Time To Fast: I’m Giving Up The Internet For Lent

Time To Fast: I’m Giving Up The Internet For Lent

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.


  1. The care and feeding of the common fallacy.
    The fallacies we fancy.
    Fantastic fallacies and how to find (or avoid) them.
    The Humdinger’s guide to fallacies.
    You’re more likely to lie – a statistical guide to fallacies.
    They’re probably wrong – everyday fallacies.
    FALLACIES – They’re not lying, they’re just wrong.
    FALLACIES – They’re not just wrong, they’re lying.
    The spotter’s guide to the common fallacies. (With a picture of two birds arguing on the cover? Or maybe a black swan.)
    Tiptoeing through the minefields of proper debate/argument – how to spot and avoid fallacies.
    If it walks like a simile and quacks like a mixed metaphor, it might be a fallacy.
    The fallacious bathroom reader.
    The compleat debater’s guide to fallacies.
    Fallacies and follies, a beginner’s guide.
    Dancing with unicorns, and other fallacies.
    The movie-goers guide to common fallacies.
    The “more smarter” guide to fallacies and other bad habits.
    So bad it’s not even wrong – how to avoid common fallacies.
    You need to buy this book because I need the money, and other fallacies.

  2. swordfishtrombone

    “There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. So, thirty pounds of extra fat would be enough”

    Is Jay Richards suggesting that Jesus was thirty pounds overweight before fasting?

  3. True Faith

    “a boatload of brain blubber” I love you Wm Briggs!

  4. John B()

    When Moses went up into the mountain to “hammer” out the Covenant with God, he fasted 40 days.

    So it’s completely apropos that Jesus fast for 40 days for the “New Covenant”

  5. Ye Olde Scribe

    I second Swordfish’s question. Judging from the image of Our Lord on the Shroud, He definitely didn’t have 30 extra pounds on His Frame….

  6. John B()


    But that would have been 1 to 3 years after he fasted the 30 pounds off

  7. Ken

    RE: “…one of the best reasons we should fast: to prepare for spiritual battle…”

    Toxic mind control cults use fasting for their spiritual battles — the tactic helps ensure the “fastee” (one doing the fasting) loses to the cult’s control and more easily accepts nonsensical doctrines unquestioningly.

    Not to mention that the harder one works for something–especially group acceptance–the more accommodating one becomes to whatever doctrinal nonsense, abuse, or criminality is expected after being accepted.

    RE: “We can assume that Jesus drank water because, without a miracle, no one could survive without water for forty days and nights.”

    Deuteronomy 9:18: Moses went without food OR DRINK for 40 days and 40 nights … so it must have been a miracle … and literalists can still believe what they want …

    Forty — in old Arabic culture the word used for “forty” usually meant “many” or “numerous” etc.

    Like Alibaba and the 40 Thieves — many thieves, not necessarily exactly forty..

    The pattern shows up so much, and not just in the Bible, the general meaning ought not be a surprise, much less a point of contention. Again, literalists, however, can’t help themselves.

    Noah got rained on for 40 days and 40 nights
    Moses lived in the desert 40 years
    …and on Mt Sinai for 40 days & 40 nights
    Numbers 13:25 Israeli spies return from Canaan after 40 days

    and the list goes on and on and on …. perhaps 40 times total?

    Of course, some of those “40s” are meant to mean precisely (39+1) … but most mean many/numerous/…

  8. Ye Olde Statistician

    Fallacy Mongering is a Fallacy.

    M. If the premises are true
    m. And the syllogism is valid
    /.: The conclusion will be true.

    But to assert that the conclusion is not true because the syllogism is invalid is an instantiation of “Asserting the precedent,” a logical fallacy.

  9. Don B

    “Fallacies are just wrong.”

  10. Joy

    Ken, so true.
    Furthermore although the obvious point to make is that Jesus performed miracles throughout the bible so fasting for forty days seems rather easy. He was human flesh and so therefore susceptible to the same insult and injury as everybody.

    Do Not fast for Forty days and just drink water! Silly Briggs for suggesting it! Would be okay.

    You would quite soon develop renal failure and possibly heart failure even with the water.
    The system needs electrolytes to function.
    As muscle is broken down instead of fat, so there is a build up of protein breakdown in a process called rhabdomyolysis, which causes a build up of the metabolites of the byproduct of protein metabolism. Blood tests would show extremely high creation kinase amounts other things and electrolytes would be way out, likely potassium high and sodium low. Vomiting would further increase Potassium compounding electrocute imbalance. This situation would easily begin to cause heart failure.
    There are.a host of other things that would be highly likely to bring about compromise the the entire system.

    Ken’s right.

    As to the shroud? Would that it were true. There are some impressive witnesses who lecture on the subject but I still only have their word and since I don’t trust the church’s record it’s like an elaborate hoax. Being propped up quite a bit recently, too. What a shame. I want it to be true.

  11. Ye Olde Statistician

    since I don’t trust the church’s record it’s like an elaborate hoax.

    The Church’s record on the Shroud is that they take no official stance. If you don’t trust that, what can you trust?

  12. Ye Olde Statistician

    “Asserting the precedent,”

    Aargh. That should have been “Negating the precedent” is a fallacy.

  13. Joy

    If you don’t trust that, what can you trust?”
    The focus shifted there…

    That shifts blame away from the church but of course they are involved in the matter entirely.
    They need it to be true too. They have a vested interest now due to the amount of time invested in it. Their credibility will be judged by billions and they know.

    I don’t consider the church is entirely in the clear if it DOES turn out not to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth.

    It seems to me that when it suits them they claim to be in lock step with science and discovery. When it isn’t convenient they pretend to refer to science for their opinion.
    They are furtive over the entire situation. Shifty, evasive.

    The shroud belongs to the world, since their official line is non committal It is therefore still potentially the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth who is God incarnate and the cloth would therefore go a long way to provide almost irrefutable evidence of something supernatural.

    It’s miraculous condition due to it’s age and it’s apparent non reproducibility as it’s two strongest features.
    Therefore it is acting irresponsibly, which is to say they won’t take responsibility but want credit and credibility!

    If they want to clear the matter up they will comply with the researchers who may now once and for all test the correct sections of the shroud. That they even got that part wrong strikes me as profoundly stupid. (not the church, whoever oversaw the testing). If you want to test tissue or soil or whatever, you test the part of interest. In particular if the material is blank in one area and the effigy appears in another area. The part with the markings must be tested.
    BUTit wasn’t and that’s laughable.

    If a patient has two bad knees, one is compared with tother! One wouldn’t get away with telling the patient:
    “I’ll test the good one because I don’t want to hurt your knee any more, it’s precious.”
    It is, as I said preposterously silly that everybody’s still in the position they are in now with regards to testing the material correctly and properly.

    The tests required must be done but the church puts it off! Kicking the can along and holding back the inevitable as they keep hope alive, which is how I’m reading it.

    It still hinges on the word of the witnesses as I wonder if the shroud produced earlier is always the same as that brought out each time as the technology moves along just ahead of the investigators. That kind of thing is how I think it’s been pulled off if it’s fake.
    They had to come up with a story about how silver appeared on the shroud and so invented a story about a silver box in a burning church. *the silver being present also in photographic processing.

    It might be more than a photograph. A holographic or three D effect produced by advanced electron bombardment which, if possible, may be a technique kept secret while it still finds other applications aside from the shroud.

    I was suspicious of the theory given regarding the body being prone and the cloth slashed to release it. This was said to prove the blood markings which drained forwards. However, if it is real, nobody handling his lifeless body would lay him prone. I wouldn’t and nor would they.
    If someone’s alive and in certain circumstances prone can aid ventilation and perhaps drain fluid.
    It’s just too fanciful, and the description of the moving legs and feet in the image processed by restitution were mostly not visible to the naked eye, having asked several sighted people because I have to rely on radiological reports due to lack of vision and obviously don’t expect to see what is claimed. It is a lot like reading an X-ray or MRI.
    On balance, I think it’s a hoax.
    What also made it rather obvious were the geeks and lurkers on comment boxes with almost no discussion and those same creepy geeks leading to dead cow websites! That was the rather obvious giveaway for me.
    So no, I don’t trust the church’s official line nor their ‘helpers’ when they resort to cheating, lying or phoney carrying on.

  14. Joy

    What’s with the horse riding goose? Which I forgot to mention.

    I still enjoyed watching though and it was my favourite video last year. An excellent sleep aid. As to the creepers. They are satanic.

    The other presentation was William Guy on youtube and the lecture is four parts. “most comprehensive presentation on the shroud.”

    Which it is. Someone’s paying a lot of money to keep it going because it really matters now and faces must be saved.
    Ahem, let us remember the church’s official line is that they have no official line…They just won’t let anyone look at it!

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