Quote Originally Posted by Moody View Post
I think the main difference is that in a Shame Culture the 'pain' of Shame, if you like, is public.

Whereas in a Sin Culture the 'pain' of sin is private [in a limited sense sinfulness could be seen as a sort of private shame before God, but this is not sufficiently public to give it the necessary gravitas for a Shame Culture which needn't believe in God but can still be effective as a Shame Culture].

The Sin Culture depends on a strong sense of conscience.
However, it is possible for a man who has the burden of sin on his conscience to carry on his daily life without others knowing.
It trains you to be sneaky and hypocritical - something very difficult to pull off in a Shame Culture.

However, the concept of conscience is breaking down as fewer and fewer believe that a God can see into their souls.

Of course this all rests on the idea that a God who is completely perfect and judging actually exists.

In a Shame culture, there is less of a metaphysical problem; the family inculcates into children that bringing Shame on the family will result in complete ostracisation and worse.
In a Shame culture, all institutions work on that basis, so that a family will be punished by its neighbours for having a 'black sheep' and so on - seemingly 'cruel' by modern standards in the West.

This is all very practical and public, as I said.

Of course, in such a culture there are no 'safety nets'; an outcast recieves no help at all, no 'welfare'; also he has no 'rights'.
Also such cultures must be small in size, where all are known to each other to a degree.

Attempts to use 'shame' as a weapon against young thugs in the West have not been too successful; 1, because the thugs have no inherent sense of 'shame' (!), and 2, because those thugs tend to wear their outcast state as a badge of [perverse] 'honour'.

This is part of our problem; the death of God has not only brought about the decline in a sense of sin, but also the equality mad human rights fanaticism of modern 'democracy' has virtually eliminated Shame.
I wonder if this idea of "honor" then vaguely exists in the South because of the stronger ties of smaller communities - sometimes families who have known one another for generations - still exist and you CAN, indeed, be shamed by your neighbors and community. Shaming was used on my own mother within her life time by people within our community.

I don't think that shame is still as prevalent in the South now as it was in the Old South - and I think I heard this "shame, shame on you" thing a lot growing up (literally, my grandparents said "shame on you" in front of other people) and my mother still says "shame on him, how could he do that" when talking about someone who has done something terrible, to other people.

I've noticed that when I've morally disagreed with someone on-line, I like to "call them out" publicly, especially if they've disgusted me with their ethical behavior, and I wonder if that's an extension of my own training to think that certain kinds of people deserve to be shamed.

However, the kind of honor that exists in cultures where more social shaming goes on can and does in the West *sort of* but not to the extent that it once did, as recently as my own mother's young adulthood.

"Honor" can also mean a very strong sense of personal moral integrity, though, too. Like an inner thing. You've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything. That kind of stubborn fighting for inner ethics.

There are different kinds of honor, though I understand that the kind of honor you speak of exists most extremely (and probably dangerously) in Asia, where you are pretty much an extension of your people rather than an individual, and it continues because of collectivism.