Contraception, Morality, Conservative Christians and Shame

I was involved in a comment section discussion for another blog post entitled “Breaking Sex.” The blog itself is a community for conservative Christians so it follows that they have a strong anti-contraception philosophy. Basically the author argued that contraception goes against the natural order of rolling the dice every time the urge to have sex is acted upon. Because the use of contraception goes against the natural order it is illicit and immoral. As evidence of the immorality of contraception the author points out the negative impact contraception has on the fertility rate and how a population that uses contraception will naturally be replaced by a population that does not use contraception and this is all indicative of God’s will.

It is always a little dangerous for me to get involved in comment section discussions, especially ones involving religion or politics. Although not my intent, people often interpret my view-point as hostile and accuse me (directly or through implication) of trolling. Once this happens it is easy to fall into the back and forth flame war type discussion. I used to relish this type of interaction but now I do my best to avoid them.

As I have stated many times before on my blog, these types of interactions are seemingly never about the actual ideas being discussed. They seem to always be about passive-aggressively shaming the other person. Of course this is always denied by both sides.

The Christian conservatives seemed to be arguing in favor of using shame as a means of enforcing morality on an otherwise immoral population. Specifically as to contraception one commenter argued life was better in the 1950’s when the use of contraception was outlawed both legally but also through shame and public opinion. I argued that shame is a poor means of motivating people to act morally because they will only do so grudgingly and with resentment. Further, when a person is shamed they tend to want to shame other people and it spreads like a virus creating a population of unhappy, repressed, dishonest and angry people.

This conversation does raise an interesting question. Is shame ever justified?

In his book Healing the Shame that Binds You author John Bradshaw argues that there is healthy shame and toxic shame. Healthy shame is normal and occurs when a person acts wrong and is repentant for acting that way. Toxic shame generally results from abusive situations and results in people carrying shame around with them wherever they go. They feel shame all the time in other words. I tend to overlook the healthy kind but I suppose there is a place for that. In my opinion most of the shame I see is the toxic variety so I have adopted a more sweeping anti-shame philosophy than probably John Bradshaw would espouse. Perhaps my situation is unique and my mindset is biased.

It is my observation that conservatives tend to be pro-shame as a glue that holds society together. Liberals use shame as well but generally to argue for freedom from an oppressive societal forces like religion or oppressive morality. My general feeling on the subject is that shame creates and spreads misery. In this respect I do not view shame as a fair trade-off for a well-organized society.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Contraception, Morality, Conservative Christians and Shame

  1. thordaddy

    WinstonScrooge…

    You must dig deeper and recognize that you inserted into the debate a point that is then utilized to obscure a self-certainty meticulously sought by the genuine Christian.

    IF *you* grant that contraception, ie., against conception, equals self-annihilation THEN *you* would be attuned to the idea that this equation is no more inherently shame-filled than the equations 1=1 or hot=hot or WinstonScrooge=WinstonScrooge.

    So in fact, *you* have, consciously or unconsciously, inserted into this debate a notion of “shame” that has no place AMONGST THOSE DESIROUS of Truth and then subsequently serve the purpose of REJECTING the assertion that contraception = self-annihilation.

    *YOU* are, for all intents and purposes, claiming that contraception does not actually mean “against conception” and thus FOR self-annihilation ALL THE WHILE keeping the crowd uncertain over the non-issue of shame.

    IF *you* grant the unassailable equation:

    Contraception = self-annihilation…

    Then its illicitness and illegality are SIGNS of a well-ordered society. And likewise, its licitness and legality a sign of degeneracy for there is nothing more degenerate than desire for self-annihilation.

    • I use contraception. I have two beautiful children and am in love with my wife. Your accusation that I am somehow in favor of self annihilation seems crazy to me and frankly shame-based.

  2. thordaddy

    Yes…

    You use contraception to go against conception… Meaning, you are TRYING TO NOT conceive another beautiful child. The question, or rather, the assertion is that this is ultimately an act of self-annihilation. You disagree. BUT SHAME HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF IT.

    I say…

    Contraception = self-annihilation…

    And you say…

    Contraception = ???

    No shame need enter the game.

  3. thordaddy

    WinstonScrooge…

    What does contraception = in your mind IF NOT self-annihilation?

  4. thordaddy

    WinstonScrooge…

    Does reproductive right = abortion in your mind?

    You must understand that you are wielding “shame” where it only does damage and obscures Truth.

    • Explain your comment on shame. I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make.

      • thordaddy

        WinstonScrooge…

        You came to the Orthosphere with the preordained notion that a “toxic shame” was already “in the air” and introduced this irrelevant concept of “shame” into a post on “Broken Sex” FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE (conscious or subconscious) of tripping up Christians and those desirous of Christianity on their paths towards greater Truth.

        Put another way, *you* came to the Orthosphere and the particular post on “Broken Sex” with the conscious or subconscious desire to convince those desirous of GREATER Truth that “responsible family planning” includes BOTH conceiving AND terminating conception AND *you* were willing to use this concept of “toxic shame” to IMPOSE this LESSER Truth.

        But even deeper is simply the denial of one’s self-annihilating tendencies. Contraception = self-annihilation. This is the GREATER Truth that Christians seek out and that anti-Christians desire to OBSCURE with fancy rhetoric and bogus elements like “shame.”

        The unadulterated desire for Truth simply does not deal in “shame” whether genuine or toxic.

        Contraception (against conception) = self-annihilation…

        An unassailably true equation. Period.

        *You* deny the truthfulness of this equation and replace “it” with something even less true and then keep the onlookers arguing over the irrelevant topic of “shame.”

      • I’m really taken aback by your hostility. I don’t like to make comments personal but you opened the door to this by presuming to know my thoughts and motivations. So I’m going to respond to your accusations and then end this non productive back and forth.

        First of all, my first post in the comment section to “Breaking Sex” was in response to the author’s comment on how divorce was unthinkable in the 1960’s. The reason it was unthinkable (even though legal) was because there was a social force at work to keep it rare. This social force was shame. So your accusation that shame was irrelevant to the conversation is baseless.

        Second, my wife and I still exist and we have reproduced twice. As such, I fail to see how our use of contraception amounts to self annihilation. Furthermore, your seeming obsession with this term “self annihilation” strikes me as a bit strange and over the top.

        Third, if you truly seek truth then your views need to stand up to scrutiny. If scrutiny of your views results in hostility and obsessive counter posting, you might want to think about why you feel so threatened. It might be because deep down you do question these views of yours but to admit this is too uncomfortable for you. I assume this discomfort is shame. Please note, I don’t say this to shame you but to help you gain insight into your possible situation. I have compassion for anyone stuck in this mindset because it is a miserable place to be.

        Finally, I’d just like to say that the journey through shame is extremely difficult but on the other side is liberation and actual happiness. It is difficult because it requires you to let go of these things you feel you must be loyal to. I understand why questioning these loyalties generates such hostility. I was there once. It is the dynamic of shame.

        I truly wish you peace.

  5. Pingback: Shame Resulting From Bad Programming and the Compulsion to Defend It | Winston Scrooge

  6. Pingback: Monolog of a [W]hite Supremacist Part II | Winston Scrooge

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