Our friend Jay Richards, editor of The Stream, has an excellent on-going series on fasting. In Part II, he discusses how our Lord fasted for forty days.
By fasted Richards does not mean the “two small meals and one large one” that the practice has currently become, but not eating. Forty days is a long time to go without food, is it not?
Then, after the fast, “the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.'” (Matthew 4:2) Satan’s taunt to make bread from stones only make sense if Jesus was feeling the hunger of his all-too-human body.
Notice that Satan appealed to Jesus’ hunger, but not to His thirst. We can assume that Jesus drank water because, without a miracle, no one could survive without water for forty days and nights. But, believe it or not, a healthy person can fast from food for forty days. He just needs enough energy stored as fat on his body. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. So, thirty pounds of extra fat would be enough — not all that much for a well-fed man — as long as his body was able to access the fat stores. (That’s the kicker. I’ll explain how to make that happen without torture in later installments.)
Why fast? “Jesus’ example helps put shorter fasts in perspective. It also gives us one of the best reasons we should fast: to prepare for spiritual battle. If it’s good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.”
I’m not sure I have thirty pounds of extra fat to spare, but I do have a boatload of brain blubber that I would not miss. And there is no end to spiritual battle.
So, in the same manner that Jesus fasted from food for forty days, I shall be giving up the Internet from today until 2 April, the day after Easter (I shall still have “water”; wanton surfing and the like are out).
I have lots of posts scheduled to go, and new ones will make their way to the proper place. Of material, I have scads, more than enough to make it through a mere forty days. As for email, well, I’m already running about three years behind. A few extra weeks won’t matter.
As an aside, the oldest unanswered email is from Mike B. from 2015 on the putative hot hand in basketball. I’ve got an article on this coming up, Mike! (Yes, of course it’s real.)
I absolutely, 100% have to finish the Fallacies book I’ve been working on. I’m counting on that one to sell tens and tens of copies. An Internet fast, regular readers might recall, was how I finished Uncertainty. (No, I haven’t spoken to any publisher yet about Fallacies. This is a popular book, unlike Uncertainty. Title? Common Fallacies? The Fallacies We Love? I am terrible at titles.)
Some other folks have asked me to lead some papers on evidence and I need to concentrate on them, too.
Blog housekeeping. I’m ratcheting up the spam filters, which means some comments will be sent to a Soviet-style Waiting Area until they can be cleared. Those with profanity are automatically deleted.
As said, forty days is a long time without eating, but not so long giving up a lot of junk I’d be better off without anyway. Just as food is good for you but can be over-indulged in, so too the Internet. Fasting helps beyond the time of fasting.
Best thing I did along these lines was to trade in my old “smart” phone for a flip model (that I never carry) a few years back. I encourage you to do the same. Such freedom! I lived the first two-plus decades of my life without a phone or access to the Internet. I didn’t die.