People use the phrases “gluttony” and “greed” when discussing others who regularly commit sins that derive from an insatiable desire for excess.
Both gluttony and greed fall on the list of “seven deadly sins,” a list many people reference when talking about wrongdoings, and they both involve selfish inclinations.
How do you differentiate between gluttony and greed, and what do you do when you notice gluttonous or greedy behavior?
The Difference Between Gluttony And Greed
The fundamental distinction between gluttony and greed is that gluttony refers to a lack of self-control regarding food and drink.
In contrast, greed refers to an excessive desire for money and material possessions.
While all people enjoy food and material possessions, the pleasure turns iniquitous when it crosses over the line of overindulgence to the point of theft, neglect, or a complete lack of regard for a person’s earthly vessel.
Both gluttony and greed are corporal sins, meaning they are sins of the flesh as opposed to the spirit.
Some people consider gluttony a subset of greed, and the definitions overlap in many ways, making it common for people to talk about the two sins simultaneously.
We all need to eat to provide the body with nutrients, but some people eat to the point of wastefulness to appease a need for physical satisfaction.
Gluttony comes in multiple different forms.
It not only means overeating food but also compulsively obsessing over food, spending too much on grossly overpriced food, and eating too quickly.
Sometimes people eat so much that they don’t have energy, meaning that gluttony often goes hand in hand with sloth.
Is someone necessarily gluttonous if they eat more than most others?
Many people have different eating habits due to upbringing, location, and genetics, and everyone deserves to enjoy food in their way.
People cross the line into gluttonous when:
- Food costs make up too much of the family budget
- Eating someone else’s share of food
- Neglecting responsibilities to satisfy hunger
Many people believe that money, or greed, is the root of all evil.
Greed means craving items for oneself, despite who else may have a right to claim an object or a portion of a sum of money.
It also involves a desire to have more than others, making it closely aligned to envy and pride as well.
The problem occurs when someone’s greed becomes insatiable so that they commit grave sins.
Due to greed, people may choose to steal and even murder others to get the things they want or hoard their items from those in need.
Is someone greedy if they don’t act on their impulses?
By definition, the person described is indeed greedy since they feel the greed inside of them.
However, demonstrating self-restraint shows that the person is attempting to change.
Eventually, they may be able to change their mindset as well.
Seven Deadly Sins
Dante widely introduced people to the seven deadly sins in his influential epic poem The Divine Comedy (not the Bible).
These seven categories identify the carnal desires that cause humans to sin.
In the epic poem, Dante takes us through the seven circles of hell.
Each circle of hell connects to a particular sin, with the vices and punishments getting worse and worse each as they go through each level of hell.
The seven deadly sins are (in the order of The Divine Comedy):
- Lust: sexual impulses
- Gluttony: hunger for excessive amounts of food and alcohol
- Greed: monetary aspirations
- Sloth: penchant for laziness
- Wrath: the impulse toward anger and violence
- Envy: pining for the belongings/happiness of others
- Pride: selfishness and narcissism that leads to the other deadly sins
Seven Deadly Sins Vs. Ten Commandments
The seven deadly sins have many similarities to the Ten Commandments found in the Bible.
The main difference is that the Ten Commandments come from the Bible, considered by some to possess the word of God, and the seven deadly sins developed as a result of human theological study and literature.
Additionally, the seven deadly sins refer to desires, while the commandments refer to actions.
Gluttony And Mental Disorders
Gluttonous behavior can indicate a severe mental disorder as opposed to evilness.
Some mental disorders connected to gluttony include eating disorders and self-destructive behavior.
Gluttony And Eating Disorders
Binge-eating is an eating disorder in people who eat far too much so that it affects the person’s physical and mental health.
Most people who suffer from a binge eating disorder fit into the category of “obese,” but some people can binge eat without gaining noticeable amounts of weight, which can still stress the heart and morale.
Some people binge-eat to comfort themselves from invisible pain to a point where it becomes an eating disorder, and some people can even become addicted to food.
Gluttony And Self-Harm
People with a personality disorder may overeat as a form of self-harm.
When someone needs to lose weight for their own health, and they continue to eat, it shows that the person put themselves through serious self-harm, illogically sabotaging their own health and demonstrating a possible lack of will to live.
Most people who self-harm do it as a cry for help due to debilitating emotional turmoil.
Greed And Mental Disorders
Greed And Anxiety
Chasing after money and committing robbery gets nerve-wracking.
That’s why many people who experience greed also experience high levels of stress and anxiety.
Experts also say that worry and greed result in similar effects on a person’s life.
Greed And Narcissism
Narcissism refers to people who put themselves first and fail to empathize with the other people around them.
Narcissists want to enjoy everything for themselves and not share it with others, including money and power.
If they see someone doing better than them, they become greedy for more items since they need to have the biggest and best compared to everyone else.
Consequences Of Gluttony
Obviously, the biggest consequence of gluttony is weight gain.
In America, we suffer from abnormally high obesity rates compared to the rest of the world.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control found that over 40% of Americans were obese from 2017–2018.
Obesity can lead to:
- Heart disease
Decreased Self Esteem
If someone blows up in weight, it can make them feel insecure about themselves.
They probably don’t like how they feel, and even worse, the self-loathing turns into a deepening cycle that causes the person to eat and then hate themselves even more.
Insecurity can then spill over from a person’s weight to other areas of their life, such as their career and personal life.
Depletion Of Resources
Every household only has so much food.
If someone eats more than their fair share, it can cost the entire family.
It can also take food or other resources from others in the household in order to pay for the food.
Consequences Of Greed
Greed can cause people to do bad things, such as robbery or fraud.
If caught, the person will experience very real consequences in the form of fines and even possible jail time.
After jail, many past felons find it difficult to find a new job to support their greed, making crime even more attractive.
This can lead to a life of crime and a downward spiral without much success along the way.
When a greedy person puts their needs above another person’s in an obscene way, it will cause a rift in the relationship.
Even formerly close relationships can become irretrievably damaged due to a person’s greed.
Many people who let greed guide them eventually allow the greed to fill the place where their empathy and warmth used to be.
Soon, greed can make someone unfeeling since they only understand gratification in the form of possessions.
Someone may eventually stop feeling remorse for the actions they take to satisfy their greed, no matter how badly it might have damaged someone else.
Ways To Control Gluttony
Start A Food Journal
While you may not like to see it written out on paper at first, a food journal will force you to explore your eating habits and recognize patterns.
Start by honestly writing down what you eat each day, how much you eat, and the time you eat.
You should also make a note of your self-control goals and any additional details in the notes, such as your feelings and medical reasons your hormones may crave certain foods.
Enlist Professional Help
A team of people who work in nutrition and medicine can help you get the best results compared to tackling weight loss entirely on your own.
A personal trainer can teach you about nutrition and exercise while also providing motivation.
A doctor can inform you about your current medical condition and what things you need to focus on the most.
A therapist can help you overcome the emotional causes of overeating.
Get rid of junk food at home and at the office to remove temptation.
You can also avoid fast-food restaurants and other places known for particularly fattening food.
Ask the people in your life to help you to achieve your goals by asking them to also reduce as much temptation as possible when they are around you.
Ways To Control Greed
Give Up Control Over Finances
If you focus on your personal finances more than what is healthy, try giving up control of those finances to someone else, such as a spouse.
With someone else in control, you won’t have constant reminders about your money, and you may start to focus on the other things around you.
Of course, not all people have the ability to relinquish control.
Force Yourself To Act Charitably
Pick a charity and regularly volunteer.
While you can always write a check, it’s best to put in the time and volunteer for your organization of choice.
Take some time to really dive deep into your own soul to learn what makes you feel the need to put yourself before others through meditation, artistic expression, and exploring nature.
As you develop a relationship with yourself, you will better understand your place in the universe and the connection among all humanity.
Pop Culture Examples Of Greed
Veruca Salt—Willy Wonka
Veruca Salt is a spoiled brat who forces her father to fetch her every desire, including a trip to the chocolate factory and a Golden Goose, which ultimately led to her demise.
Jordan Belfort—Wolf of Wall Street
Jordan Belfort used his greed to scam investors into giving him money for penny stocks without properly informing them about the trade.
Ebenezer Scrooge—A Christmas Carol
Scrooge is so greedy that he ruins Christmas for his employees and made his name in history as the ultimate party killer.
Pop Culture Examples Of Gluttony
Augustus Gloop—Willy Wonka
Obese Augustus Gloop from Germany constantly eats chocolate and other candy as much as possible with a seemingly insatiable appetite.
Homer Simpson—The Simpsons
While an undeniably charming and relatable character, one can argue that his passion for gorging on donuts and drinking far too much beer is a perfect example of gluttony.
This documentary follows the creator as he eats McDonald’s for 90 days straight to see exactly what it does to the bodies of all of the Americans who rely solely on fast food for nourishment.
Gluttony is when someone cannot control their eating habits, and greed is when a person puts their own monetary ambitions above the needs of others.
We all eat and spend money, but it turns sinful when people make intentional decisions to sin to appease these cravings.
However, sometimes people who commit these sins have mental illness rather than complete evilness.
These two of the seven deadly sins have very serious consequences here on earth, despite what one might believe about what happens in the afterlife, so anyone who notices themselves committing these sins should work to correct their behavior and thinking patterns.