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Sherapy

Religion and shame

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Sherapy
Hi Sheri, I don't think it encourages shame; rather, it encourages humility. According to Wikipedia

"Humility is the state of being humble. A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. Humility is not to be confused with humiliation, which is the act of making someone else feel ashamed, and is seen as something completely different. "

I have a deep belief that in our society nowadays we are very much lacking in humility. I've been to another country and there I saw many humble religious people. I have also known people from other countries who are very humble. So I don't believe that religion encourages shame, but it encourages humility not only towards our fellow man but in every area of our life and especially towards God.

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth." (Matthew 5:5)

linked-image

the truly humble see no less thans or other thans to begin with , they see that all of life is integeral to the whole..they do not see anything as separate from the whole let alone inferior and less ...meek and humble is confused with door mat and shrinking violet and subservience and 'roles' ...

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Sherapy
Exactly. I touched on this pages back. Because of how tightly religions are intertwined into their cultures/societies it can be difficult to separate out exactly where the religious influence begins and ends at times, but it is there - in the codification of behaviour. With regard to why people do not explore what motivates their feelings and accept what they are taught is because this is part of how humans evolved to make learning more efficient. Humans mimic the behaviours of others to learn. In simple cases it works quite well, but it does indeed allow for errant concepts to be passed on.

Most are not self created creatures most are other created creatures....Not to be a party poopper here but self awareness is not encouraged in religion let alone understood..

this bears repeating.....

Yet the distinctive point here is relgionists tell you to STOP listening to yourself. using every fear they can think of to get you to see that intuitively knowing and feeling is wrong and the only comfort for you is in their ideas, their thoughts, their definitions of right and wrong and their ideas on who they say you are including guilt and shame and the seduction here is all you have to do is agree and in that agreement you are saved..but what are you agreeing too???

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Sherapy
Forced mental/spiritual confinement... from my viewpoint.

S. IMO I see little spirituality in religion, the construct, the system.... IMo we are all spiritual innately.... If one is participating in the life journey they are spiritual....how one defines their spirituality is their choice..

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eqgumby
Yet the distinctive point here is relgionists tell you to stop listening to yourself using every fear they can think of to get you to see that intuitively knowing and feeling is wrong and the only comfort for you is in their ideas, their thoughts their definitions of right and wrong and their ideas on who they say you are including guilt and shame and the seduction here is all you have to do is agree and in that agreement you are saved..but what are you agreeing too???

I think you're wrong. I think most religions are there to be used for guidance, or should be used in that manner. Of course their are people that can't, that NEED to adhere rigidly, because without they would be left adrift, unable to deal with their own morals and feelings. That may be a personal short coming, but it's true of many

Other religions require STRICT adherence. Todays most startling example is Islamic extremism. Wear the wrong clothing, and you are eligible for state sponsored execution.

I personally knew a very "Christian" individual. He was very irritating. All money to the church, 4 services a week, Sundays ALL day, reading the bible all the time...he was just MANIC about it.

I mentioned it to a co-worker, as I was involved in work with this person and felt his religion was a burden on our combined efforts. It was explained to me that prior to "finding" Jesus, this guy was a drunk, a brawler, often spending weekends in jail, had a string of women behind him of dubious repute, had wrecked his car while drunk, and lost thousands of dollars in an assortment of bad ways. It appeared that religion and it's constraints made this guy a better person to society, although maybe more irritating on a personal level.

The only reason I mention this individual case, is because in this one instance, religion worked for this person where other alternatives failed. The shame he felt when not living up to his churches expectations kept him from harming himself, others, and being a drain on society.

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texasgirlheather
Hi Sheri, I don't think it encourages shame; rather, it encourages humility. According to Wikipedia

"Humility is the state of being humble. A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. Humility is not to be confused with humiliation, which is the act of making someone else feel ashamed, and is seen as something completely different. "

I have a deep belief that in our society nowadays we are very much lacking in humility. I've been to another country and there I saw many humble religious people. I have also known people from other countries who are very humble. So I don't believe that religion encourages shame, but it encourages humility not only towards our fellow man but in every area of our life and especially towards God.

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth." (Matthew 5:5)

linked-image

Thank you so much for that. Celumnaz mentioned it in the beginning of this thread and it was lost in the ensuing madness; humility and shame actually are two different things. Each has their place in Christianity; shame was what brought us to our knees to accept His offer, but humility is what we experience when we are close with Him, and it is a good thing.

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joc
I agree that all churches are corrupt in some way or other, because any activity or organization where imperfect beings are involved will by definition be corrupt. However, since Jesus called us to gather in His name, and since even the earliest Christians gathered as a body of believers, gathering as a "church" is a proper thing to do as a Christian.

As a full-time staff member of a church I can tell you a couple of things you may not be aware of.

And that is another thing the churches do...twist scripture to make it fit their unique niche! Jesus didn't call us to gather in His name. He said...Where ever two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I also in the midst. Small, insignificant point I concede...nonetheless...

Yes folks have from the beginning of Christianity gathered together to pray and read scriptures...but not like the churches today...then THEY were the church and they gathered in each others homes in small numbers. I'm sure you will say that the christians are still the church...but I would venture that this is not the case. In this day and age, the ORGANIZATION is the church. The believers just pay the bills.

I know all about paying bills IAMSON. I pay them, the church pays them...my whole point is that I work very hard for the money I get and then I pay my bills. The churches don't, they just pass the plate and if it isn't enough they make you feel guilty for not giving enough. Yes, I know preachers don't have it easy... never said they did...and yes I know many aren't making much of a living doing such. I know all that. And as I said...I am not judging the churches...not my job...already been done by the One that matters. I am saying that the churches use Guilt and Shame as tools and that is wrong.

I don't think Religion created Guilt and Shame...I think they are emotional issues not unlike anger and hate. But they are NEGATIVE emotions just the same. Call them emotions, call then learned responses...they are NEGATIVE in that they do not uplift the spirit or soul but rather the opposite. And they are tools used by many for a variety of purposes.

Guilt and Shame. Don't need 'em. Don't want 'em. Not going to have them. I have the right and I have the power to choose that these not be in the workings of my thought process. As do all...not all choose the way I do, but nonetheless, the choice is there for all.

Edited by joc

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Sherapy
I think you're wrong. I think most religions are there to be used for guidance, or should be used in that manner. Of course their are people that can't, that NEED to adhere rigidly, because without they would be left adrift, unable to deal with their own morals and feelings. That may be a personal short coming, but it's true of many

Other religions require STRICT adherence. Todays most startling example is Islamic extremism. Wear the wrong clothing, and you are eligible for state sponsored execution.

I personally knew a very "Christian" individual. He was very irritating. All money to the church, 4 services a week, Sundays ALL day, reading the bible all the time...he was just MANIC about it.

I mentioned it to a co-worker, as I was involved in work with this person and felt his religion was a burden on our combined efforts. It was explained to me that prior to "finding" Jesus, this guy was a drunk, a brawler, often spending weekends in jail, had a string of women behind him of dubious repute, had wrecked his car while drunk, and lost thousands of dollars in an assortment of bad ways. It appeared that religion and it's constraints made this guy a better person to society, although maybe more irritating on a personal level.

The only reason I mention this individual case, is because in this one instance, religion worked for this person where other alternatives failed. The shame he felt when not living up to his churches expectations kept him from harming himself, others, and being a drain on society.

Eggy let me be clear the system itself is very rigid especially the Abrahamics, but this is not to say that the way one filters the experince or the awareness they bring to the construct can not change things dramatically....

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IamsSon
Eggy let me be clear the system itself is very rigid especially the Abrahamics, but this is not to say that the way one filters the experince or the awareness they bring to the construct can not change things dramatically....

What is the rigidity you're talking about, Sheri?

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Sherapy

don't think Religion created Guilt and Shame...I think they are emotional issues not unlike anger and hate. But they are NEGATIVE emotions just the same. Call them emotions, call then learned responses...they are NEGATIVE in that they do not uplift the spirit or soul but rather the opposite. And they are tools used by many for a variety of purposes.

good point Joc, exactly they are not designed to move one forward, to heal the moment , as a being i am seeking a win win for myself and all others i can't fathom asking anyone to harm themselves, to kneel in humiliation to self correct......... they are there to keep one stagnant IMO....one does the very best they can given the models they have and self correcting is to propel one to their best based on what is natural to them not based in a 'sin sense'' not everyone needs training wheels and yet for those who do that is their choice .....

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IamsSon
don't think Religion created Guilt and Shame...I think they are emotional issues not unlike anger and hate. But they are NEGATIVE emotions just the same. Call them emotions, call then learned responses...they are NEGATIVE in that they do not uplift the spirit or soul but rather the opposite. And they are tools used by many for a variety of purposes.

good point Joc, exactly they are not designed to move one forward, to heal the moment , as a being i am seeking a win win for myself and all others i can't fathom asking anyone to harm themselves, to kneel in humiliation to self correct......... they are there to keep one stagnant IMO....one does the very best they can given the models they have and self correcting is to propel one to their best based on what is natural to them not based in a 'sin sense'' not everyone needs training wheels and yet for those who do that is their choice .....

Sheri, if people see these "constructs" and "models" as having a positive impact in their life, as giving them true hope and purpose, aren't you violating your beliefs by telling them they are wrong? By insulting what they believe aren't you causing pain?

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Sherapy
Sheri, if people see these "constructs" and "models" as having a positive impact in their life, as giving them true hope and purpose, aren't you violating your beliefs by telling them they are wrong? By insulting what they believe aren't you causing pain?

don't do rights wrongs remember son, so whats going on here my freind ???? why all the guilt???? why the need to be a victim son????

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MissMelsWell

Didn't I post the definition for duplicity a few pages back? That's negative too.

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Shadow_Hill
Sheri, if people see these "constructs" and "models" as having a positive impact in their life, as giving them true hope and purpose, aren't you violating your beliefs by telling them they are wrong? By insulting what they believe aren't you causing pain?

I've watched friends become Christians. I've seen the positive changes, and I've thought it was a good choice for them. And then I've watched them suffer because they encountered a situation which left them torn. Their faith was a positive thing until it stopped being, and then I would wish for them to change course so that their pain could end. We should never outstay our welcome on any path, and it should only be considered beneficial while it continues to be. I've watched too many people stay in the church well after they should have left, and the anguish they go through has pained me. It's also not something that everyone finds beneficial in the first place, and families trying to talk their relatives into taking up a faith and forcing them to feel shameful for living their lives is in no way beneficial.

I respect my aunt's right to believe. I don't respect her right to force her Catholicism on her children and bring them up to believe they need to be forever playing catch up and asking for forgiveness when they do not believe as she does.

Some thrive in their faith - whichever faith that happens to be. Others don't do so well.

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Sherapy
What is the rigidity you're talking about, Sheri?

Son truth is not exterior to you or anyone certainly you can beleive this but( this is what i mean by rigid), the source is within you anyone for that matter.. anyone who wishes to know more can simply go deeply within, and you will see you are the beloved because love becomes you, it makes one look very wonderful it turns into you as you turn into it , it transforms , yet its sort of like wisdom one looks within for that too..because these are the exeprinces that are personal and lasting..so if you want to know go within, you can meditate , ponder stand on your head my freind you know why becsaue you ar all you need anyways...

Just aliitle wisdom for you....but i have no preference how you receive this or if you do.....

Edited by Supra Sheri

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IamsSon
don't do rights wrongs remember son, so whats going on here my freind ???? why all the guilt???? why the need to be a victim son????

the need to be a victim? What are you talking about? I was pointing out you seem to actually be going against what you believe by slamming the "constructs" and "models" that give people hope.

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Sherapy
I've watched friends become Christians. I've seen the positive changes, and I've thought it was a good choice for them. And then I've watched them suffer because they encountered a situation which left them torn. Their faith was a positive thing until it stopped being, and then I would wish for them to change course so that their pain could end. We should never outstay our welcome on any path, and it should only be considered beneficial while it continues to be. I've watched too many people stay in the church well after they should have left, and the anguish they go through has pained me. It's also not something that everyone finds beneficial in the first place, and families trying to talk their relatives into taking up a faith and forcing them to feel shameful for living their lives is in no way beneficial.

I respect my aunt's right to believe. I don't respect her right to force her Catholicism on her children and bring them up to believe they need to be forever playing catch up and asking for forgiveness when they do not believe as she does.

Some thrive in their faith - whichever faith that happens to be. Others don't do so well.

S this is beautiful and so real... and i too have observed this so much too much......

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joc
Didn't I post the definition for duplicity a few pages back? That's negative too.

Why as a matter of fact you did. I asked you who it was directed at but never received a response. Interesting how you just throw that out there and we are supposed to know what your mind is thinking in the context of it. I don't know what you are talking about actually.

Shall I throw out the dictionary spelling and definitions of the word: Hypocrisy ...and just leave it hanging there?

It may be cute to some but it is lost on me. I view it as the equivalent to 'name calling' except without naming anyone...

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MissMelsWell
Why as a matter of fact you did. I asked you who it was directed at but never received a response. Interesting how you just throw that out there and we are supposed to know what your mind is thinking in the context of it. I don't know what you are talking about actually.

Shall I throw out the dictionary spelling and definitions of the word: Hypocrisy ...and just leave it hanging there?

It may be cute to some but it is lost on me. I view it as the equivalent to 'name calling' except without naming anyone...

Yes, name calling is wrong, and people should feel guilty when they do it. huh?

Being obtuse and leaving comments out there to hang when no one understands them is wrong too huh? Maybe I should be ashamed?

If not, then why point it out at all?

Edited by MissMelsWell

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Sherapy
the need to be a victim? What are you talking about? I was pointing out you seem to actually be going against what you believe by slamming the "constructs" and "models" that give people hope.

thats being a victim and again why the need ???? saying it is raining outside is an observation to say its a bad sin for raining outside is saying there is ...."bashing and slammiing"....no such thing has been said .....

the value you place on yourself or your beleifs has nothing to do with me , your worth isn't in my hands its in yours, your self exceptance is also in yours no one can take that from you not by disagreeing with a POV...i don't need to agree with you to validate your journey only you do this this is true power........... because I already know you are the beloved....i see you as a brother son...

Edited by Supra Sheri

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IamsSon
thats being a victim and again why the need ???? saying it is raining outside is an observation to say its a bad sin for raining outside is saying there is ...."bashing and slammiing"....no such thing has been said .....

the value you place on yourself or your beleifs has nothing to do with me , your worth isn't in my hands its in yours, your self exceptance is also in yours no one can take that from you not by disagreeing with a POV...i don't need to agree with you to validate your journey only you do this this is true power........... because I already know you are the beloved....i see you as a brother son...

Ahh, I see you think I'm saying this because what you say hurts me. I guess I should clear that up, what you think or don't think about the "constructs" and "models" I have means little to me in a personal impact way. I think what you say about them is worth discussing because I like to give others the opportunity to see a different point of view, not because I'm personally impacted by it. I was talking about people in general, you see when you and I write posts here, we are not the only ones reading them, there are quite a few other people who in their wanderings through UM will read what we've written and although it does not impact me, it may come across as hurtful to others.

I'm glad we agree you have no impact on my views. You might want to stop worrying also about needing to validate my journey, it's not necessary.

I will agree with you that we all have the truth in us, and that we are loved. If we didn't have the truth already within us we would be unable to realize that we are doing wrong and that we are missing something. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) We are all definitely loved.

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Mr Walker
OK, the very first sentence...I think you may want to expand on that statement. I don't think you were taught NOT to feel shame, but rather to feel it when appropriate, and to learn from your experiences. I mean that makes sense. But being taught not to feel shame is like being taught NOT to feel joy. I'm sure it can be done, but it violates human nature, and I still think would lead to a diagnosable psychological illness/defect. I'm not really contradicting you here, just trying to clarify.

An example would be, my child fails a class in school. I ask him why. We come to the determination that it's because he did not do the homework and complete the projects as directed. Not that he's stupid. Just that he CHOSE not to do the work. He feels bad, because I am disappointed in the poor decision he made. He self corrects along with my encouragement, because he FEELS BAD that I am disappointed. (He finally got a B, and a "Good job, that was easy wasn't it?" from Dad. He bashfully smiled and said "Yes. Sorry." He got back a "No sweat. Lets go fishing!" End of drama.)

I think it has now been fully debated from both sides, but my point was that while my moral/ ethical code was taught/ learned from others, my responses to this code are "innate", either a product of evolution, or of being an image of my creator (take your pick).

One piece of evidence for this is, that while ethics and moral codes around the world are largely culturally specific, because they are learned from the culture, responses to breaking such codes (be they fear, guilt shame or other), are universal, pointing to these as an intrinsic element of humanity, rather than a learned response.

Thus, while we need to be taught what to fear, our biological responses to fear are preprogrammed. The same applies with ethical questions. Once our mind knows what our "society" sees as apropriate behaviour, we are genetically programmed to respond in certain ways.

This is a natural element of the evolution of a species whose survival has always depended on the strength of a group rather than of individuals. It probably is part of an evolved correlationship between our unique self aware consciousness, and the development of human responses to the questions this raises.

In other words, while fish and birds have evolved schooling and random changes in movement as survival mechanisms, humans have evolved programmed responses to certain emotional situations as well as environmental ones. The simplest and most easily defined of these is our biological response to fear.

OR, It is all part of our god granted humanity.

Edited by Mr Walker

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eqgumby
I think it has now been fully debated from both sides, but my point was that while my moral/ ethical code was taught/ learned from others, my responses to this code are "innate", either a product of evolution, or of being an image of my creator (take your pick)

Thus, while we need to be taught what to fear, our biological responses to fear are preprogrammed. The same applies with ethical questions. Once our mind know what our "society" sees as apropriate behaviour, we are genetically programmed to respond in certain ways.

This is a natural element of the evolution of a species whose survival has always depended on the strength of a group rather than of individuals. It probably is part of an evolved correlationship between our unique self aware consciousness, and the development of human responses to the questions this raises.

In other words, while fish and birds have evolved schooling and random changes in movement as survival mechanisms, humans have evolved programmed responses to certain emotional situations as well as environmental ones. The simplest and most easily defined of these is our biological response to fear.

OR, It is all part of our god granted humanity.

HA! :yes:

You just had to throw in that last sentence!

I agree for the most part, I just think that your responses may be learned as well as innate.

An example is, early man had no sexual taboos, and many cultures still don't. They mated whenever and wherever it seemed like the time. YOU would probably jump if I walked in on you and a partner gettin down with it and all that jazz. Because we have learned that we should keep our sexual encounters discreet.

I think we are on the same page, there are just some "overlaps" if you will on both sides.

Edited to say: Great post. I wish you had weighed in 1000 posts ago!

Edited by eqgumby

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Mr Walker

Thanks eqqumby, I also meant to add that I think you may have misread my opening sentence which was, "I was not taught to feel shame" and not, "I was taught not to feel shame", which you seemed to think I was saying.

Also I am not sure how correct you are about early man. One of the dividing lines between man and primates is that self aware consciousnes which leads us to develop ethic and responses . If they were truly human then I think they did have ethical codes even though we may not recognise them.

There probably were taboos on who could have sex with whom, even if they were just evolving from biological precedents such as fertility and the drive for each man to reproduce the species in his own image. In Primates, our most closely evolved comparison, males will not only "rape" all the available females, once they have taken over a group, but also kill their offspring to ensure the propogation of their genetic code.

This makes perfect evolutionary sense in its purest form but is not necessarily good evolutionary practice for the formation of a society, or extended clan of people, which our species needed to survive and evolve.

Edited by Mr Walker

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MUM24/7
I was not taught to feel shame (or guilt). As others have said, this is an innate biological response. More research has been done on anger to prove this point, but it also applies to other emotional reactions such as shame.

I was taught a moral/ethical code. While i am prepared to accept personal variances to a moral /ethical code, any one who believes it is not necessary to have one, or particularly fails to instal one in children for whom they are responsible, is a natural menace to anyone they or their children interact with.

In 35 years i have taught thousands of children. Apart from genetic sociopaths, the most dangerous future members of society are always those who have not internalised a moral code. without such a code you may as well make decisions based on the throw of a dice, because you will not be making them on any real logical or rational basis.

The best example of this is the simplest. If you see nothing wrong with lying and do not appreciate the personal and social problems this causes, you will lie just as often as you tell the truth. Your actions will be random and unpredictable, partly because you don't see the danger even in self delusion, let alone misleading others. It is not even the lying that is a problem. Society works on the presumption that most people will tell the truth most of the time. Try a conversation with someone where you alternate one true response with one false one.

So,I felt shame as a logical and natural human response to breaking a commonly understood social contract. My parents had taught and illustrated to me at a very young age that any punishment/ criticism was directed at my behaviour, not me as a person, and I knew that my behaviour had disappointed them. How could I fail to have an emotional response to this disappointment.

The two examples you give are not really relevant. a child does not understand pooping its pants. m********ion is a natural human response to sexual tension. No, people should not be taught it is bad. However, a child who is given no guidance in the matter will end up just as psychologically disturbed as well as being in all sorts of trouble, when they act on their instincts.

Thus, some Ethical code should be taught about it eg. Not a good idea to do it in public. Now if one choses to break this moral/ethical code, I believe it is a good idea that they should feel some shame/ guilt about it. Society needs moral /ethical codes to indicate acceptable/unacceptable behaviour., and there is no point in having codes of behaviour, without applicable personal (embarrassment) and societal (legal punishment) sanctions.

:tu::yes::tu::yes:

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Shadow_Hill
If we didn't have the truth already within us we would be unable to realize that we are doing wrong and that we are missing something. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) We are all definitely loved.

What are we missing?

Oh, and if by "sinners" you're refering to sin as in deliberate disobedience to the known will of god... I'm no sinner. ;)

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