I know about the verse that says you should treat your body as the “Temple” so that verse would be prohibiting smoking. A lot of Christians believe and state that believers will smoke will “go to Hell.” Are there any beliefs that state that? If so, what are the verses in the Bible that completely forbid it?
That verse is completely divorced from its context when it is used by fundamentalists to prohibit smoking and/or alcohol use. Granted, smoking is not good for your health and I suppose that’s reason enough to stay away from it without threatening the fires of hell for it.
However, the verse in question is addressing sexual immorality, NOT unhealthy behaviors.
I understand that using drink to the point of getting a hangover is a mortal sin and seeking help for alcoholism is advised by the Church so wouldn’t smoking tobacco be the same, as you poison the air for yourself and others and many non smokers die of second hand smoke so every time a smoker lit up it would be a mortal sin. wouldn’t they be required to seek help for their addiction Ps I remember lots of clergy and school teachers smoking and I feel it is just as dangerous as alcohol.
I see an important danger in both smoking and drinking would be falling in to idolatry - as I can attest as a former smoker, you can find yourself arranging your life (including participating in church events!) around your need to smoke. Your addiction is your idol.
Just to be clear, drinking alcohol to the point of getting a hangover would likely constitute drinking to an irrational excess and so would be a sin. However, if I’m not mistaken this sin would ordinarily be venial unless the person became so drunk that they might commit a grave sin they otherwise would never have committed, or if some other grave element (perhaps seriously endangering the life of others through drinking and driving) were added into the situation.
As for tobacco, that’s a difficult question since there was no tobacco smoking in Christendom until about 500 years ago, and little understanding of the real dangers of it until the last half century or so. I would say that smoking enough to statistically be a serious danger to your health (which most cigarette smokers do, but not most cigar and pipe smokers I think) would be a very serious sin, maybe even mortal if it were bad enough.
Whether smoking of any form is a sin is hard to say. One could easily make an argument from the classic explanations of gluttony (the same explanations that would forbid condiments, for example, since they are used purely for enjoyment and not for nutritional value) that smoking of any form is gluttonous and thus a sin. However, the general practice of the Church up to this point has not reflected this ethic, so I am unsure.
Unlike consumption of small amounts of alcohol, smoking in any amount is bad for your health. Whether it is a sin or not is a different matter. To abuse alcohol, or tobacco, is a sin though. See CCC, especially paragraph 2290 below:
*Respect for health
2288 Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.
Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.
2289 If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for it’s sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports. By its selective preference of the strong over the weak, such a conception can lead to the perversion of human relationships.
2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.
2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law. *
The following verse really made me think very deeply as a young man. I don’t know if I have it word perfect here, but this is it as I remember.
“That by which you are overcome, of the same also are you the slave”
2 Cor 13:13
I like that Steady… thanks!
I think we should look at this subject wholistically. Will smoking a cigarette send you to hell? No. However, there is an issue of dependence that always comes into play when someone smokes. One of the spiritual fruits is self-control, so how can we conquer evil in our lives if we can’t overcome some rolled-up tobacco? What kind of signals might we be sending to non-believers who hear us say that Jesus is the center of our lives and the fulfillment of all our desires,yet we are bound up by a habit that is not only addictive but is physically destructive to our health? “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” ~ Galatians 5:1.
Sin is actually very easy to define in an empirical sense. Anything that hurts others, hurts yourself, or hurts your relationship with God is a sin. Now whether a particular behavior falls into mortal or venial is another matter entirely, and is ultimately only determined by God.
Objectively speaking, smoking cigarettes is a sin, unless you have been living under a rock for the last 50 years.
You may mean something very right by this, but I think the statement could be subject to some serious misinterpretation. For example, fasting and mortification could be interpreted as harming oneself, yet unless done to excess or in the wrong spirit they are good things, not sinful (granted, you could say that on a holistic level they are helpful not harmful to yourself; I’m just pointing out a potential point of misinterpretation). Also killing another person in war is undeniably hurting another person, yet depending on circumstance this could be not only non-sinful but heroically virtuous.
If we are looking for a raw, simplified criterion for sin it would be that sin is a choice to do what one knows to be irrational. Of course this too can be subject to misinterpretation as cold, Spock-like logic, and so we must remember that reason is the sum total of our personal perception of truth, and that it can often be determined by very personal situations. Our truest reason can in some cases speak through our “heart” more than our head, particularly when we are trying to deceive ourselves in our conscious thoughts.
Now whether a particular behavior falls into mortal or venial is another matter entirely, and is ultimately only determined by God.
It is true that God is the ultimate judge of our sins and perhaps this is all you meant, but remember that He judges based on objective criteria: the nature of the act itself (is it grave matter?), the knowledge the person who committed the act had of its sinful nature, and the degree of consent of the will the person gave to the action. Your statement could be interpreted as saying that morality, or at least the relative gravity of different sins, is ultimately based purely on the sovereign decisions God and not on reason, which would be a rather serious error.
I was told by an evangelical Pastor that Christians who smoke will not only get to heaven, but they will probably get their much quicker than those who don’t Get it!
I dont think there is any verse that prohibits smoking. Health being a good thing we should pursue it. People make strong claims like smoking always damages your health. I’m not sure what that really means. If I smoke only one cigarette I’ll probably live just as long as I would have if I had never smoked. I could say sugar is never good for you. I think that would be just as valid as smoking never being good for you. Yet I doubt most people are going to give up strawberries or oranges let alone cookies, cake, candy, and ice cream.
It is funny, the anti-smoking people are always complaining about how tobacco products are supposedly designed to look like candy to attract kids. Um, isn’t candy bad for you? What terrible parents are buying candy for their kids, forming a candy habit, so that they can later be deceived into smoking?
Looking at all the morbidly obese Americans I always think more people should smoke to stay thin. Anyway, smoking has bad health consequences and is addictive. Ideally it should be done in moderation. There are plenty of areas we need to behave better and given the general knowledge of the dangers of smoking and decreased amount of it I’d worry about other bad habits that people ignore completely.
I am in total agreement with everything you say. Thanks for clarifying for me. I was trying to keep it concise because I have a tendency to be overly verbose at times.
I give those criteria as the gauge of sinful behavior because sin will ultimately result in at least one of those three things. And phrasing it as such helps illustrate that not only does it not take a PhD in Theology to be able to figure out whether or not something is sinful, but also by phrasing it that simply, it minimizes the latitude someone (i.e. ME) would otherwise have to try to rationalize something from mortal to venial, or even rationalize it to the point that they believe they have no personal culpability due to circumstance.
You may want to step back and ask yourself this…must I see a specific Bible verse to understand a specific issue like smoking?..when I was a child, I spoke as a child…you know the gig…so do this…spend some time on the internet and see what tobacco is good for…
Tobacco is a natural insecticide…search that topic ie Tobacco Natural Insecticide…
Animals do not eat tobacco…search that topic
Now once you have convinced yourself that Tobacco is a natural insecticide and that no mammal eats tobacco…the smartest of these the Orangatang does not eat tobacco…
Then convince yourself that you were made in the image and likeness of God…Love God…Love neighbor…you have to love yourself before you love neighbor…
Now if you love your neighbor, would you feed them an insecticide? If you love yourself would you smoke an insecticide that kills insects naturally and Orangatangs will not eat…since you were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and take dominion over the beasts…can’t do that if your smoking the stuff that they know is poison.
Would it be safe to say that you now have all the Scripture you need to stop smoking?
I had a strongly Catholic aunt (by marriage) who smoked. In the end, she got lung cancer and it killed her.
But I used to joke she’d wouldn’t be able to get any closer than four metres to the Pearly Gates when she died, in line with a law we’ve got over here.
While I think smoking is a mug’s game, at the same time I’m reminded of the scene in Robocop when he goes haywire. He ignores a mugging, walks right past an old lady being dragged off to a lane, doesn’t even notice a bank robbery, but then paints a smoker with an outline of bullets.
Sometimes the anti-smoking trend seems a bit like that to me.
Do you think Robocop would have agreed with my post?
When he went haywire, yes.
As for myself, as I said, I think it’s a mug’s game, from the point of view of the smoker’s health, finances, and imposition on other people in enclosed spaces.
I don’t have any sympathy for the tobacco companies, but at the same time there’s a lot of hypocrisy in society. Over here you can be paid via Medicare to kill your own unborn child, but when a notorious hitman was murdered in jail a few months ago, there was a call for a parliamentary inquiry into his death, which would have cost thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
For a hitman?
Okay, so I didn’t find any scripture directly against smoking, but I have heard that many people used to smoke because there were spiritual beliefs behind it. I wanted to view it from that angle. After all, Christians need to be careful of things that are related to the occult and such.
The article I read said that smoking originated as a religious practice.
“The history of smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BC, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world. Early smoking evolved in association with religious ceremonies; as offerings to deities, in cleansing rituals or to allow shamans and priests to alter their minds for purposes of divination or spiritual enlightenment. After the European exploration and conquest of the Americans, the practice of smoking tobacco quickly spread to the rest of the world. In regions like India and Subsaharan Africa, it merged with existing practices of smoking (mostly of cannabis). In Europe, it introduced a new type of social activity and a form of drug intake which previously had been unknown.”
It specifically says here that smoking was used as a form of divination. So I NEED to quit, and not only for my physical health. Thanks for you help though.