Democratizing Fasting & Abstinence: the individual choice


The idea of not indulging in any form of pleasure is clearly a good practice of religiosity. Most devout individuals have the understanding that is based on consequential religiosity wherein they practice what is ought to be practiced. For the Catholics, the Lenten season is the best time to do-away with this indulgence and redirect themselves to the core of the event, and the action is collective and calculated in  a way that everyone ought to do the same. And the means to do this is by fasting and abstinence.

The idea of such sacrifice is rooted in the experiential belief that one is purified and cleansed of the “wrong” after the temporal practice. The idea of inflicting pain, experiencing displeasure, and feeling discomfort is a good way to cleanse one from the guilt of doing the worldly pleasures, which religion would take as dogmatically inappropriate.

It has long been practiced, looking back at how it was in the time of the human beheading and animal slaughtering for the honor, forgiveness, and pleasure of the “god” (with general reference to that higher being as some ritualistic groups back in the days believe in several ones). But in the postmodern era, mix it with democratic ideals, and you get something new. It would seem like different packages and choices in order to do such religious act. There is freedom to choose which kind of sacrifice can be done, and the consequence thereafter is pretty much the same despite the relativity.

In one Christian church, one can opt for partial and full fasting depending on the preference. One can let go of eating for the physiological need or just simply let go of the drives of the appetite just by not eating something that is pleasurable. Some people believe that abstinence can be put differently. If a couple gets to have sexual intercourse every day, then abstinence is not doing it every day. Others can take a whole abstinence course with totally no encounter at all. And all these would result in the same end, that being carnally indulging is cleared, and everything is as clean as a slate.

Perhaps the idea of having the freedom in the world, that being the principle of humanistic responsiveness, the choice of doing or not doing, the restructuring of ideas and beliefs, and the ability to be guided by one’s will changed the whole idea of sacrifice. In the postmodern world, everything is not absolute. Everything is fluid and constantly changing. It is such less of a wonder that many religious denominations have been put up these days in response to the Catholic tradition. The idea of repackaging and marketing eventually is evident in the religious activity today. And this turn-of-event has affected the behavior, devout and lenient individuals alike. The manner of actually practicing such sacrifice has become a variety of forms and sizes.

No matter what the event is, whether it be religiously or ideologically driven, everything is still founded on freedom and choice. The thought of cleansing oneself of the many worldly pleasures is just  a whole package of nuances and subjective ideals.

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