This week Ramadan began for the followers of Islam, a month of fasting and prayer.
For those who keep this practise it shows a level of extreme devotion to their religion.
Millions of people across the globe will spend their daylight hours without any food or water in order to serve their god.
An interview with an Islamic academic from the University of Wollongong put a different spin on it.
Five sessions of prayer were explained as 5 sessions of mindfulness, a way to centre one’s life during the day.
Fasting was explained as a process of discipline and exercising self control.
In our anxious, busy and often unrestrained society this practise seemed like a good idea.
I found my self nodding along until I realised what was going on here.
Any idea of extreme devotion to a god was downplayed.
It was a clever interview, because it took ideas that were foreign to Australians (like set prayers and fasting) and explained them in terms that are now readily acceptable.
This is exactly what our society wants from adherents to religion: moderate ideas that can be explained in social terms.
This is why liberal Christianity has flourished in western society, where the Bible has been interpreted though the lens of our world.
This kind of God leads to a nice and moderate religion that rocks no boats, and one our society is happy with, because they created it.
The pressure to fit in is intense but we must remember that there is nothing wrong with being extreme itself. The question is for what cause it is, and how do you implement it.
Christians are called to give up our lives for our God.
We do so for he is the the one who gave his life for us, And so the way we do this is in love and service of others.