In Christianity it is widely acknowledged that periods of quiet reading, prayer, and meditation are a good thing for a person’s spiritual state. Fundamentalist, of course, take it one step further and declare that if you fail to do devotional exercise every single day that your fate will be toÂ “shrink, shrink, shrink.”
Fundamentalists love the stories of the grooves worn in George Muller’s floor. Or was that Praying Hyde? Or perhaps John Knox? It’s anybody’s guess. But the real point is that a young man who sleeps in and disregarded his devotions just one time will be without the proper weapons to do battle with spiritual wickedness in high places — or a magazine cover at the grocery checkout line, whichever comes first. A little sleep, a little slumber and before you know it not reading the daily dose of Proverbs will allow an errant copy of Ladies Home Journal to bring him to the very brink of ruin.
Fundies reverence the tales of those who read the bible through multiple times a year. They praise the stories of missionaries and pastors who would rise at 4:00 a.m. (somehow what time they went to bed never gets mentioned) and pray for hours until callouses form on the supplicant’s knees. But strangely, none dare call it asceticism.