What I see in scripture is that fasting is an abstinence from both food and water. Further, the purpose of fasting is to weaken the flesh and create a humility and hunger for God. What do you think about fasts that consist only of abstaining from chocolate, sodas, movies, juices, etc? -- Bryan Maki

In principle, I have no problem with giving up one thing for the sake of another (chocolate for gifts to the poor, soda for health, movies for prayer), and I am sure that, if it is put that way, you would agree.

Yet I agree with you: Biblical fasting seems to have been complete abstinence from food and water--much more difficult than the various ingenious variations invented by believers in our age! Surely we can leave this matter to the individual. Come to think of it, it wouldn't hurt us to give up all the things in your list--permanently! Just joking! (Maybe not completely.)

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