LENT "punish yourself for being alive"

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    Mar 07, 2008 12:41 AM GMT
    maybe somebody can help me out. apparently lent is in full swing and i really don't get the motivation behind the whole idea of giving something up that you enjoy. i suppose if its something bad for you then that makes sense but shouldn't you be wanting to give that up anyway. If you are just going to give up a vice for lent, you will just end up going back to it after. What's the point? Is god really going to be happy that you have given up something that you enjoy for 7 weeks?

    I remember when i was younger I thought the perfect thing for lent to give up was going to church. You would think that since being around god is the most enjoyable thing you could do, there would be lines of people waiting to give up god for lent. why stop at 7 weeks? lets give him up year round. what could be more godlike than punishing ourselves all the time?

    Lent, I don't get it.

    Hey, i have dirt on my forehead. i dont think i'll watch dawson's creek reruns for the next 7 weeks.

    - a concerned observer.
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    Mar 07, 2008 12:49 AM GMT
    BlinkTwice -- that's very funny, and I love your logic.

    And I never understood Lent, either.
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    Mar 07, 2008 1:00 AM GMT
    i gave up jesus for lent
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    Mar 07, 2008 1:17 AM GMT
    Basically I think he idea is giving up on self indulgent/hedonistic things gives you time to appreciate and reflect on the more important serious and spiritual aspects of your life.

    As with most concepts it's been abused. People mostly give up things to compete with each other on who has the greatest determination or for the support ie if the entire office has an excuse to give up smoking they will have a greater chance than if they go it alone.

    The idea that it's a punishment is also totally wrong, it's a personal choice think of it as Amish people they are looked down up on but it's a personal choice to simplify ones life
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    Mar 07, 2008 2:06 AM GMT
    There is alot to be said about self-dicipline. I'm half-catholic and half-mormon and totally Pagan, but my understanding of LENT isn't about punishment, its about not indulging "just because its there". Sure you wont go to hell (if thats what you beleive in) if you say you wont eat chocolate and then you do, but there is a great feeling of triumph when you accomplish something, as anyone with any sense of fitness goals should know.
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    Mar 07, 2008 2:18 AM GMT
    Hey guys, you all have your opinions of course, but let's remember that some people do find religion a very satisfying and fulfilling thing.

    The point of Lent is more to give up those self-indulgent things that we're lucky enough to have in our lives on a daily basis, in hopes that when you think about it, it might remind you of the lessons we're meant to bring away from church. If you give something up that you spend a lot of time enjoying, for instance, then the logic is you'll be thinking about WHY you gave that up more than the competition of whose will-power is strongest. Every time you want some alcohol, if you're a strict observer of Lent for example, you'll reflect on why you've given it up, and perhaps think about the sermon from Sunday morning, a story from the Bible, some action or deed you've done lately, etc.

    It's a good excercise in personal reflection and accountability, and isn't punishing yourself; nor are people who decide to observe Lent out of their minds or illogical. If it's for you, it is; if it isn't, it isn't. That's my bit.
  • UVaRob9

    Posts: 282

    Mar 07, 2008 2:48 AM GMT
    cmon saidHey guys, you all have your opinions of course, but let's remember that some people do find religion a very satisfying and fulfilling thing.

    The point of Lent is more to give up those self-indulgent things that we're lucky enough to have in our lives on a daily basis, in hopes that when you think about it, it might remind you of the lessons we're meant to bring away from church. If you give something up that you spend a lot of time enjoying, for instance, then the logic is you'll be thinking about WHY you gave that up more than the competition of whose will-power is strongest. Every time you want some alcohol, if you're a strict observer of Lent for example, you'll reflect on why you've given it up, and perhaps think about the sermon from Sunday morning, a story from the Bible, some action or deed you've done lately, etc.

    It's a good excercise in personal reflection and accountability, and isn't punishing yourself; nor are people who decide to observe Lent out of their minds or illogical. If it's for you, it is; if it isn't, it isn't. That's my bit.


    Considering you're below the legal age anyway for alcohol in the US, that's almost funny.
  • Paradigm_Shif...

    Posts: 251

    Mar 07, 2008 3:03 AM GMT
    blinktice4y, I think you need to fast and pray!!!


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    Mar 07, 2008 3:05 AM GMT
    cmon saidHey guys, you all have your opinions of course, but let's remember that some people do find religion a very satisfying and fulfilling thing.

    The point of Lent is more to give up those self-indulgent things that we're lucky enough to have in our lives on a daily basis, in hopes that when you think about it, it might remind you of the lessons we're meant to bring away from church. If you give something up that you spend a lot of time enjoying, for instance, then the logic is you'll be thinking about WHY you gave that up more than the competition of whose will-power is strongest. Every time you want some alcohol, if you're a strict observer of Lent for example, you'll reflect on why you've given it up, and perhaps think about the sermon from Sunday morning, a story from the Bible, some action or deed you've done lately, etc.

    It's a good excercise in personal reflection and accountability, and isn't punishing yourself; nor are people who decide to observe Lent out of their minds or illogical. If it's for you, it is; if it isn't, it isn't. That's my bit.


    Cmom, you hit the nail on the head. This is where I really struggle with guys on here. They want everyone to see them for who they are and then when someone has any religious affiliation, they love to bash it.

    Your explanation of Lent is right on. It's about denying one's self of things pleasing in order to think about other things in life. Often we put ourselves up front and forget that the world is in need of our attention well beyond our own issues. Being str8, being gay, being black, being white, it doesn't matter. If we look beyond our own selfishness we find many whom we can help if we'd just look past our selfishness. It's self denial, it happens to be associated with Christianity but it is something we all should do.

    Give up something you really like anytime of the year and see if you can focus on diverting your energies towards helping others!

    Thanks Cmon... you are wise beyond your age. I appreciate your input.

  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 07, 2008 3:24 AM GMT
    I gave up Catholicism for Lent back when I was in college
    so now I'm just a lost cause icon_wink.gif
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    Mar 07, 2008 3:27 AM GMT
    i think i'm gonna give up rj for lent too, maybe by then i'll forget how little a sense of humor some people on here have
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    Mar 07, 2008 3:39 AM GMT
    Like the original poster who said "I don't understand lent" (a paraphrase). I don't understand the importance of any organized religions traditions, and practices, and dogma. Even right down to the idea of hell, the catholics came up with that, and the church got rich from selling indulgences to keep people out of hell. Now think of that one, they actually believe that you can pay money to some church priest, and be forgiven of a sin, or be relieved of hell. Its mostly a lot of WHOEY !!! The very Idea of hell is rediculous, if God is a God of love why would he create some special kind of fire that would only cause pain and not consume the sufferer.(sinner) the sin certainly cannot justify burning in hell forever. So like this lent thing, I'm sure it can have some good practical benefit, it was some mans Idea of a way to get closer to God, as it was some mans Idea behind every tradition of all the churches. I don't want to take away from religious followers, but I cannot understand why people have to have something to follow, whether its lent once a year, or mass, or going to church saturday or sunday morning every week. When you really look at the background of religions its a lot of WHOEY !!! I sometimes wonder if there is a God Creator, just what he/she thinks of what we humans have put each other through for their ideas of WHAT GOD SAYS IS RIGHT, and if you don't do it OUR WAY, YOUR GOING TO HELL !! IT SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF WHOEY !!!!! But I still will respect the follower, whether I see what he/she follows as important or not.
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    Mar 07, 2008 3:43 AM GMT
    Well GQjock !!! your a damn good looking "LOST CAUSE" !!! (if you don't mine my saying so !!!) LOL !!!
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    Mar 07, 2008 3:47 AM GMT
    I was raised Catholic, and while I no longer believe I occasionally get a pang of longing for wearing all those sequined robes. But I have to say, the Jews get this thing right.

    Catholics spend a whole month scourging themselves, denying earthly pleasures, and being generally unfun at parties.

    Jews. You have one day, Yom Kippur, and you get atonement for the whole year. Beat THAT Jebus!
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    Mar 07, 2008 3:53 AM GMT
    eb925guyCmom, you hit the nail on the head. This is where I really struggle with guys on here. They want everyone to see them for who they are and then when someone has any religious affiliation, they love to bash it.

    Your explanation of Lent is right on. It's about denying one's self of things pleasing in order to think about other things in life. Often we put ourselves up front and forget that the world is in need of our attention well beyond our own issues. Being str8, being gay, being black, being white, it doesn't matter. If we look beyond our own selfishness we find many whom we can help if we'd just look past our selfishness. It's self denial, it happens to be associated with Christianity but it is something we all should do.

    Give up something you really like anytime of the year and see if you can focus on diverting your energies towards helping others!

    Thanks Cmon... you are wise beyond your age. I appreciate your input.


    Right on!! Galatians 3:28 all the way!icon_wink.gif

    Doesn't matter who or what you are as 'cuz we're all the same in Christ.

    Umm, a lent topic so... I gave up doing lent until I could figure out why I should give something up for Lent. icon_eek.gif...thanks for clearing that up...icon_biggrin.gif
  • joggerva

    Posts: 731

    Mar 07, 2008 4:40 AM GMT
    I'm not a regular Lent observer, but I agree with the statements from AMT87, cmon, eb925guy, etc. I gave up meat for Lent in college to see what it would be like without it, and I haven't (intentionally) eaten any since. I had just taken for granted that I should eat meat because I always had; however, it wasn't until I tried vegetarianism that I realized I preferred it. It's hard to know what something means to you if you always have it.

    As I understood it, another aspect of Lent was to obtain a better understanding of those who do not have access to buy/eat/etc pretty much whatever they want, like many in our culture. With greater understanding comes greater care. I'm not sure about this aspect, maybe someone with a better background could elaborate.
  • mcwclewis

    Posts: 1701

    Mar 07, 2008 5:06 AM GMT
    You are all incorrecy. Lent is actually a religious movement against the restaurant industry for their foul-mouthed cooks and sexism in the workplace. Rather than ordering simple steaks and burgers, which are easy to cook, everyone orders fish, one of the two most obnoxious things that any cook, at least in a corporate restaurant, has to face.
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    Mar 07, 2008 5:44 AM GMT
    The 40 days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent fasting in the desert, overcoming three temptations by Satan. It's a time of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, an aspect that eb925guy hit upon and which seems to be the one that most Catholics readily forget about.
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    Mar 07, 2008 6:00 AM GMT
    As a rule I don't comment on religion or politics, but there were some comments on here that made me think and want to share my insight.

    Catholics didn't invent hell, they invented purgatory. I'm fairly certain that they "enhanced" the vision of what hell is though.

    Hell as a concept is the abscence of God. You have to really really deny God to go there. So it's not that God sentences you to suffer for all eternity in fire, you choose to do that by denying him.

    The early church was VERY corrupt. They had absolute power and absolute authority. Selling of indulgences came from that time and so did the whole not eating meat thing. How is fish not meat? It's an animal and it has muscle tissue.
    It's simple. Corner the fish market and declare that you can't eat meat, fowl, or pork--but fish is ok because it's cold-blooded...icon_eek.gif
    (By that arguement you could also eat snake or lizard or frog, whick taste like chicken...hmmmm, but I digress)
    All of a sudden profits from the sales of fish are way up and church coffers are full.
    You can no longer buy indulgences, btw.

    I really don't get the Jesus bashing that is going on. He is no different that any of the other prophets (Buddha or Mohammed) in his message. I think it was "Be excellent to each other; and party on, dudes."

    Sadly his message has gotten lost amongst all the other bs that's arisen over time. I am not a fan of organized religion by any means, but it did/does serve a purpose. It gives people some commonality and structure, and at least the beginnings of morality. It's just sad that too many people fail to question and blindly follow (sheep following a shepherd, oh the irony) what many religious leaders tell them. The smarter we become, the less we need organized religion. Sadly, as witnessed in another forum post, it seems we are not getting smarter icon_sad.gif
  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Mar 07, 2008 6:17 AM GMT
    fitguymike saidHell as a concept is the abscence of God. You have to really really deny God to go there. So it's not that God sentences you to suffer for all eternity in fire, you choose to do that by denying him.
    But if God's the creator of everything, then he could have set up the system differently. So, yeah, it's God who sentences you to suffer for all eternity in fire. He could have set it up so that people who realized they were wrong (after their death) could repent and get into Heaven. But He chose otherwise.

    Assuming, of course, that He exists at all.
  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Mar 07, 2008 6:22 AM GMT
    fitguymike saidI really don't get the Jesus bashing that is going on. He is no different that any of the other prophets (Buddha or Mohammed) in his message. I think it was "Be excellent to each other; and party on, dudes."
    Didn't he also say that the only way into Heaven was through him?
    Jesus told his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)
    That's pretty ominous and threatening (and egomaniacal), if you ask me.
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    Mar 07, 2008 6:52 AM GMT
    Well yes Squarejaw, he did say that. He also said do unto others as you would have them do unto you, or something like that...
    If you were to believe that he was the actual son of God, I don't think you can take the statement: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" as ominous or threatening or even egomaniacal. Jesus taught tolerance and acceptance and a humble way to live.

    If you do as he taught, you will get into heaven. I don't think that he would support most of the organized religions today because most spew hate, intolerance, greed, and resemble the corrupt religion he witnessed in his own time. Oh, and don't get me started on all the blood spilled in his name. That is not what he stood for nor the example he set. Plus it doesn't cover anyone who has passed on prior to his time.
    Best Jesus quote I ever read:
    "Jesus, please come and save us from your followers"


    Actually it is before and after death that you still choose the abscence of God, or hell. He gives chance after chance, but you have to choose God. God doesn't want mindless followers he wants you in heaven because you want to be in heaven. He doesn't make you go to heaven because then you don't have free will. God doesn't choose firey hell for you, you do that yourself.
    (Well not you personally, unless that's your thing.)
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    Mar 07, 2008 9:20 AM GMT
    Squarejaw said[quote][cite]fitguymike said[/cite]I really don't get the Jesus bashing that is going on. He is no different that any of the other prophets (Buddha or Mohammed) in his message. I think it was "Be excellent to each other; and party on, dudes."
    Didn't he also say that the only way into Heaven was through him?
    Jesus told his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)
    That's pretty ominous and threatening (and egomaniacal), if you ask me.[/quote]

    Keep in mind that the books of the New Testament were written at least 30 years after Jesus' death; hopefully the apostles had excellent memory. And as you were kind enough to point out, ominous, threatening, and egomaniacal are your interpretation of the text, an opinion I do not share. When it comes down to it, the Bible is still a piece of literature that is open to various interpretations. Shakepeare was wise to write "the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
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    Mar 07, 2008 12:29 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]fitguymike said[/citeI really don't get the Jesus bashing that is going on. He is no different that any of the other prophets (Buddha or Mohammed) in his message. I think it was "Be excellent to each other; and party on, dudes."

    Sadly his message has gotten lost amongst all the other bs that's arisen over time. I am not a fan of organized religion by any means, but it did/does serve a purpose. It gives people some commonality and structure, and at least the beginnings of morality. icon_sad.gif
    [/quote]

    It is not important whether Jesus existed or not. It is not important whether he was the son of God or not. What is important is the only good message that has seemed to come down through the millennia. Fitguymike nailed it: "Be excellent to each other; and party on, dudes". If we do not respect each other and we are not having a good and fun time, then what the hell is the point?

    Religion has given us some of the basis for moral and ethical behaviour but it has also f··ked us up quite a lot. The law that governs us was coded mostly by the Greeks way before Christianity and they were Pagans. That law is the basis for our moral and ethical behaviour.

    Now, as far a lent goes, I agree that giving up something can teach us a lesson, even if it is only in humility. The idea of lent probably came from the very first Christians who were very ascetic and this movement lasted for about three hundred fifty years and ended with St. Jerome. By this time government had usurped the power of the church and the government decided that this asceticism was an unhealthy lifestyle for the people and by extension the empire.
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    Mar 07, 2008 12:57 PM GMT
    I used to be Catholic. LOL

    Our family doesn't practice the deprivations of lent though. Only Easter.

    Anyway...

    Cathy Ladman
    All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.