In modern society fasting is seen primarily as a means of protest or threat of self-destruction to put the pressure on higher authorities in order to attain the benefits or claims of the people involved. In other words, it is political in its character. Mahatma Gandhi of India during his fight against British rule, Young Sam Kim of Korea in his protest against the military dictatorship and the comedian Dick Gregory in his struggle against the violation of the civil rights of Native Americans exemplify this.

In the biblical context, however, fasting carries a different meaning. It is not a way of asserting one’s will but a means of opening oneself to the work of God.

Ryken, Leland ; Wilhoit, Jim ; Longman, Tremper ; Duriez, Colin ; Penney, Douglas ; Reid, Daniel G.: Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. electronic ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000, c1998, S. 273

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