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Is Smoking A Sin?

I don’t smoke. That’s for sure. I don’t even like being around with people smoking. It suffocates me.

Smoking is harmful to one's own body and causes harm to the bodies of others. The government warning, “Smoking is dangerous to your health”, is posted in places where people most likely smoke. It is even written in bold letters on every pack of cigarettes. But still, people smoke.

I remember my father who told me and my brothers that it is ok for us to drink but not smoke. He told us not to follow him. He is a smoker and he found it difficult to quit. There were successful attempts. The only one I can clearly remember was when he joined a catholic religious group, but it didn’t last long. For us who haven’t started it, according to him, better not start.

He was so strict to us when it comes to smoking. I remember when I was about 7 years old, he caught me smoking with my friends. He made me kneel down on a bed of salt. That was the last time I tried smoking.

Among Christian groups, smoking is an ongoing debate among other things. But many believe that it is a sin. Most often quoted verse in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 6:19.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
What do you believe about smoking? Is smoking a sin?

Here in the Philippines, very few Christians smoke compared to those who don’t but in other countries the percentage maybe more. I was taught that it is a sin based on these simple arguments:
  • Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, so be careful what we put in our bodies.
  • God provides our finances and we are told to use them carefully.
  • For some people this is a real stumbling block and we knew what Jesus said about being a stumbling block to others.
But these arguments have other sides to them. On first argument, it is true that our bodies are temple of the Holy Spirit and we must take care of it. But, what’s the difference between smoking and gorging ourselves with any unhealthy food (junk foods)? Smoking has many harmful effects, and so does overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food. Coffee also is addictive and has harmful effects. There are even more people addicted to caffeine than to nicotine but we don’t treat coffee drinkers as sinners.

The second argument about money is also true, God provides us money, but oftentimes we use it to buy other unnecessary things and yet we don’t consider them as bad as buying cigarettes.

For the third one, we only become stumbling block because not everybody is doing it.

The three arguments used against smoking are quite inconsistent. Although the logic is clear, but they seem to fail when they are extended to the rest of the Christian life. Another thing for sure, I cannot tell the person’s spiritual condition by the fact the person smokes.

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