively correlated with all sorts of dysfunctional attitudes and actions. The reality is that people aren’t stupid because they are fundamentalists -- they tend to be fundamentalists because they are stupid. And this level of dumbth, as Steve Allen would describe it, is responsible for lots of other social problems. Dumb people tend to be fatter, more criminally prone, more likely to contract VD, more likely to have children out of marriage, more likely to be drug addicts, alcoholics or exhibit a myriad of social problems.