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Sherapy

Religion and shame

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Paranoid Android
Let's get back on topic and stop the insults flinging every which way. If you cannot do this, this thread will be closed and appropriate warnings posted out to those who earn it - and I don't think anybody wants that.......

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Leonardo
simple. morality exists at a personal level. at the collective level it is agreement on what is in (although not exclusively) the collective's code. So lets say w have a group on an island (shipwrecked), and a new group has just formed. X has his personal morality, Y has his, as does Z. They come together to form a group and a code of conduct amungst themselves to do the expected (enhance survival, rescue, etc). Now, within this group, we can only say we have a universal morality (or moral) if all three of these islanders agree on it, otherwise we will have nothing (no agree), minority (one agrees), or majority (two agree).

Extending this to larger groups, we can say that as the % of the population that makes up the majority increases, we approach universal.

Same position refers to personal stance on a specific issue of a group code.

and here we are fully able to read group mores demonstrating precisely that there is not a unversal morality as you define it (no, skirting the reality by just reclassifying anybody that doesn't agree with your stance as immoral does not do the tricl).

As I see the situation regarding a universal morality, you are always going to get people who wilfully disregard the moral imperatives - but this doesn't imply the moral structure doesn't exist within their consciousness. Eventually such people may desensitise themselves to the point these morals simply have no bearing on their response to their behaviour. If one was to ask a professional assassin, for example, if murder is wrong, I would think the answer would be yes, it's just that the professional assassin does not care. Of course I am speculating and I could be wrong in my assessment. Has anyone done case studies with the military (not that they are professional assassins, but they are trained to have to kill) with the purpose of identifying such behaviour?

Naturally there will be individuals who are dysfunctional, having some physiological cause for their different behaviour, but I think we could agree that this has no bearing on the concept of universal morality.

Edited by Leonardo

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Leonardo
First, I am going to have to give up any pretention to psychic ability, because i missed this thread completely. Second, I now see why so many regulars seemed to have gone missing. They were all on this thread, and third, Sheri, how do you do it? Such a simple question, and such a wonderful lot of responses. I will try and read them when I get time, but to look at your original question.

Shame is one of our natural emotions such as; fear, humour etc. If, along with all those emotions, it is a learned response to social context and situation, this does not make it either a good or a bad thing. Like all emotions, it can serve either productive or non poductive purposes. The choice is ours.

Shame is the emotion we normally reserve for when we know we have broken a (moral ethical religious or other) code which is either valued by us, or by someone whose opinions matter to us. It is the indicator/ warning sign that something is wrong, just as anger is a warning sign that one of our other emotioal triggers has been set off.

We can

a. learn to ignore it. This may alleviate any angst we are feeling but does tend to devalue our code and act like the boy who cried wolf. Eventually we will require an appropriate level of shame but will not be able to feel it.

b. analyse it critically, work out why we feel this way and whether it is a valid response. We can then choose to act to allieviate the shame, if we feel that is appropiate, or ignore it if it is not valid.

c. act on it, uncritically, as an emotional response (this is the way most people react to all emotional stimuli, particularly; frustration, anger, or denial by others). Some people may see this as the most human response, but it generally creates negative consequences. This is the general reaction of young or immature people to whom self is very important and whose being is centred on an emotional core.

The dangers are in the extremes, both denying the validity of shame as a response or in acting/reacting uncritically in response.

Finally there is no point "feeling " shame for others' actions. It is only valid as a personal response, in that only you can chose to do anything about your feelings and your actions.

:lol:

Late in the day, Mr Walker, but a good post.

However I would make some argument about your last statement. Observation of someone's actions can be a learning experience. Feeling shame when observing another doing something wrong can teach you to not commit to this action in the future. The response is personal, yes, and you might not be able to change another's behaviour but you might be able to change your own.

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truethat

I think that Mr. Walker makes a great post.

Bottom line hyper and Sheri you would both absolutely intervene. You are just saying you wouldn't because you want to pretend that your morality is not there for some odd reason.

Of course you would intervene. Anyone would and I think the reason why is that when children are involved we are called to duty in a way that is exempt from societal constructs.

I do agree that if being enlightened means we'd objectively pause to decide whether or not we'd intervene then that is about 100 steps backwards rather than forward.

Joc you asked a very good question pages and pages ago about how do we reject the social contract once we are born into it.

That's really the question of the day. If you run yourself along like a blind animal just doing what needs to be done and not questioning it, that's something else entirely.

What I have to say is that this thread is a beautiful example of humanity, the warts and all humanity on the right side.

I believe in everyone on this site and I believe that you all are the kind of people who care about others and would try to help them based on your own individual morality.

No constructs, just the beauty of being human. There are those that wouldn't do these kinds of things, men who torture women etc.

But I think getting rid of things that cause people to reflect on their morality is not a good thing.

Progress is the development of morality not the exemption of it. That is how we have made strides as people, not the other way around.

Cheers.

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hyperactive
As I see the situation regarding a universal morality, you are always going to get people who wilfully disregard the moral imperatives - but this doesn't imply the moral structure doesn't exist within their consciousness. Eventually such people may desensitise themselves to the point these morals simply have no bearing on their response to their behaviour. If one was to ask a professional assassin, for example, if murder is wrong, I would think the answer would be yes, it's just that the professional assassin does not care. Of course I am speculating and I could be wrong in my assessment. Has anyone done case studies with the military (not that they are professional assassins, but they are trained to have to kill) with the purpose of identifying such behaviour?

Naturally there will be individuals who are dysfunctional, having some physiological cause for their different behaviour, but I think we could agree that this has no bearing on the concept of universal morality.

you are delving into the area of learned behaviour which, in essence is much of what morality and collective agreements come down to.

What is most interesting is how the expectation of a univerality or absolute, and/or with this the authority to impose an individual morality onto another we get division not unification. It creates the problems, it does not solve them.

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Sherapy
Hence why when he strives to be more moral than is asked of him ,I find it a beautiful thing.

Bravey very well said and I agree

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eqgumby
we could start there.

religion has codified what is meant by guilt within its own framework, but more interesting is exploring the evolutionary roots of it.

I can not think of any anthropological studies that have tried to address at what point of social development guilt would have arisen. It would be difficult to pinpoint, but if demonstration of what we could conclude is guilt can be identified in other primates we would be off to a good start. I can't think of any primate guilt research, but closely related are the chimp justice research which demonstrate core social concepts exist without any religion.

I looked for some primate/guilt info but found remarkably little. I did reference a paper/study done that explores evolutionary roles of guilt or shame a while back, which was also disregarded. I'll look for the post.

Here ya go. This is a link I thought was relevant at the time.

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/...esslerShame.pdf

Edited by eqgumby

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Sherapy
A more personal response.

Once, as as a lad of about 18, I borrowed my parent's car. That was Ok as i had their permission. However, I also borrowed/took the keys to our shack/beach house, about 30 K's away. I did not tell my parents this, because i knew they would not approve of the fact that i was taking a young lady there for the evening.

As fate would have it i got unlucky, rather than lucky, hitting a Kangaroo a few Kilometers before we got to the shack. The car was driveable but had considerable front end damage. I then had to explain how I could have hit a kangaroo, and fortunately decided to be honest with my parents, because i knew that their disappointment in my actions would only be compounded if I lied about it. This was lucky, because, as always, my parents already knew what i had planned, having noticed that the shack key was missing from the refrigerator.

My parents never expressed any anger, disappointment or other negative emotion over this incident, and yet then, and even now, i felt some shame. I have tried to analyse why and it comes down to my earlier post.

What i had chosen to do was "wrong," both by my moral code and by my parents ( I accept that this code is not universal). It was wrong slightly, in my actions with the girl, and more significantly, in my chosing to deceive my parents. This was wrong because I had already learned that a positive relationship depends on trust, and my parents had always trusted me. Therefore, my actions were inappropriate.

I was lucky that i was honest with them, after the event, as this reduced both my level of shame and their disappointment in my choices. I don't remember my parents inducing any feeling of shame in me, it was just an appropriate response to the situation.

Well Mr. walker i would say this supports my OP.... "I did not tell my parents this, because i knew they would NOT APPROVE of the fact that i was taking a young lady there for the evening." shame is not natural its taught as is guilt .....

your moral code is taught by parenting and society etc....

"after the event, as this reduced both my level of shame and their disappointment in my choices. I don't remember my parents inducing any feeling of shame in me, it was just an appropriate response to the situation.'

thi sis exactly what i am referring too, guilt and shame is taught .... does the little baby feel ashamed for relieving himself in his diapers of course not. does the young man'lady who pleasures themselves feel ashamed and guilty heck no not until they are taught to......

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eqgumby
Well Mr. walker i would say this supports my OP.... "I did not tell my parents this, because i knew they would NOT APPROVE of the fact that i was taking a young lady there for the evening." shame is not natural its taught as is guilt .....

your moral code is taught by parenting and society etc....

"after the event, as this reduced both my level of shame and their disappointment in my choices. I don't remember my parents inducing any feeling of shame in me, it was just an appropriate response to the situation.'

thi sis exactly what i am referring too, guilt and shame is taught .... does the little baby feel ashamed for relieving himself in his diapers of course not. does the young man'lady who pleasures themselves feel ashamed and guilty heck no not until they are taught to......

I think it's been shown repeatedly that shame/guilt are parts of emotion, and are natural responses in self-aware beings. Essentially part of what makes us human. I even posted references that indicate that shame/guilt responses are part of the evolutionary process. Did you just not read them?

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joc
Bottom line hyper and Sheri you would both absolutely intervene. You are just saying you wouldn't because you want to pretend that your morality is not there for some odd reason.

Of course you would intervene. Anyone would and I think the reason why is that when children are involved we are called to duty in a way that is exempt from societal constructs.

How is it that you can carry on for pages blasting my statement that I would give my life for another and then you come up with this?! You can't really have it both ways.

But then I read this:

I believe in everyone on this site and I believe that you all are the kind of people who care about others and would try to help them based on your own individual morality.

and I have to say ...well done... :tu:

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eqgumby
How is it that you can carry on for pages blasting my statement that I would give my life for another and then you come up with this?! You can't really have it both ways.

But then I read this:

and I have to say ...well done... :tu:

I think it's just disbelief that someone would intellectualize something of this nature. It's easier to pause and think about saving a person from a burning car that they crashed because they were drunk, yada yada...

But harder for some people to visualize applying logic to the hypothetical situation True was talking about. Maybe it's social constructs...I hate that word now. Eww.

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Sherapy
I think it's been shown repeatedly that shame/guilt are parts of emotion, and are natural responses in self-aware beings. Essentially part of what makes us human. I even posted references that indicate that shame/guilt responses are part of the evolutionary process. Did you just not read them?

eggy it has been shown that guilt and shame are taught behaviors, a self aware individual has no use for guilt or shame how self aware is one who is using religious constructs from way back, old ideas applying them to todays issues..no need to answer I think you get the point... :tu: .... LOL ...

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hyperactive
I looked for some primate/guilt info but found remarkably little. I did reference a paper/study done that explores evolutionary roles of guilt or shame a while back, which was also disregarded. I'll look for the post.

Here ya go. This is a link I thought was relevant at the time.

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/faculty/...esslerShame.pdf

that link gave a 404 file not found error.

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eqgumby
eggy it has been shown that guilt and shame are taught behaviors, a self aware individual has no use for guilt or shame how self aware is one who is using religious constructs from way back, old ideas applying them to todays issues..no need to answer I think you get the point... :tu: .... LOL ...

Again, you REFUSE to look at research that shows otherwise. You simply state your opinion as if it is fact ,and expect the world to swallow it. Your pretentious behavior is astounding to me. Obviously the anonymity the internet offers has enabled you to exude this self serving attitude with little if any backlash. Consider this your wake-up call. You're on notice. Anytime that I see you behaving this way, I will gladly point it out. If you can't tell the difference between fact and opinion, I suggest you stick to your blogs, where no one can openly disagree with you.

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MissMelsWell
eggy it has been shown that guilt and shame are taught behaviors, a self aware individual has no use for guilt or shame how self aware is one who is using religious constructs from way back, old ideas applying them to todays issues..no need to answer I think you get the point... :tu: .... LOL ...

Shown by who?

And if that's true that it is taught, so what? Someone taught me to tie my shoes so I wouldn't fall over and break my face on the pavement. For Pete sake, look at who you're talking to... Me, the person who theoretically doesn't even believe in formal education or being formally taught anything really (until maybe college, jury is out on that one still) I didn't even educate my own kid by the standards of society--I probably even broke the law, but no one seemed to care enough to turn me in. The key word there is "theoretical" ... theories are cute and stuff, but they aren't always real OR practical in their entirety, I figured that out a LONG time ago.... looks like you have a long way to go before you figure it out.

**washing hands** Of this thread.

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eqgumby
Shown by who?

And if that's true that it is taught, so what? Someone taught me to tie my shoes so I wouldn't fall over and break my face on the pavement. For Pete sake, look at who you're talking to... Me, the person who theoretically doesn't even believe in formal education or being formally taught anything really (until maybe college, jury is out on that one still) I didn't even educate my own kid by the standards of society--I probably even broke the law, but no one seemed to care enough to turn me in. The key word there is "theoretical" ... theories are cute and stuff, but they aren't always real OR practical in their entirety, I figured that out a LONG time ago.... looks like you have a long way to go before you figure it out.

**washing hands** Of this thread.

Sheri just will not listen to or consider anything that does not support her position. Don't even bother. You're right though, shown by who? No one that I've seen but her and her anecdotal evidence. No matter HOW MANY TIMES SHE SAYS IT, it does not make it true.

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eqgumby
thank you. Good find and something I think everybody in this thread should look over as it touches on several issues raised in this thread.

Thanks for the validation.

I skimmed through it and found some points I thought were relevant as I said, then was promptly ignored. Pretty frustrating. I think it addresses social as well natural issues that have been touched on here. That's why when Sheri insists that it's learned behavior and religion is responsible for it, it just maddens me! Why start a thread like this, then TOTALLY disregard an opposing view backed up by research? Because it doesn't fall in line with your view? it reminds me of the global warming issue. Because a scientist has a set of data that disagrees with Al Gores proposed hypothesis, he should be fired, ridiculed and jailed? Sorry, that's not how this world SHOULD work, and not how the country I live in was designed to work.

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John from Lowell
Shown by who?

And if that's true that it is taught, so what? Someone taught me to tie my shoes so I wouldn't fall over and break my face on the pavement. For Pete sake, look at who you're talking to... Me, the person who theoretically doesn't even believe in formal education or being formally taught anything really (until maybe college, jury is out on that one still) I didn't even educate my own kid by the standards of society--I probably even broke the law, but no one seemed to care enough to turn me in. The key word there is "theoretical" ... theories are cute and stuff, but they aren't always real OR practical in their entirety, I figured that out a LONG time ago.... looks like you have a long way to go before you figure it out.

**washing hands** Of this thread.

From my point of view there is much to admire about each one of you. I suspect both of you are insightful and wise and very much like the other in that you both have independant thinking. It would not surprize me that the shadow self in each of you relates to the other.

I myself feel strongly that we create our own reality, and that even though we may need to learn from our various {mistakes ?}, it is not productive to feel shame and guilt about them.

John

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Shadow_Hill

Someone (I think it was LR) posted some info (or a link to some info) that said feeling guilty for up to five minutes was desirable. How many of us feel guilty for only five minutes and are actively encouraged to cease feeling guilty after that? How many of us feel that a person who has upset/hurt us should only feel guilty for five minutes? I know a number of women who wouldn't be satisfied after just five minutes. If a person is trying to stop eating cake (she's on a diet) and she feels guilty constantly for eating that cake, how is that feeling productive, given that she continues to eat the cake and feels guilty for days, maybe even weeks?

And take a situation where there is no victim... nobody who is wronged. A homosexual who is in a relationship, who is encouraged to feel guilt and shame for being who she/he is... how is that guilt/shame meant to be productive? What effect is it meant to produce?

The woman who terminates a pregnancy is encouraged by those who oppose abortion to feel guilt and shame, but what purpose does it serve? She cannot resurrect the child. There is no behaviour pattern to be altered. Why should she feel guilt or shame?

I'm not denying that humans feel guilt and shame, or that it has its place, but we seem to be encouraged to feel it for all the wrong reasons, at the wrong times, and for a period of time which much exceeds five minutes.

Religion may not be the sole cause for us feeling guilt and shame, but it thrives off those emotions all the same. I asked a friend a couple of days ago, with this thread in mind, whether or not (as a non-saved person) I should feel guilt and shame. Her response was yes, because I am an unworthy sinner and have not been forgiven. I asked her if guilt and shame were beneficial, and she told me that as a Christian she does seek to inspire a non-believer to wade in their feelings of guilt and shame because this is instrumental in bringing non-believers to Jesus. Her pastor is a great fan of sin, when it comes to non-believers, because the more sins a non-believer commits the more shame and guilt he is bound to end up feeling, and when he eventually feels he can no longer carry the burden he will find his way to Jesus. :blink:

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Sherapy

i said i was exploring the use of guilt and shame in relgiion ...

John, I agree its unproductive and not nessecary to feel guilt or shame as presented by religion to self regulate ones behaviors or self correct .....

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IamsSon
i said i was exploring the use of guilt and shame in relgiion ...

John, I agree its unproductive and not nessecary to feel guilt or shame as presented by religion to self regulate ones behaviors or self correct .....

So, are you now saying that there is a different type of guilt and shame? How do the religiously instituted guilt and shame differ from the not religiously instituted type? Does the non-religiously instituted type allow for one not to feel guilty if they do nothing to try to save someone in trouble?

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Sherapy
So, are you now saying that there is a different type of guilt and shame? How do the religiously instituted guilt and shame differ from the not religiously instituted type? Does the non-religiously instituted type allow for one not to feel guilty if they do nothing to try to save someone in trouble?

no son I am not saying any such thing......its important we stay on track here, many spend years mired in guilt and many think you should hang on to it forever and that you should feel bad about yourself.......but guilt and regret are not the same thing...because i have stooped using guilt or shame doesn't mean i do not have regret on occassion...... yet son regret is instructive while guilt is debilatating, crippling..we are growing as humans and the idea is to move forward To make something worthwhile out of our journeys. to learn from our mistakes and apply the wisdoms not repeatt he same things over and over as i observe happens........i do not observe religion to encompass this message its about getting back at one, revenge, taking a fall, taking ones medicine., punishment as payment. the price is self punishing not growth or correcting., this has been addressed through out the post.....

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Leonardo
no son I am not saying any such thing......its important we stay on track here, many spend years mired in guilt and many think you should hang on to it forever and that you should feel bad about yourself.......but guilt and regret are not the same thing...because i have stooped using guilt or shame doesn't mean i do not have regret on occassion...... yet son regret is instructive while guilt is debilatating, crippling..we are growing as humans and the idea is to move forward To make something worthwhile out of our journeys. to learn from our mistakes and apply the wisdoms not repeatt he same things over and over as i observe happens........i do not observe religion to encompass this message its about getting back at one, revenge, taking a fall, taking ones medicine., punishment as payment. the price is self punishing not growth or correcting., this has been addressed through out the post.....

I would say, Sheri, that neither guilt nor shame are crippling or debilitating. It is entirely down to the individual as to how they wish to use these emotions.

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