Is religious shunning a form of mental and emotional abuse?

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  1. Athlyn Green profile image86
    Athlyn Greenposted 11 years ago

    Is religious shunning a form of mental and emotional abuse?

    Some religions, under the guise of keeping the flock pure, shun members who leave the faith. Is this a form of psychological abuse that should it be permitted in society?

  2. profile image0
    Fatigmonposted 11 years ago

    I wouldn't know if I would say "under the guise" of keeping the flock pure.  It may be a part of their covenant rules that they believe in.  As to whether or not it should be permitted, what your asking is should people be required to socialize with people like it or not.  How do you not permit it in a free society.  It's like saying I'm not allowed to have a distaste for someone down the street from me and am therefore required to make conversation with that person.  Sorry, but there are certain groups or classes of people I do not care to associate with.

    1. tsmog profile image80
      tsmogposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I gave you a vote up, although I do not really, kinda' agree. I'll reply with cumbersome comment, a view.

    2. Mr. Happy profile image71
      Mr. Happyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      "Sorry, but there are certain groups or classes of people I do not care to associate with."  - This comment made me think of a piece I wrote a while back:


  3. Perspycacious profile image61
    Perspycaciousposted 11 years ago

    I suspect that freedom of speech includes freedom not to speak.  The problem with shunning from a Christian point of view is that Christians are commanded to forgive all people and encourage them to repent and return to the household of faith.  As such, the teaching places a greater duty on the shunner's shoulders, because repentance for anything except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is to be forgiven, and the repentant, shunned person is always welcome back.  After all, Jesus Christ paid the price for the repentant sinner who is being shunned by some.

  4. Barnsey profile image71
    Barnseyposted 11 years ago

    It is a clear example of the hypocrisy displayed by religious zealots when things don't go exactly, and I mean exactly, how they want them to go. They are like spoiled children who take your doll away because they think you are playing with it wrong.
    Practice religion how it was meant to be, in your heart and mind. It was written that God warned against forcing his religion into a temple and giving people ultimatums about his worship. As mankind has always done he ignores the lines he doesn't need at the moment and bends those he does like to his own desires. Religion is the tool of despots and control freaks, nothing more.

  5. BHays profile image60
    BHaysposted 11 years ago

    Sadly this practice has been occurring since recorded history,extending beyond just shunning members who leave the faith,but taking similar actions against those within the faith who run afoul of a  particular dogma or doctrine.This does not even take into account all the pain and suffering inflicted on those deemed outside and persecuted with intensive, aggressive actions such as war and attempted genocide, made even more remarkable as often the faction being persecuted is a variation of the same historical origin,as witnessed by the Abrahamic based religious groups as a prime example. I beleive  without question this is a form of psychological abuse,however the power lies not in controlling society,but in the education of society to adhere to the traditions of the universal golden rule,love others as yourself.The attempt at psychological abuse and intent to grab power of people will not stop,the people must become informed and thus effectively resist the myopic dogma presented by a group that feels they must keep their flock pure.

  6. dzephaniah profile image60
    dzephaniahposted 11 years ago

    I believe in a free speech. If someone really believes in God, he/she will never suffer any emotional distress, just because someone that doesn’t even grasp the concept of higher being says stupid things.

    1. Bradley1946 profile image59
      Bradley1946posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      No, the rules they make are violated, and when the "elders" decide the person is bad enough, they are thrown out and shunned - no relationship maintained with them, social outcasts, ridiculed, etc....

  7. Brett Winn profile image82
    Brett Winnposted 11 years ago

    I think it would depend upon the context. If you were a Muslim in a Catholic school, perhaps. But if just an average person in an average society (in an "to each his own" context) I would think not.

    It is a shame that we simply cannot go back to our roots and live and let live ....

  8. Ray P Burriss profile image59
    Ray P Burrissposted 11 years ago

    "Shunning" is to evade or avoid deliberately a situation, so I don't see how in can used as a method in the context of "religious shunning"  as a form of metal or emotional abuse.

    1. Bradley1946 profile image59
      Bradley1946posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      In the case of Jehovah's Witnesses (by the way, there is no Hebrew name of Jehovah, it is a bastardization of Yahweh when the Germans did their scholarship work (Jah instead of Yah, so the YHWH got to be known as Jehovah).  Their families shun them.

  9. Jewels profile image83
    Jewelsposted 11 years ago

    I know several people who left 'the flock' and are still undergoing psychotherapy.  Not so much because they were shunned, but because of the brainwashing, impregnation of dogma they were abused with.

    What disturbs me more though is there are now psychologists distinctly trained by Christian churches to help their flock - not the ones who leave but the ones who stay.  And that amounts to further impregnation of beliefs.  It is mental and emotional abuse for sure.  Not allowing people to think objectively for themselves, but to be subliminally guide them further into a set of beliefs is abusive.

    1. Barnsey profile image71
      Barnseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Well said. In short they act like any other cult does yet its accepted or perhaps I should say conveniently overlooked by big brother.

    2. catholicconvert profile image60
      catholicconvertposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Okay, but that wasn't the question. It was should "it" be permitted in society, i.e. should society allow religious freedom? A lot of evil has been done in the name of religion, but a lot has been done in the name of intrusive government too.

    3. profile image0
      Fatigmonposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry, but you do not write about anything Christian here.  There seem to be a large number of people who do not know what a Christian is.  Saying you are a Christian does not make you Christian.  What you speak of, if it exists, is the occult.

    4. Jewels profile image83
      Jewelsposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Fatigmon, any gathering of people who practice worship is a cult.  Occult is a bit different - it's to do with rituals which are practiced in most religious traditions.  The Christian faith is no different to any other.

  10. MrMaranatha profile image73
    MrMaranathaposted 11 years ago

    It is a sure sign of a cult in most cases... Unless the person is one who was "Put Out" of the flock for gross sexual misconduct as mentioned in the bible (1 Cor 5) in which case the Ultimate Goal of this punishment was in fact nothing less than the Repentance of the Person... and eventual Restoration of that person to the flock at a later point in time after repentance. (see the restoration of the first example given above in 2 Cor 2:1-8)

    Beyond actual proper church discipline issues however, what I see today is that allot of Legalistic Churches will bully the people in this type of way to maintain their control over the flocks... the families... and the finances.  I do not approve of this stuff... I have seen it first hand on many occasions.  And hear about it from all sides today... We are truly in the last days.

    Follow Christ... leave the worship of men far behind.

  11. Man from Modesto profile image79
    Man from Modestoposted 11 years ago

    I think being atheist or Muslim should be outlawed. Unfortunately, those who hold power like the non-christian element.

    If a group wants to dis-associate from a particular person, that is completely their own business.

    Anyway, it is most likely that someone "shunned" just might be better off.

    Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but to separate households, 3 from 2 and 2 from 3.

    Jesus only brings peace at the second coming, after He kills a bunch of really bad people by burning the sky.

    People think they know Jesus. But, the pastor doesn't want to mention the unsettling stuff. People will leave, and he'll look bad.

    I like what the previous president of Australia said to some Muslims who complained, "This is a Christian nation. If you don't like it, leave." That is how it ought to be.

    You don't want to know God? It is your choice. But you can't stay here.

    We would be in a much better place as a nation if that were enforced.

    1. Barnsey profile image71
      Barnseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Religious extremism is bad for everybody. I like what the previous president of Australia said but to lump athiests in marks you as an extremist. Atheists are the intelligent people in America. Faith is Wisdom, not intelligence.

    2. WD Curry 111 profile image55
      WD Curry 111posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I think mail order brides from Russia should be outlawed.

  12. profile image0
    Starmom41posted 11 years ago

    Shunning in general is described as bullying and psychological abuse.
    I actually wrote an article/hub on this topic, but never published it because I was afraid people might think it was foolish. 

    When it comes to religion, though, hypocrisy can be added on top of everything else.

    1. Ramsa1 profile image60
      Ramsa1posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Starmom41, I think you should go ahead and publish the hub you wrote. Do not be concerned about what others think.

  13. ChapmanHester profile image62
    ChapmanHesterposted 11 years ago

    Let me say that First and Foremost I do not agree with the practice, but I fully support the right to do so...  Second, that if a Christian or any other Religious Faction decides to shun members who leave the faith then it is just cutting themselves off at the knees... Most religions require followers, so if you shun people who are not part of your group then you're not going to have an easy time increasing favoritism among people.  Its easier to attract a bear with honey, than vinegar.  If someone leaves for whatever reason the best thing someone can do to convince them to stay or to help them gain eternal salvation, if you really care at all, is to come after them and lead them back, with love and support not shunning.  If Jesus himself was the shepherd and us his flock of sheep, then would he not come round us up when we went astray?  Same with any leader of a church, the members of the church are your sheep, and your responsibility to bring home go Heaven, or you're not doing right by them, or by God.  God wanted us to be saved, that's why he suffered his son to live and die among us for our sins.  If you turn your back on someone, no matter if they believe or not, you are turning your back on a fellow Child of God none the less, and taking it upon yourself to judge who is worthy of God, which in my opinion is the greatest sin of all.

    1. Bradley1946 profile image59
      Bradley1946posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If a person leaves certain religious movements, they are shunned. The members treat people who never belonged to the movement better than the one who leaves. That is CONTROL to me.

    2. ChapmanHester profile image62
      ChapmanHesterposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      It is control, it's a tactic usually used in cults and extreme religions but it is. The purpose of that is not so much for the individual leaving, but to instill fear in others so they may not leave themselves.

  14. midget38 profile image87
    midget38posted 11 years ago

    Good question. I guess it depends on perspective and the reasons people have for religious shunning; some do it because they feel disillusioned; there is no intention of abusing themselves, but if one sees it from the perspective of need, they hurt their own mental states unintentionally because people who shun religion do deny themselves the opportunity of peace.

  15. MarleneB profile image92
    MarleneBposted 11 years ago

    I think it is wrong to shun people for their beliefs. But, if we are talking about keeping the flock pure, on some level they kind of have to shun people to serve that purpose. People who are shunned, pretty much know why they are being shunned. I don't think they are ever truly shocked by the church's actions. I think it should be only in relation to the church, though, and not extended to regular social life. After all, as Christians, they are to love and forgive everyone. I mean, if someone from the church were to see a "shunned" person in the grocery store, I think they should still be able to converse like normal people would in that situation. I think it is mentally and emotionally abusive when it is carried beyond the walls of the church. Let's think about it - if I shun someone from my house because I don't like the way they act in my house (let's say they lit up a cigarette in my house), like the church, I have a right shun them from my house (to keep my household smoke free and "pure"). But, if I saw that same person at the dry cleaners, I would still talk to them. They just can't come to my house until they learn how to act. By that, I mean, they have to agree not to smoke in my house.

    1. ChapmanHester profile image62
      ChapmanHesterposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      That's not what they do, in some religions they go as far as to completely disregard the person as existing, the family turns their back and the society.  They are outcasts from everyone and their only option in some cases is to leave the community.

  16. kittythedreamer profile image75
    kittythedreamerposted 11 years ago

    I think shunning certain people because they believe differently or act differently than the rest of the "flock" is most definitely wrong. And I also believe that is can be a form of abuse, specifically brainwashing. If you feel you don't fit in because you are different, usually there is then pressure that builds up to let go of your different thoughts and give in to what everyone else is telling you to do and how to act. I say that everyone should be true to themselves and find things out for themselves instead of just believing what everyone else tells us.

  17. SportsBetter profile image63
    SportsBetterposted 11 years ago

    Everyone has freedom of religion.  But I think calling it mental and emotional abuse a little extreme.  It sounds similar to if you were in the mafia and one day you decided to leave they might shun you .. or kill you.  Or let's say you were on a bowling team and they shunned you for leaving.  Let's say you were an awesome employee at a job and you quit and they shunned you.

  18. WD Curry 111 profile image55
    WD Curry 111posted 11 years ago

    There is freedom of religion in the USA. Shun away!

    1. WD Curry 111 profile image55
      WD Curry 111posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Who voted down? Maybe you don't get it. You just shunned me for religious reasons!

    2. Barnsey profile image71
      Barnseyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I love it. Lol! The zealots are all about their freedoms but they will crush yours if they disagree! Nice!

  19. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 11 years ago

    It depends.  Some parents are so narrow-minded that they couldn't accept their kids if they weren't Christian, or gay, or anything else that falls outside of their atavistic worldview.

    They surreptitiously bring in hate, while talking in the name of love.  Christians like that are disgusting.  Unfortunately, I know a girl who was shunned by her father for being a lesbian.  Some people are just idiots! 

    In essence, I do agree that it's a form of abuse.

  20. Sinbadsailorman profile image61
    Sinbadsailormanposted 11 years ago

    Yes it is! and it is a product of the Devil, and Never Of GOD! Satan is the one who instigated this from the start and is the father of it. Donnie/ Sinbad the Sailor Man

  21. profile image0
    detroitmareposted 11 years ago

    Oh boy, time to draw some more heat.  Screw them if they've done that to you.  I wouldn't want anything to do with them.  I choose not to follow religion or go to church, but do believe in God.  That's part of the reason why!  I have an Aunt and Uncle that are Catholic and if I don't agree with them, it's a couple years before I hear from them again.

  22. catholicconvert profile image60
    catholicconvertposted 11 years ago

    "That should be permitted"? If that means, should it be legal, then yes--not because it is "religious," but because it's a social behavior that we shouldn't try to mandate by legality. As stated, your question seems to ask whether or not we (the people) should allow religions to like whom they want to like or not. Yes--we should let each other decide that for themselves. The government should not step in and say "you people cannot decide that you will shun this group--that's abuse."

    I don't see that religion or "guises" or "flocks" really pertains, although I detect a wanna-be anti-religious tone to the question.

    Let's make it utterly social and avoid the religious context. If my sewing circle of five people decides it doesn't like a former of the group and "shuns" them, i.e. avoids them when they come around, does that constitute abuse? Should the law get involved? Should we be sued for mental anguish? That sounds like the thin end of the wedge to me.

  23. Ramsa1 profile image60
    Ramsa1posted 11 years ago

    It's utter nonsense, Some denominations also think that they are totally right and pure and everyone else is wrong. Arrogance in the extreme. No denomination has all the answers.

    Here is something we all need to remember: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  24. stars439 profile image58
    stars439posted 11 years ago

    Good question. It is not right to shun people for making free choices. People have minds of their own. In America we do not live in a dictatorship. Americans fought for freedom so that we could make certain choices in our lives.

    I wish everyone could believe in God, but people have a right to believe in whatever they wish to believe in. God loves people, but not everyone will believe it.

    It is wrong to shun people. Good religions always keep their doors open to people whether they choose to attend their church, or not.  I have not been to church in quite a while, but the doors to my church are always open for a certain amount of time on Sundays in case I wish to visit.

    It is definitely wrong to shun a neighbor. God Bless You Dear Heart.

  25. Bradley1946 profile image59
    Bradley1946posted 11 years ago

    It is a psychological abuse. The Jehovah's Witnesses use this method. They will also bring a person up on behavior they have legislated is not proper for them, and they can be tried and put out of the Kingdom Hall, plus shunned.  I worked with several of them and they told me that.

  26. Mike Marks profile image57
    Mike Marksposted 11 years ago

    the person shunned can feel mental and emotional pain from it...  he/she can think people are shunning him/her because they want him/her to feel pain... as a lesson, as a punishment... or simply because they relish the opportunity to hurt an available victim, any victim or a particular victim... in some cases the shunned person may be thinking rightly... in other cases not thinking rightly... as many varying cases as there are varying people... and sometimes, whether the shunned person thinks so or not, it is not that personal, because the case is truly that a group does not want its focus on a certain point of view to be distracted by an alternative point of view... does not want, for example, the intentional thought "all people deserve love" to be shaken by consideration of the sounds "some people do not deserve love"... though, in this example, the very act of shunning may speak louder than words, may remind the shunner that the shunnee is not receiving the love he/she deserves... yet the shunnee who does deserve love may deserve love because of the degree of respect he/she gives, by keeping distractive thoughts quiet, the chosen focus the shunner is trying to maintain... no one wants to be disregarded.

  27. pstraubie48 profile image81
    pstraubie48posted 11 years ago

    I believe so if the individual who is shunned is a child and has no choice but to conform to the religious belifefs of their family. Children are forced in those situations to subscribe to whatever standards their family lives by and have no opportunity to decide whether they want to adopt to that life style. And, it does become a life style.
    I had a child in one of my classes as a teacher (more than one over the years in fact) who belonged to a cult-like religion. She was not allowed to do many of the things my other children could. You could see the pain and disappointment on her face when it was time to do certan things she could not do. I made it as painless for her as I could and saw to it she had fun in the classroom where she would spend the day.
    As for adults, I can only imagine that being shunned, forced from the family would be traumatic and devastating beyond belief. Some would probably need psychological intervention. However it should not be allowed to consume and destroy the rest of the individual's life.  Then the shunners would have won twice: physically removing you from the family and then leaving you with no happiness for the rest of your life.
    It is easy for me to try to second guess how this would all play out. I cannot imagine really what it would be like to be in the situation of someone who is shunned.

  28. LoisRyan13903 profile image63
    LoisRyan13903posted 10 years ago

    The only one I know of who shun are the Amish especially if they walk away from their beliefs or marry outside of the faith.   And I think it depends on the individual  whether it is mental and emotional abuse.  some ex-Amish have no regrets and others find it hard especially when their own family turn their backs on them.

    I don't know what it like in other countries and how discipline people.


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