Question to all faiths: What is "fasting" for?

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posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 07:15 AM
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I know, I could spend hours looking it up, but I'm asking YOU, ATSers...
as I was slowly awakening this morning... WHAT IS FASTING supposed to prove or do for a person's soul?

What is the point? Why is fasting an important ritual for the faithful? And by "fasting" I mean ALL traditions that call for withholding of nourishment at certain times, or certain foods on certain days (no meat on Friday, for example) or for certain days or seasons. (Lent and Ramadan come to mind).

I can't understand what it's supposed to accomplish. I honestly don't think any "God" would want people to go hungry on purpose. Does this have to do with some Bible/Torah/Kuranic passages?

I CAN understand how it can help to "cleanse" the system - the body - physiologically; prepare it for surgical proceedings, etc. - but I don't quite get the "crossover." Is it perhaps to test oneself? To show reverse appreciation for food? (God is Great, God is Good, Let us thank him for our Food - by his hand we all are Fed - Give us, Lord, our Daily Bread = our childhood at-table prayer)

So - in lieu of looking it up to find my own answers and "challenge" your beliefs; I want to hear from YOU, what it means to YOU, and if you choose, or not, to practice it...why? What have been your results in terms of outcomes?

Thanks for anyone who'd like to take the time to 'splain' me (explain it) what it's all about.

(I will have to be away for most of the morning after about an hour from now, but will check in when I get back home this afternoon)
edit on 9/17/13 by wildtimes because: change title for brevity




posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 07:38 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 
I am not sure of what sort of answer I could give but will only relate my experience with it... I had heard of the term but had never studied the how's and why's but one day when I was in a stuck mode (think of your PC locking up) ..I didn't know what to do or what to think .. I was living alone at the time and I would just sit there staring out the window ..The phone would ring ,I assumed it was work calling but for the first time in my life I just ignored it .This went on for two weeks all the while I hadn't eaten ..I am not sure that I even drank anything .I decided within myself to go to my doctor and see him ..He told me to eat something and gave me a note for work ..He refered me to a mental health worker and I visited him ..While there I noticed that every phone call that came in the shrink would say the same thing that he had said to me ...I knew then I wasn't crazy and never did go back ...I got back into the routine of life but eating was never a priority after that ..I will go days now without eating and I am in good shape ..I think it taught me there are more important things in life then food ....It also helped my prayer life ....peace



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 07:42 AM
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reply to post by the2ofusr1
 

Interesting! Yeah, I'm not much of an eater myself...only when I'm hungry, and I stop when I'm satisfied. I go probably several days a month on liquids only...

I really can't be bothered sometimes - it's such a hassle! Get it, prepare it, eat it, clean up...
I avoid junk food, and often just "nibble" - rather than having whole meals.

At restaurants, I notice the one meal served is ALWAYS a full day's worth - or even two or three days!

Thanks for your response. (I'm in good shape, too.)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 07:48 AM
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I always thought the process of Fasting(sex, food, etc etc) was to show that the person can "accomplish" a day without human materialistic or lust from interfering.

Its to show a resolution? conviction?



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:06 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 
I guess some people try eating healthy foods and go to lengths in making their claim ..I just try and avoid the junk stuff but will eat almost anything ...
edit on 17-9-2013 by the2ofusr1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:08 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


It is not about proving anything I don't think. To me the whole god thing is misunderstood as a being with wants and desires. god does not want. god does not want you to fast.

Basically the whole practice of bhuddism is about fasting from everything to be closer to enlightenment (god)..

Temptations and worldly pleasures bring you closer to Earth. It's your Body that wants food not you. The more you are in tune wit the spirit the less in tune you are with the Body. So pleasing the body brings you away from god.




posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:09 AM
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I think it is supposed to 'rest' your body and increase spiritual awareness.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Fasting teaches self control over the body's impulses. As one of the most basic of all human drives, its a very concrete expression of free will.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:42 AM
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wildtimes
I know, I could spend hours looking it up, but I'm asking YOU, ATSers...
as I was slowly awakening this morning... WHAT IS FASTING supposed to prove or do for a person's soul?

What is the point? Why is fasting an important ritual for the faithful? And by "fasting" I mean ALL traditions that call for withholding of nourishment at certain times, or certain foods on certain days (no meat on Friday, for example) or for certain days or seasons. (Lent and Ramadan come to mind).

I can't understand what it's supposed to accomplish. I honestly don't think any "God" would want people to go hungry on purpose. Does this have to do with some Bible/Torah/Kuranic passages?

I CAN understand how it can help to "cleanse" the system - the body - physiologically; prepare it for surgical proceedings, etc. - but I don't quite get the "crossover." Is it perhaps to test oneself? To show reverse appreciation for food? (God is Great, God is Good, Let us thank him for our Food - by his hand we all are Fed - Give us, Lord, our Daily Bread = our childhood at-table prayer)

So - in lieu of looking it up to find my own answers and "challenge" your beliefs; I want to hear from YOU, what it means to YOU, and if you choose, or not, to practice it...why? What have been your results in terms of outcomes?

Thanks for anyone who'd like to take the time to 'splain' me (explain it) what it's all about.

(I will have to be away for most of the morning after about an hour from now, but will check in when I get back home this afternoon)
edit on 9/17/13 by wildtimes because: change title for brevity


I think I might have the answer you're looking for.

In Aldous Huxley's drug log, "The Doors of Perception", he refers to the practice of fasting and compares it to his experience with a certain psychoactive cactus that I can't refer to on ATS apparently. rhymes with coyote...anyway, Huxley says that hallucinogenics cause mystical and religious states in our mind, because they simulate a lack of glucose in the brain. So, in essence, when someone fasts they are not only preventing glucose from entering their brain, they are preventing everything nutritionally from entering.
So, in time, if one fasts long enough, one will experience the same mystical state of mind that a simulation of a lack of glucose from hallucinogenics would cause. I hope this sheds light on why fasting has always been associated with spirituality in several religions.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:56 AM
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Why Catholics Fast -

Catholic Answers - Fasting

Fasting is a biblical discipline that can be defended from both the Old and the New Testament. Christ expected his disciples to fast (Mt 9:14-15) and issued instructions for how they should do so (Mt 6:16-18). Catholics follow this pattern by holding a partial fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Abstinence from certain foods is also a biblical discipline. In Daniel 10:2-3 we read, "In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks." Catholics use a practice similar to Daniel's when, as a way of commemorating Christ's Crucifixion on a Friday, they abstain from eating meat on that day of the week during Lent. The only kind of flesh they eat on Friday is fish, which is a symbol of Christ.


From Pope Leo the Great and Gregory the Great

There is nothing, dearly-beloved, in which the Divine Providence does not assist the devotions of the faithful. For the very elements of the world1210 also minister to the exercise of mind and body in holiness, seeing that the distinctly varied revolution of days and months opens for us the different pages of the commands, and thus the seasons also in some sense speak to us of that which the sacred institutions enjoin. And hence, since the year’s course has brought back the seventh month to us, I feel certain that your minds are spiritually aroused to keep the solemn fast; since you have learnt by experience how well this preparation purifies both the outer and the inner parts of men, so that by abstaining from the lawful, resistance becomes easier to the unlawful. But do not limit your plan of abstinence, dearly-beloved, to the mortifying of the body, or to the lessening of food alone. For the greater advantages of this virtue belong to that chastity of the soul, which not only crushes the lusts of the flesh, but also despises the vanities of worldly wisdom, as the Apostle says, “take heed that no one deceive you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men.


Fasting - A Powerful Spiritual Tool

That is why fasting is usually mentioned along with prayer and almsgiving (or charity). By controlling the passions of the body, we free our souls for prayer. And by refraining from eating, we free up food or money.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:28 AM
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As noted in my .sig, the reason that the Catholics don't eat meat on Friday is because the Pope owns Long John Silvers.


For me, what fasting does is makes me feel different, and when I feel different, it just mixes things up a bit. I am a pretty regimented person -- granola bar at 8AM, lunch, which is a sandwich and, in the winter, soup, at 10:30AM and dinner, which is a rotation of a couple different things, at 5PM. Apart from hosting big dinners on most Wednesday nights, that's the extent of my dietary life.

So, during Lent, when I don't have anything until 5PM, my days are different, and, like I said, it alters my mindset a little. I don't know that it brings me any closer to God, I suppose that I could pray during the time that I normally eat to do that (hmmm... will have to remember that next year,) but given that I'm doing it for him, maybe it does.

edit on 17-9-2013 by adjensen because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Our prayers and fasts are simply symbolic of our own submission to God. If we, as humans fail to pray or fast... Gods glory remains the way it has been since the beginning.

A humans deeds, words or thoughts can neither add to... nor take away from Gods glory... because God is far above His creation. Instead it is us, the created things of God... that depend on the mercy of God. Not the other way round.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 12:08 PM
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Thanks, all! Interesting ideas.

I appreciate everyone taking the time to post their thoughts.

Do you "dread" the days you know you are to "fast"? Is it hard for you to prepare your mind for it? Or do you look forward to it?

I completely understand the need to "abstain" from things that are usual routines for me when I have other things to attend to that are of more priority. I think it's hard, though. I'm very much a creature of habit, and when my routine is disrupted, or I know it WILL BE (as, for example, this week - I have a line-up of one-time activities related to family that will prohibit me from my normal routine), it bums me out.

I know I CAN do it, and I WILL; it's just I don't particularly want to, and the stress of knowing I must sort of defeats the pleasure of the occasions/events that require me to do so. Although this week's activities are only partially pleasant - the rest are burdensome.

Does that make sense?

edit on 9/17/13 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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wildtimes
Do you "dread" the days you know you are to "fast"?

I don't fast from food anymore. I used to. But 3 1/2 years ago I became chronically ill and my diet became severely restricted. So fasting from food wouldn't be wise for me. 'fasting' (or giving up) other things is what I do. It's a good way to practice self control and be in charge of things rather than having those things be in charge of you.

Example - favorite TV show. I'll 'give up' or 'fast from' watching my favorite TV show for a week. Then offer that to God to show Him that I'm not attached (or trying not to be attached) to the worldly or mundane.

Heck, there isn't any TV in heaven ... nor wild food parties ... nor alcohol or sex or whatever ...
so might as well get used to not having or needing those things now.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 



Example - favorite TV show.

South Park....right??



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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wildtimes
reply to post by FlyersFan
 


Example - favorite TV show.

South Park....right??

You remember!

I'm watching it right now ..... on demand ... and looking forward to Sept 25 for the first show of the season. They like to tackle the big stuff in the news and put a common sense spin on it ... while not specifically stating that is what they are doing. I'm looking forward to see what they do about Zimmerman/Martin. I don't think they could stay away from that ..... bwahahahahaaaaa



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


I blame southpark for my previous Warcraft addiction!

Have you seen that episode? One of the best!

I wish they made another one actually... maybe an episode about minecraft one day

I've found the last few seasons have been good, but not as funny as usual... Somehow I think they're running out of material




posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:38 PM
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Akragon
I blame southpark for my previous Warcraft addiction!
Have you seen that episode? One of the best!

Was that the one where the four boys got together to beat the one fella .... and they sat at their screens and got really really fat ... eating and pooping without leaving the screens? That was gross ... but effective!

I like the Mormon show and the Scientology shows best. (so far)
Mormon show ..... dum dum dum dum dum ...
Scientology show ... GO AHEAD AND SUE ME! (and then all the credits are 'John Smith')
LUV IT.


Somehow I think they're running out of material

I think they'll have fun with Zimmerman/Martin ... and Obama nearly starting WWIII ...
And the girls from Raisins will be twerking even more than usual I'd bet ...
(they have twerked in the dancing episode)
I'm looking for an Under the Dome episode too.

OOOPS .. all off topic. Sorry WIldtimes. (I luv the show)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:44 PM
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Well we can get back to the topic here...

Personally I've never fasted... I don't see the point of it...

It seems to be something that is asked of you which makes you weak... your brain function slows down, some people even hallucinate...

Hunger is painful... almost sickening... I don't see God asking someone to do such a thing honestly...

Its one thing to abstain from materialistic things and physical desires of the body, its quite another to put yourself through physical pain to appease a god...

On the other hand, if one is fasting in order to help someone who is starving eat... I can see value in that practice... Giving to another that which one has an abundance of...

Jesus said " when I was hungry you fed me, when I was naked you clothed me" etc etc...

ye know?




posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:45 PM
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Akragon
Well we can get back to the topic here...

I went and bumped the old Southpark thread so we can move the conversation there.
Sorry WIldtimes ... didn't mean to get off topic.
(but it's your fault for bringing up Southpark!!!






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