As Muslims across the world observe the holy month, some members of the faith -- such as those with illnesses -- struggle with not being able to meet their religious obligations.

So, apparently there's a 'get out' clause for Muslims fasting during Ramadan: if you're sick, you can eat. Which makes sense.

Personally, I don't have a problem with people starving themselves for a month. I can think of a few people who could do with some of that. What a person decides to do to their body is up to them. When it comes to making children fast, that's a totally other issue that I won't touch here.

This is concerning Muslims with medical conditions who simply cannot fast during Ramadan because their bodies cannot take it. As I said, there's that 'get out' clause and that's great.

I want to talk about this commonality in all religion that makes people feel bad just for being alive. We can't escape it. Pick a religion, pick some harmless neutral behavior of yours, I'm sure it's a sin in some way.

I get the tradition element of fasting during Ramadan, I get the religious significance; I don't sympathize, but I can wrap my head around it. I can't understand compelling people to do it. Making people feel bad for not doing it. Making life hard for people who just can't. Making people feel uncomfortable who would get sick if they followed and obeyed the eating anxieties of a God who probably doesn't exist. A God who, if he really cared that much about people not eating, could have made it such that all his followers could manage it.

Why should people have to do something as basic as eating in the shadows? Why should they have to hide? Not from God who, presumably, can see all, but from adherents who would judge them. Why all the needless explanation, not for not-eating during Ramadan, but for eating?

Why should they have to feel out of place for doing something comes naturally to all of us: wanting to live.

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Why should they have to feel out of place for doing something comes naturally to all of us: wanting to live.

I'll take "They are batshit crazy" for 500, Jack.
When is fasting not really fasting? When all it really means is that you skipped lunch.
See Jeff Schweitzer's piece in HuffPo last month.
Yes, 'starving' was a wrong word, I'll concede that. I know that after a week of starvation everyone would probably be dead. When I wrote 'live' I meant in the sense of living a normal life, not as in opposite of death.

'The imams of the world wouldn't be so stupid as to impose a rule that would make them lose followers.'

That's wrong in the absolute sense, but I get your meaning.

Sharieff stopped fasting in 2005 after his doctor suggested that the ritual might be contributing to his constant acid reflux and vomiting. He was relieved that his medical problem wasn't more serious but also disheartened.

"Fasting for me is something you do. I mean Ramadan, boom, you fast," he said. "Losing that was like losing a piece of . . . my iman," his faith.

Yes, I know acid reflux is not tantamount to death, but my argument still stands. He and others in the article, are being made to feel like they're doing something wrong because they cannot participate in something that would make them sick. For me, that's wrong. It's not that they're disobeying, it's that they can't obey, to obey would hurt them.

The stipulation that one must feed a hungry person once per month if one cannot observe Ramadan for health reasons is good -- though I think a moral person would go out there and do that anyway and not just because of a special rule saying they must.

As far as I'm concerned these religious food anxieties either for Ramadan or Lent or whatever are as unreasonable and arbitrary as observances of religious hair anxieties and the whole host of other arbitrary limits that religion imposes on people. I just don't like that people are feeling bad for breaking rules that just don't make any sense.


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