Thursday, January 15, 2009

"That their fasting may be seen by others...."

Mark Olson on contrasting reasons for fasting:
I was recently reading about some protesters fasting in order to raise awareness for one cause or another.

It struck me that the secular left and the religious right have very different notions about fasting and its means and purpose.

Fasting for me and the tradition in which I am a member (Christian Orthodoxy) is a constant thing throughout the year. More than a third of the year is devoting to fasting. Fasting itself is a way to both develop spiritual discipline, apatheia, and to remind ourselves that this life and world are not the important thing. It is to help us turn ourselves and our attentions toward God. There are two modes of fasting, one fasts by restricting (or eliminating) food intake and the other is by restricting dietary choices. Public attention to this fasting is contrary to humility and is at cross purposes with why one is fasting and is, as much as is possible, to be avoided.

When the left fasts, it is more often to gain public notoriety to a cause. .... [more]

Pseudo-Polymath » Blog Archive » Fasting. Left and Right

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