A black and white photo captures a closed book atop a dusty shelf, symbolizing the forbidden knowledge and the limitation on exploring other religious texts in Christianity.

What Is Forbidden In Christianity: A Complete Guide

Christianity has shaped societies and cultures for over 2000 years. As one of the world’s major religions, it comes with many rules on how to live a holy life. This naturally leads people to ask: what exactly is forbidden in Christianity?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The main things explicitly forbidden in Christianity are idolatry, murder, theft, adultery, sexual immorality, lust, greed, slander, and witchcraft. However, there are many other subtle ways a Christian can sin against God’s laws.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take a deep dive into all the major categories of prohibitions in Christianity, including the 10 Commandments, the 7 Deadly Sins, and other key issues like divorce, tattoos, and fortune telling.

With over 50 examples of forbidden practices, this article will give you a thorough understanding of Christian morality and ethics.

The 10 Commandments

Do not worship false idols

This commandment forbids the worship of idols, images, or objects as divine. It emphasizes that God is the only god and no objects, animals, or other gods should be worshipped above Him (Exodus 20:3-6).

This includes pagan gods or practices like fortune-telling, tarot cards, Ouija boards, charms, omens, etc. Christians should rely on God rather than superstitions. Violating this risks punishment or tragedy for generations.

Do not take the Lord’s name in vain

Using the Lord’s name improperly, casually, or irreverently is prohibited. This includes swearing, blasphemy, or disrespect toward God (Exodus 20:7). Saying things like “Oh my God!” or using His name as a curse word is forbidden. Christians should speak of God respectfully and praise His holy name.

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy

God commands His followers to dedicate the Sabbath (Sunday) as a day of rest, worship, and refraining from work (Exodus 20:8-11). This allows people to focus on God, recharge spiritually, and spend time with family. Working, shopping, or pursuing worldly things on Sundays goes against this.

Christians should prioritize church services, prayer, Bible study, and quality time on the Lord’s Day.

Honor your father and mother

Children must show respect, obedience, and care for their parents. Even adults should continue honoring their parents by caring for them in old age (Exodus 20:12). Disrespecting parents in word or action breaks this commandment. Neglecting aging parents also violates it.

Honoring parents pleases God and often leads to prosperity and longevity.

Do not commit murder

Murder is forbidden in the 6th commandment (Exodus 20:13). This prohibition applies to physical killing but Jesus expanded it to forbid anger or insults that devalue human life (Matthew 5:21-26). Any thoughts or actions that harm others physically, emotionally, or spiritually violate this.

Christians must promote peace, reconciliation, and the sanctity of life from conception to death.

Do not commit adultery

Adultery, having intimate relations outside of marriage, is banned (Exodus 20:14). This applies to both physical acts and lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:27-28). Faithfulness and sexual purity are essential in marriage. Infidelity causes immense pain and damages trust.

Christians must guard their hearts and maintain fidelity within the marital covenant. Even pornography can violate this commandment.

Do not steal

Stealing another’s property is forbidden, whether through theft, deception, or not paying workers fairly (Exodus 20:15). Christians should work ethically, give to the needy, and trust God to provide. Some ways this commandment is commonly broken today include: pirating media, plagiarism, embezzlement, and withholding taxes.

Do not bear false witness against your neighbor

Lying, slander, and perjury against others is condemned by this commandment (Exodus 20:16). Christians must be honest and avoid deceit that ruins reputations. Gossip and spreading rumors violate this. Honesty builds trust and harmony; false witness causes discord and mistrust.

Always speak truthfully, constructively, and lovingly.

Do not covet your neighbor’s possessions

The final commandment forbids greed and envy of others’ property (Exodus 20:17). Desiring what your neighbor has breaks this, even if you never act on the covetousness. Christians should be content with what God has given them and not compare themselves to others.

Focus on gratitude to God and serving your neighbor in love.

The 7 Deadly Sins


Lust is having an intense desire, usually for sexual pleasure, that goes against God’s teachings. This includes fantasizing about inappropriate sexual behavior and participating in immoral sexual activities outside of marriage.

Though natural sexual desires themselves are not sinful, unrestrained lustful thoughts and objectification of others is considered morally wrong in Christianity.


Gluttony involves overindulging in food, drink, or wealth items to the point where it is wasteful and detrimental. Most Christian denominations teach that people should practice self-control and temperance regarding appetites and avoid living in decadence while others lack basic necessities.

For example, eating extravagantly or unnecessarily while others are starving would be viewed as morally wrong.


Greed refers to an excessive desire and pursuit of material possessions and wealth for their own sake. Though ambition and financial success are not inherently bad, valuing material riches over God and the well-being of others is considered a spiritual flaw in Christianity.

Greed often leads to dishonest business practices, corruption, indifference to the suffering of the poor, and supreme focus on acquiring more.


Sloth involves excessive laziness and reluctance to work. Most Christian traditions warn against wasting time and talents God has given, neglecting duties, and failing to spread the teachings of Christ out of lack of effort when one is capable.

However, rest for renewal and avoiding overwork are not considered morally wrong in moderation.


Wrath refers to extreme anger, rage, or vengefulness that causes one to sin. Though natural human anger itself is not held to be sinful in Christianity, uncontrolled fits of rage and violence against others, including verbal abuse, are condemned.

Additionally, Christians are called to forgive others freely, not bear grudges, and overcome evil with good.


Envy consists of resentment and sadness over the blessings, fortunes, qualities, or possessions of another. It stems from lack of contentment and comparing oneself to others. Though ambition, this devalues one’s own worth and uniqueness.

Envy often leads to gossip, criticism, lying, violence, and delight in the misfortune of those envied. It is especially spiritually dangerous because envy can be difficult to recognize in oneself.


Pride refers to excessive arrogance and undue confidence in one’s own abilities, paired with lack of humility. Though taking reasonable satisfaction in genuine accomplishments is not sin, believing oneself to be more righteous than others and failing to acknowledge one’s flaws with humility contradicts Christian values centered on the equality of human sinfulness and salvation through God’s grace.

Other Major Forbidden Practices

Idolatry and pagan rituals

Idolatry, defined as the worship of idols or false gods, is strictly prohibited in Christianity (Exodus 20:3-6). This includes pagan rituals like nature worship or casting spells, which are seen as forms of idolatry. Christians believe there is only one true God, and He alone is worthy of worship.

Engaging in spiritual practices from other religions would constitute betrayal of faith.

Fortune telling and occult practices

The Bible expressly forbids all kinds of occult arts like fortune telling, astrology, witchcraft, spiritism, and voodoo (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). These practices involve invocation of supernatural powers other than God, which goes against core Christian beliefs.

Some common forbidden activities include palm reading, tarot cards, ouija boards, seances, horoscopes, and consulting psychics or mediums.

Adultery and premarital sex

Adultery refers to having sexual relations outside marriage, which Christianity has always condemned (Exodus 20:14). Premarital sex is also considered sinful, as the Bible instructs people to refrain from sexual immorality and honor marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

The only sanctioned expression of sexuality is between husband and wife. Engaging casually in sex before or outside marriage is seen as cheapening the divine gift of physical intimacy.

Homosexual acts

Though modern societies are growing more accepting of LGBTQ relationships, most traditional Christian denominations still deem homosexual behavior and gay marriage as sinful, based on certain biblical passages (Romans 1:26-28).

However, views within Christianity are gradually shifting, with some churches allowing openly gay members and leaders. There is ongoing theological debate around this issue.

Divorce and remarriage

Jesus himself prohibits divorce except in cases of adultery (Matthew 19:3-9). Getting remarried after divorce is also controversial in Christianity. While some denominations allow remarriage, others believe marrying again after divorce constitutes adultery since the first marriage still spiritually exists in God’s eyes.

Annulments seek to invalidate or cancel the first marriage, but rules differ across churches.


Habitual drunkenness is denounced in both Old and New Testaments (Ephesians 5:18). While alcohol consumption in moderation is not forbidden, drinking in excess is treated as reckless behavior that impairs self-control and judgment. Drunkenness is also associated with other vices like gluttony.

Some Christian groups even practice total abstinence from alcohol.


Gambling, though popular as a form of entertainment, is morally questionable according to most Christian authorities. It can promote greed and enable addictive tendencies. Also, gambing relies purely on chance rather than honest work.

Motivations matter too – gambling with disposition for charity is seen less unfavorably than for pure self-gain. But in most cases, gambling violates Christian ethics and stewardship principles.


Interestingly, while Old Testament expressly prohibits tattoos (Leviticus 19:28), New Testament does not reinforce this ban. But some Christians still avoid tattoos to honor the moral-purity laws of ancient Israelite culture reflected in the Old Testament.

A few denominations take issue with the imagery in some tattoos they perceive as promoting counterculture values dissonant with Christianity. But overall, there are diverse views on whether tattoos are forbidden under the new covenant of Christ.


Abortion is perhaps the most controversial forbidden practice in modern Christianity with highly polarized stances across denominations and individuals. Catholicism completely condemns abortion from the moment of conception.

But most Protestant groups allow exceptions, like aborting pregnancies threatening the mother’s life. Generally though, Christianity favors protecting unborn life and advocates against elective abortions done for convenience or gender preferences.


Euthanasia, also known as assisted suicide, is terminally ill patients ending lives to avoid further suffering. While there is some debate around passive euthanasia (withholding treatment), active euthanasia (administering lethal medication) is unequivocally seen as incompatible with Christianity’s sanctity-of-life ethos.

Christians believe that life and death decisions belong to God, so humans should refrain from willfully ending any life including their own.


In summary, Christianity places many restrictions on moral behavior in order to align one’s life with holy scripture. The 10 Commandments and 7 Deadly Sins form the core set of prohibitions, covering sins like idolatry, murder, adultery, and greed.

However, the Bible contains many other subtle sins that Christians must avoid, like lust, slander, and witchcraft.

While these rules may seem restrictive to some, they are given by God out of love, to protect human dignity and lead people to salvation. By following biblical morality, Christians aim to pursue spiritual perfection and build God’s kingdom on earth.

Though impossible to avoid sin completely, awareness of Christianity’s main prohibitions is the first step to living a more Christ-like life.

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