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Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Printable Version

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Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Bakuryokuso - 02-13-2011

sheep101, I think you're oversimplifying things. Smoking is not beneficial to the body and is certainly a luxury not a need. Not sure how you can compare this to childbirth. It'd be like saying kids shouldnt let their teeth come in because it hurts their gums.

Secondhand smoke can be worse for you since it's being breathed in without a filter. Evil tobacco companies have worked for decades to hide and distort evidence against smoking so I fear you're repeating their propaganda


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Grasshopper - 02-13-2011

(02-13-2011, 06:06 PM)Bakuryokuso Wrote: sheep101, I think you're oversimplifying things. Smoking is not beneficial to the body and is certainly a luxury not a need. Not sure how you can compare this to childbirth. It'd be like saying kids shouldnt let their teeth come in because it hurts their gums.

Secondhand smoke can be worse for you since it's being breathed in without a filter. Evil tobacco companies have worked for decades to hide and distort evidence against smoking so I fear you're repeating their propaganda

Bakuryokuso, I'm mostly on your side in this argument, but the "without a filter" line doesn't quite work. For one thing, a significant percentage of the secondhand smoke has gone through the cigarette's filter, and then in and out of the smoker's lungs -- so it has been "filtered" in several ways by the time anyone breathes it. Plus the smoker himself is breathing the same secondhand smoke as everyone else in the room -- in addition to what he's sucking directly into his lungs from the cigarette (and that smoke is much more concentrated than the secondhand smoke). So he is at a much higher risk of cancer (and all the other negative effects of smoking) than those who are breathing only the secondhand smoke.

Nevertheless, I don't know how anyone can claim that secondhand smoke isn't harmful at all. I don't need a scientific study to show me that breathing smoke is unhealthy -- that's a no-brainer. I have a friend who smokes, and I sometimes ride in his car or truck with him. Whenever he smokes in the car, I have trouble breathing and get a sore throat. I don't think that's just psychosomatic.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - hbelzak - 02-13-2011

No one has even come close to hitting the nail on the head. No one starts smoking to cause damage to the body. It all boils down to intention. You have to have the intention to harm to have it be a sin.
It would be a fault, just like biting your nails would be or any other bad habit.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - JayneK - 02-13-2011

(02-13-2011, 06:00 PM)sheep101 Wrote: Why claim that smoking is not a sin?

answer: because it is not a sin

It is impossible to prove a negative the burden of proof is on you to prove that smoking is a
sin.

So, if an atheist were to turn up here telling us there is no God, he would not have any obligation to support this claim?  The burden of proof would be on us to show that God exists? I would not accept that.  A person who makes a claim has an obligation to support it regardless if the claim is positive or negative.

(02-13-2011, 06:00 PM)sheep101 Wrote: Here is your argument:

Anything that damages the human body is a sin

smoking damages the human body

therefore smoking is a sin

lets apply this argument to other cases:


Anything that damages the human body is a sin

Childbirth damages the human body

Therefore childbirth is a sin

Both arguments are valid, but they are not sound premise one must be wrong. Premise two in argument
one may be wrong as well if one smokes moderately, and even heavy smoking may be negligible to the
overall health of some individuals. Chesterton argued against those who said that smoking serves no good purpose his
arguments are just as valid today as they were then. He was arguing against the neo-Puritan attitude that has been displayed
on this thread that pleasure without a purpose is bad. :smokin:

By the way second hand smoke being a significant danger is bogus pseudo science. Just think about this
smokers get cancer after directly inhaling thousands of cigarettes, it usually takes about thirty years of
heavy smoking to start lung cancer, person who smoked a pack a day for 30 years would have smoked
216000(360x20x30) cigarettes the amount of smoke inhaled by a person from secondhand smoke is negligible
compared to this.

You have incorrectly stated my first premise.  It is a principle in Catholic morality that it is wrong to harm oneself *without proportionate reason*.  In childbirth, one risks harm to oneself in order to bring new life into the world and to obey a direct command of God "Be fruitful and multiply."  This reason justifies risking harming oneself.  Similarly, the soldier who undertakes a mission which means almost certain death in order to protect his comrades and serve his country has a proportionate reason to risk harming himself. It is theoretically possible for smoking to be justified when there is a proportionate reason.  For example, a person who had a medical condition that was not responding to other treatment and might be improved by smoking would have a proportionate reason.  "Smoking feels good" is not a proportionate reason to harm oneself.  Pleasure without purpose is not necessarily bad, but it is in cases when the pleasure is causing harm to oneself or others.

It may be possible to smoke so little that the health risks are negligible.  My impression that this amount of smoking is not what most people mean when they claim that they are moderate smokers.  What the term seems to mean is that the person knows someone who smokes more than himself.  While there do seem to be people who smoke a great deal without harming themselves, there does not seem to be any way to identify these people in advance, so there are not grounds for smoking based on a claim that one belongs to this category.

What are your qualifications in medicine and science that allow you to proclaim as "bogus pseudo science" something said by the Surgeon General?  Why should I believe that this medical authority does not know what he is talking about but some random person on the Internet has the truth?


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - JayneK - 02-13-2011

(02-13-2011, 07:28 PM)hbelzak Wrote: No one has even come close to hitting the nail on the head. No one starts smoking to cause damage to the body. It all boils down to intention. You have to have the intention to harm to have it be a sin.
It would be a fault, just like biting your nails would be or any other bad habit.

In this culture most people start smoking with the knowledge that it is harmful and unhealthy.  They make the decision to smoke because the perceived reward of smoking is more important to them than avoiding harm to the body.  Within Catholic morality direct intention to harm is not needed for an act to be sinful.  The Catholic Encyclopedia article on sin explains:
In every sinful act two things must be considered, the substance of the act and the want of rectitude or conformity (St. Thomas, I-II:72:1). The act is something positive. The sinner intends here and now to act in some determined matter, inordinately electing that particular good in defiance of God's law and the dictates of right reason. The deformity is not directly intended, nor is it involved in the act so far as this is physical, but in the act as coming from the will which has power over its acts and is capable of choosing this or that particular good contained within the scope of its adequate object, i.e. universal good (St. Thomas, "De malo", Q. 3, a. 2, ad 2um).


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - JacafamalaRedux - 02-13-2011

Anything in excess is bad, granted. But life in general puts wear on the body. A cigarette now and then isn't sinful.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Bakuryokuso - 02-13-2011

to me, the danger of nicotine addiction is so great... why would you risk falling prey to it by having only a cigarette now and then? Do many people actually do that, have one cigarette a week?


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Petertherock - 02-13-2011

The danger of suicide and homicide with depression is very great. Tobacco helps relieve these symptoms. Therefore, smoking does some people good...the benefits outweigh the risks.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - SouthpawLink - 02-13-2011

JayneK Wrote:So, if an atheist were to turn up here telling us there is no God, he would not have any obligation to support this claim?  The burden of proof would be on us to show that God exists? I would not accept that.  A person who makes a claim has an obligation to support it regardless if the claim is positive or negative.

The atheist would have to argue that the universe does not need a creator in order for it to exist.  The other side of the coin would be for him to show our arguments to be unreasonable/untenable.

You have contended that smoking is a sin (if not inherently so).  I do appreciate your argument from reason (without conceding that it is true), but it would be even better if you could show who, how many and how firmly the Church's prelates have condemned smoking.  It would be nice to see in what manner the Church has authoritatively spoken out against smoking.

"Immoderate indulgence in food or drink is only a venial sin even though one foresees that he will thereby shorten his life to some extent" (Jone, Moral Theology, sec. 208, IV, p. 135).  The use of narcotics in small quantities and only occasionally is justified for a proportionately good reason, such as to calm the nerves (cf. sec. 110, p. 57).

I'll edit this post if I find anything else concerning the subject.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - hbelzak - 02-13-2011

Most Catholics born and raised now don’t start smoking.  It is extremely addictive to certain people who tried it just to see what it was like and had no intention to continue, (so thus from what I have read from your last post would likely not be sin in your eyes), but find it impossible to stop. Now by no means dose it not obligate one to stop, no, that would be plan stupidity. The main reason the Church has not spoken against it is because it is not always a sin. To say it is sin it would always be a sin and that is just not the case it varies
It can be brought to the level of a sin buy taking it in to exes thought, and what that is can be contested and chang from person to person.