Question

From a religious perspective how do you relate to eating and drinking?

David Arnow Jewish

In the story of creation God has fashioned everything humanity will consume. So it’s not surprising that among God’s first communications to Adam and Eve come rules about eating. Judaism’s approach to food begins with gratitude, humility and a sense of control. As the Talmud says, one is forbidden to enjoy anything without first reciting a blessing that acknowledges God’s bounty.* But it’s so easy to take it all for granted. Complex though they are, Judaism’s dietary laws can help to reinforce this fragile sense of mindfulness about how and what we eat. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that it holds . . .” (Psalms 24:1).

Mary C. Boys Christian

Given how essential food and drink are to human survival, their significance in religious imagination and practice is unsurprising. Much of Jesus’ teaching takes place “at table.” The gospels also provide accounts of his feeding thousands of people at a time with a few loaves and fish, yet he also teaches that “one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”* Paul’s letters discuss controversies about how members of the early church should treat one another when they gather to eat and drink. The Eucharist, the community meal of Christians that developed out of the Last Supper, is a sharing of bread and wine in memory of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Muhammad Shafiq Muslim

All deeds and actions of a Muslim are part of worship in Islam. Even the act of eating and drinking is an act of worship when the Islamic requirements of Halal (allowed) and Haram (forbidden) are observed. The Qur’an stresses the importance of healthy eating, a balanced diet and hygiene. Muslims are allowed to eat what is good and lawful, what is pure, clean, wholesome, nourishing and pleasing to the taste (Qur’an 2:168). The Qur’an constantly reminds Muslims to eat and drink, but waste not in extravagance. Certainly God does not like those who waste in extravagance (7:31). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) promoted clean and healthy eating habits among his followers. He asked his companions to wash their hands before and after eating. He also taught to eat with the name of God and end eating by praising Him. Eat using the right hand, but do not eat until you truly are hungry and do not eat and drink excessively. He preferred the hungry to eat first while he would be the last to eat, though he himself would be very hungry. He advised Muslims to continue this practice.

Note: Translation of the Qur’anic verses and many of the Hadith translation with references were taken from Islamicity.com; some translations of and references to the Hadith were taken from ahadith.co.uk.

3 responses to “From a religious perspective how do you relate to eating and drinking?”

  1. Marie Devine says:

    From Marie Devine, via LinkedIn •

    I fast on the Day of Atonement and when I think my eating is getting out
    of control, I may do an extended total fast. I adhere to God’s dietary
    laws in Leviticus 11 and guidance or words of wisdom regarding limiting
    meats only to time of necessity. I adhere mostly to God’s guidance on
    fasts in Isaiah 58.

    I was raised in a restaurant family so portions are where I must get
    better control; it is lust of the flesh that I have overcome greatly;
    but I still would like improvement. I command excess fat and water to
    be out of my body. I drink no alcohol because I do not need a cloudy
    mind as I bring God’s truths to others.

  2. Orai Fukikawa says:

    From ORAI FUJIKAWA, via LInkedIn •

    In our Buddhist tradition we eat and drink whatever prepared and given
    to us by the people who host the dinner. We accept their kindness with
    appreciation. Therefore we have no regulation about what we drink and
    eat. For myself as a Buddhist minister I drink sake, beer, whiskey
    moderately and eat meat as well as vegetables with appreciation. At home
    I try not to eat much meat and much drink.

  3. Yanina Vashchenko says:

    From Yanina Vashchenko via LinkedIn •

    Though there are some religious rules about abstaining from certain
    foods and drinks in my religion, I sometimes see these rules as pushing
    me away from others. It is hard to get along with others when you have
    to constantly explain your religious rules to them and abstain from
    certain foods they prepare/eat. The solution is to stick to being with
    people who believe like you do, but that is impossible and unappealing.

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