Another Example of Modern Gnosticism
Medicalized gnosticism is, in any form, dangerous, because gnosticism is a heresy. Humans are not souls who happen to have bodies. God formed humans out of the dust of the ground and breathed into them the breath of life. Humans became living souls. To be human is to be physical and spiritual.
According to the CDC, 20% of American children are, by medical definition, obese. Recently, to combat this growing epidemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines that recommended behavioral and nutritional therapy for children as early as six years old and weight loss medications or even surgery for children as young as 13.
The new guidelines drew fire from two opposite directions. Some have referred to the guidelines as another example of the healthcare industry attempting to fix every physical problem with a medical solution rather than encouraging broader personal and social changes in lifestyle and food production. A very different (but just as strong) reaction came from advocates of what is called the “Fat Positivity” movement. Obesity, they argued, should not be stigmatized at all. Some advocates even claim that just acknowledging the behavioral factors behind obesity or the medical risks associated with being overweight is “fat-phobic” or “fat-shaming.”
Christians should immediately reject the ever-changing cultural standards of beauty that so often function as moral imperatives. We reject all cultural messages, whether implicit or explicit, that dehumanize those who are deemed rightly or wrongly as overweight. A Christian worldview unequivocally affirms that every human being, no matter their appearance, bears the image of God and therefore possesses an inherent and eternal dignity. The last several decades of Western culture, dominated by a consumerism that treats people as commodified means to an end, have been particularly dehumanizing in this regard. The unrealistic and unhealthy expectations that have been hoisted, especially on women, have caused great harm. Recent and more careful efforts in media and elsewhere to represent people with diverse physical characteristics have been important and helpful changes.