Lent has begun, and in certain denominations, people are "giving up something for Lent" - in other words, not indulging in some pleasurable food or activity between now and Easter. Have you ever abstained from something for a period of time for a religious or spiritual purpose? What was it? How successful were you at avoiding it?
Extra Credit: Regardless of whether you believe in doing so, if you were to give up something you enjoy between now and April 24th, what would it be?
I was just talking about this:
While I do not practice any institutional religion, I follow most of the JudeoChristian values and a few traditions. Back in the day, I gave up French Fries every year for Lent. It was a good one for me because it was something that I enjoyed enough to make it a sacrifice, but not such a deprivation that I was twitching two weeks in - like those people that give up caffeine. I considered it participating in a tradition that many of my friends and colleagues valued, and it was good for my health.
I stopped giving up things for Lent because my brother, who became a Catholic when he got married, derisively informed me that Lent was not meant to be my own personal diet plan. And if I wasn't going to take it seriously, I shouldn't do it.
Apparently, Lent was meant to make certain people feel morally superior.
If I were going to give up something, I would probably make it some kind of consumerist behavior. But then I would be accused of making Lent my own personal financial savings plan.