Friday, August 30, 2013

A Biblical Defense: Fast Food

As Christians become more and more disenchanted with the world--the state, the corporation, and the popular--they are tending more and more to demonize things which scripture does not. For many believers, things like Wal-Mart, JP Morgan Chase, and McDonalds have become as sin to them. I would like to focus on one particular demonized area of what American Christianity is popularly appealing to as "the world"--fast food. How many Christians do you know think that, for some reason or another, fast food is not to be eaten by Christians? The majority of them think, at the very least, that there is no good reason to eat fast food. I think there are at least three good reasons for believers to eat "fast food". Here are three benefits:
·        You can spend more time with your family and other believers.
·        You receive nutrition.
·        You maintain or create jobs for believers or both.

By eating fast food you can be better enabled to spend time with those who you are called to love. Certainly, it was not the intent of those who started the fast food movement for you to have more time to obey the Great Command. It is more likely that they were hoping to make a profit because of man’s greed and desire to covet that great resource called time. However, it is still a great benefit to the believer to be blessed with such a resource. So, if eating fast food can help you save time you, as a believer, get more time to love more.

Many would scoff at the idea that fast food is nutritious. If we are using the 21st century definition of the word nutritious then I must agree, in part. However, in this conversation we are looking at fast food in a biblical context. So, we must use the biblical definition of nutritious. There isn’t one? No, not explicitly. In fact the only biblical concept of health in the New Testament is that of being whole. As believers we are likely trying to be nutritious with the goal of being healthy. Since the biblical idea of being healthy is simply being whole, then what can we say about nutrition? How much of a role does nutrition play in us being whole? Not a lot. All we can really say is that we need nutrients throughout our day to keep us whole.

That nutrients can be found in any fast food is plainly obvious. It is an ontological fact that food contains nutrients. This stems from God’s being and from his intents of creation. We cannot get around it. Implicit in the name “fast food” is that it is food. If you are more scientifically minded you could conduct an experiment. Calculate the number of days it would take for you to die from eating no nutrients and then eat nothing but fast food for that number of days. If you do not die, then it is very, very likely that fast food is indeed food. I think we can all agree that God created food in order to sustain his living creation. That is part of the teleology of food. Fast food also meets this criterion.

Relatively speaking, in a biblical context, fast food is nutritious, as well as healthy. Of course, we are not fools. We know that there are different nutrients found in different foods. Therefore, in order to be whole we need to be eating a balanced diet and not a 21st century healthy diet. Given these things, then, we can benefit by eating fast food – it is food – because it keeps us healthy and allows us to care for God’s creation and, in some sense, his Temple.

The most obvious – and the most overlooked – benefit of eating fast food is that you are sending your money into the bank account of other believers. In fact, by abstaining from all fast food restaurants you are in return boycotting them. If you have seen the scenes of lines around Chick-fil-A restaurants because of the outpouring of Christians, then you know what I am talking about. The Chick-fil-A phenomenon is an opposite inverse of what happens when thousands of Christians decide that eating fast food is akin to sin. While we may want to keep our money out of the hands of monstrous (in size not in corruption) corporations we must remember and balance the fact that many believers are employed by these corporations. So, we should not hesitate but look forward to helping create the paychecks of our brothers and sisters.

You may have started reading this article because of its silly title, but I did not write it to be silly. I wrote this in the hope that I might encourage true believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ to think about even the small and seemingly silly things in the world and in their life through a biblical context and not a worldly one.