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Top 5 Reasons Why Lent is Bullshit

THIS IS A GREAT REPOST FROM LAST YEAR…

1.  GIVE IT UP. Every Lent it never fails: my Facebook news feed is loaded with Christian acquaintances posting what superfluous toy or food they have decided to deprive themselves of for 40 days.  I vaguely recall a passage in the gospels where Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for publicly displaying their fasting and how god will not “count” it on the list he is supposedly making and checking (twice).  You poor martyrs!  How terrible that you have to do without soda, candy, chocolate, video games, TV, etc for a WHOLE FORTY DAYS.  Have you given any thought as to all those who live in abject poverty and NEVER have ANY of that stuff?  How arrogant of you to think that your god will reward you for giving up such luxuries when so many starve to death every day because they have nothing to eat?  Four years ago I gave up eating processed sugars, sodas, fast food and excess.  I have never owned a video game and have not owned a TV for 3 years.  I do this because it benefits my health and encourages exploration of the world.  I fail to see how you giving up candy for Lent and flaunting it does anything to benefit you or those who go without every day of their lives.  For Lent, try giving up God instead.

2. FISH. If you have ever cooked a meal for Christians on a Friday in Lent, you know about how they “deprive” themselves on Fridays in Lent (only 4-5 Fridays in the year) and make a big deal to make sure everyone knows they can’t “eat meat”.  The last time I checked, fish was meat.  This whole fish on Fridays tradition has an interesting metamorphoses through history.  Fasting rules for Catholics in particular used to be very strict.  It progressed from no meat allowed on EVERY Friday of the year to only Wednesday and Fridays during Lent and then lastly to “no meat” on only Fridays during Lent.  Then, as people tend to do, the faithful found a loophole in their rules because they did not “count” fish as meat by saying that it came from water animals, not land animals.  After decades of their flock bending the rules so they could have fish on Fridays, the Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI decided to allow Fish on Fridays in 1966.  Now, I don’t mind accommodating my vegan friends, people with allergies or intolerance to certain foods.  What does bother me is the “poor me” message that “fasting” Christians bring to my dinner table and to the world.    McDonald’s even caters to their “fast” season, commercializing and capitalizing on the pointless tradition of one religion.  I fail to see how eating expensive fish, now in short supply, is a sacrifice.

Another problem with Christians eating Fish on Fridays is overfishing and how much Christianity has helped to decimate global fish populations.1 Fish is an expensive, rare meat on our over-fished planet.  Christians are happy to help themselves to the almost extinct Tuna and Salmon in the name of their religious “fasting”.  Eating a delicacy is a far cry from depriving one’s self in the name of Jesus. I also fail to see how encouraging people to consume fish during Lent is an example of good stewardship of the earth.

3. OBESITY. The thin priest will talk about it, but the fat ones won’t touch the subject.  Gluttony, one of the ‘seven deadly sins’, plagues a large swath of the faithful across all Christian divides. They sit in their pews and hear about how they should give in charity and deny themselves pleasures.  Yet they exit church each Sunday to find a doughnut at the community hall and fail to connect how eating 2 to 3 times the amount of calories needed to live each day equates to starving children dying in third world countries.  Even here on American soil, families are finding it difficult to find enough food to survive and the pious obese flock to church every Sunday to be reassured by their pastor that they are checking off all the necessary dates to be admitted into heaven.  This type of hypocrisy abounds during Lent when the biblical reading encourage homilies about abstinence, moderation, charity and self denial.  Obesity is perhaps the most un-Christian behavior of all, exercising gluttony, sloth, greed, addiction, destruction of your “god-given” body and a complete lack of compassion for those who have no food to eat.  I fail to see how being 200 pounds overweight exemplifies Christian behavior.

4. TRADITION. If you ask a Christian why they celebrate Lent, the common response is because Jesus went into the desert for 40 days.  There he supposedly ate no food and was tempted by the Devil.  The irony in this is that to remember this improbable story, Christians “deprive” themselves of American comforts and “fast” on Fridays, even though they found the loophole of eating meat.  It is almost as meaningless as reenacting the cannibalism of eating the flesh and blood of Jesus with wafers and cheap wine.  Oh wait… they already do that.

5. HISTORY. Let’s put the record straight.  There are rumors out there that Pope Paul IV had monetary interest in seeing a budding new fishing industry succeed.  It is not improbable, but still devoid of sources.  Pope Paul IV was rumored to have had a mistress who’s husband owned a fishing fleet.  What is known about Pope Paul IV was his strong Antisemitism and his major role during the Inquisition.   In 1555 he issued canon law forcing Jews to live separate from Christians, which created the Roman Ghetto.  He strengthened and reorganized the Inquisition and believed that outside of Catholicism there was no salvation.   He also had fig leaves painted over the nudes in the Sistine Chapel. 2, 3

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REFERENCES

1. The Pope and the Price of Fish, Full article

2. Pope Paul IV, Biography

3. NNDB

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  • Pingback: Lent: Does Giving Something Up Modernize Ancient Tradition or Miss the Point?

  • Daniel Shaw

    The practice of Lent by most westerners is primarily a way for them to show the world that they at least have some vestige of devotion in them. A large majority do not attend church regularly or make any effort to obey more than 3 or 4 of the ten commandments. On Lent, they get to show everyone that yes, in spite of an almost complete lack of effort in all oher spiritual regards, they are spiritual people who believe the Christ and the Bible. The marking of the forehead on black friday is essentially the same thing. This last black friday I found it so difficult to resist confronting my coworkers about how their faith inspired them to mark themselves with ash. I resisted only becasue I recognize how easily offended these christians of convenience are and did not want to create a situation that would threaten my employment. One of these days, in the right setting, I am looking forward to such an encounter.

  • http://liberatedmind.com LiberatedMind

    There is definitely a right time and place to call religious people out on their superstitious ideas. Today, as religious superstition becomes less of a taboo subject, there is more opportunity to voice your opinion of someone’s nonsensical rituals and assumptions about imaginary friends.

    It was great meeting you this past weekend!

  • Daniel Shaw

    I am favoring the indirect or what one may call the happenstance approach. This is where I talk about the flaws or shortcomings of religion to a fellow nonbeliever within the earshot of the religious. This way they here the information but in a non-threatening way. My parents and I have done this quite a bit with my younger brother. We don’t confront him and make him choose, but we at least make sure he hears both sides of the story.

  • http://liberatedmind.com LiberatedMind

    That is a great method :)

  • http://liberatedmind.com LiberatedMind
  • Ray

    I was a ‘cradle’ Catholic raised and taught by clergy and never understood Lent. It is just plain freaky, weird and grotesque – quite apart from whether it is bullshit – since you could just as easily call the whole Catholic religion with its saint-worship – ritual penances, indulgences and techniques for extorting favors from the Deity – bullshit. Lent epitomizes everything that is wrong about the Catholic approach to Christianity – let’s not forget that for centuries that was the only kind of Christianity that existed. Luckily Martin Luther stepped in with some objections to all the weirdness but kept Lent ???
    I want to know specifically how punishing yourself by giving up whatever – prepares you for anything except irritability and ego – of which there is ample supply in any church. I’ve yet to see it make anybody better by any kind of standard. If it does produce any effects they are quite abstract and unverifiable. It is a walloping insult to the intellect – but then religion has always subordinated intellect to its irrational practices.

  • http://youtube.com/neanderpaul neanderpaul

    People who practice lent are not Christians. Christians by definition follow Christ’s teachings. Lent cannot be found in the bible.

  • Julie

    I know there is a lot of phoney things that fake religion (rules people make up), but try God Himself out for a change. He is quite funny, liberating, and He really is the only one who can Love you like non-other. O and thanks for the sleep sack explanation :)
    Peace n’ Hope

  • LibMindcom

    Julie, thank you for the sentiment. Unfortunately many people say that those who do not believe the exact same flavor of god as themselves is not a “true Christian”. “Fake Religion” is another way of saying that. The majority of god-worshiping people would probably say that your particular brand of god is fake or not true. Evidence and Reason is what I use to evaluate all supernatural claims. So far evidence for any flavor of a god is completely absent. Cheers!
    LM

  • Kevin

    Cratylus wags his finger

  • Brooks

    Hahhaha this is awesome. Lent IS bullshit

  • SillyMama

    Just happened across here by chance. Wow. Surprised by the anger. Wishing you peace.

  • LibMindcom

    It’s not anger. Just sarcasm to point out the hypocracies in religion.

  • smbateman

    It seems like you have a lot of misconceptions about Lent… and so do your fb friends… have you researched Lent’s origins and how seriously the early church took this time of year? I wold never base my understanding of something on someone else’s misunderstanding, and also I would argue a thing worth doing is worth doing badly, meaning if something is really worth doing than it is worth doing even if it is done badly.

  • LibMindcom

    The best way to observe how a religion is practiced is to view the practices of those in that religion. I see absurd hypocrisy in the entire tradition of lent, with most of the reason for the tradition having lost meaning on the people in modern times. If there is a disparity between what a religion or church says lent should be and what people actually do, that is an different issue. Thanks for posting – LM

  • zafadadynamic

    Love the anger! Keep up the good work!

    Religion’s probably a big scam anyway.

  • zafadadynamic

    Some people consider the universe as evidence. If you think about it objectively objectively OBJECTIVELY, god might not be a supernatural entity at all. It could be just another way to explain the ‘here and now’ while prophets and shit like that could have been misconstrued experiences gradually fucked down the lines of communication through time. That might have been a run-on sentence.

    Anyway, with that and objectivity in mind, lack of evidence does not mean it doesn’t exist. And even sometimes the word ‘evidence’ is misconstrued by academia to mean different things. For instance, let’s say someone had a dream that some crap was going to happen out of the ordinary and it did. Scientists would say lucky coincidence. So this same guy had the same experience again with a different scenario. Scientists say, ‘Okay, less of a coincidence. Still a coincidence.’ Then it happens a third time and scientists bring the guy in for observation.

    Bear with me here because I’m probably already rambling. So the guy goes in for every scan possible, lie detector tests or whatever the fuck, etc., etc. and there is absolutely no evidence other than what this guy says that he can dream the future. So evidence in this case is physical evidence derived from some sort of abnormality with the dude’s body. That’s the first kind of evidence scientists look for.

    So then we get into the more vague evidence where he has to prove that he has no previous intel on whatever situations. After that, evidence comes down to probability. How many times can this guy dream and dream the future? Well first, that’s kind of retarded to think that every fucking dream is going to be of the future so we’ll leave it up to the guy to only mention the ones he thinks are from the future before the situation occurs.

    He does this with a relatively high success rate of, let’s say, 85% where the loss in accuracy is from events not being portrayed exactly like what happened in real life.

    So after all of this shit, scientists are scoffing in disbelief at this guy because ACADEMIA can’t even fathom the possibility that some shit like this might exist. Academia is like this little catty clique where they decided what is proven based on their interwoven peer reviewed bullshit.

    In the end, the scientists claim that they can’t prove either way if this guy’s legit. Where does this all end up? In that little black hole where no evidence exists because our species is too retarded an arrogant to actually figure out the truth.

    Am I saying there’s a god? Nah, my ego’s too big for that shit. Do I think there are higher beings that evolved in such a manner that would make them transdimensional? I wouldn’t second guess it. Are there things we would consider supernatural to exist? Most likely. Would I try to prove this to Randi? Nope. He already made up his mind about this kind of thing, just like academia.

    Anyway, I forgot what I was talking about.