What makes people ok with shunning?

by Butterflyleia85 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • AudeSapere

    Without reading everyone else's comments, I think it FEAR is what makes people OK with shunning. Fear of what others will think. Fear of displeasing [insert authority figure here (ie: Parents, Elders, Congregation, Org Leaders, Jesus, Jehovah, Angels, etc)]. Fear of reprecussions. Fear of having to take respnsibility for their own thoughts and actions. Fear that if they take that first step in talking to someone who has deliberately chosen a different philosophical path that they will be unable to maintain their own integrity.

    Fear is a strong motivator in many.

    -Aude Sapere (meaning: Dare to Know; Dare to Think for Yourself)

  • AudeSapere

    Oops! I guess I didnt' even read the entire OP before responding! Oops!! My bad.

    I see that the OP presented many other scenarios than within the JW context. My comment above was my thought from within the JW org.

    In cases of popular vs unpopular, rich vs poor, white vs black, I think the reasons are less primal (than fear). Seems to me that in those cases, it is an attempt to elevate ones own status in the given community. Put others down to elevate oneself. Jealousy or feelings of inadequacy may cause others to avoid people who they perceive to be 'better' than themselves. Prejudice (over-generalization and scripting) drives many people to lump all people of one characteristic to be stereotypically identical.

    Now I'll go read the rest of this thread and learn from the rest of you!


  • AudeSapere
    ...Seriously does it make life easier for them or something?

    I think in many cases, it does make life easier. JWs don't need to think for themselves, Infact they are told that independent thinking is divisive and idolatrous (in that it elevates oneself above the FDS and, in some cases, even Jehovah himself). For them and others who shun/avoid/'look down on' it helps them keep focused on their primary goal in life, whatever that may be. They have formed or adopted a belief system and life goal or life style that is dependent on that belief system.

    What would make them change?

    Many chose not to change even when faced with extreme evidence that change would be in their own best interest. Often it is an unexpected humbling life experience and subsequent kindness extended by a former 'shunnee' that allows them to see the error of their ways. Unconditional love conquers all - sometimes.

    And most importantly when is it right to shun or is it really right at all?

    Time and place maybe?? If I am on time crunch and too much to accomplish and I notice that there is someone who wants to talk and talk and talk to me and will not respect my words when I say 'no, not now', I think that is an acceptable reason to shun them in that moment (ie: walk down a different aisle at the grocery store or not take their phone call). Someone who constantly ignores clearly established boundaries can be denied entrance to my home but it is not loving to completely cut them off from my life. Someone who has been physically, spiritually, emotionally, or sexually abusive to me (or my loved ones) can pretty much count on being shunned by me at nearly every turn. But is that really 'shunning' or just strong boundaries?????


  • jonathan dough
    jonathan dough

    Most people don't shun to the degree the JWs do. So much has been written about shunning, much of it listed in this shunning and disfellowshipping directory, quite a numbe of links to websites that deal with this issue. It's definately on people's minds.

  • Retrovirus

    Interesting topic, and Aude Sapere, thanks for some great thoughts.

    ...Seriously does it make life easier for them or something?

    I was never a jw, but grew up in a family where one parent "shunned" whoever was under displeasure. This meant you were ignored at mealtimes, you could get a box on the ear for not saying "good morning", but would be ignored if you did say it. All of us kids learned the importance of being in favour quickly and early. If that meant shunning a brother or sister, rather them than me. . .

    Don't think that it was ever right according to my conscience. But someone insecure enough doesn't trust their own conscience over an authority figure, and/or the need to belong.

    What would make them change?

    Growing up and being in different environments made me change. It doesn't seem to work for everyone at the same pace.

    And most importantly when is it right to shun or is it really right at all?

    I cannot think of any circumstances where shunning is the best solution. Even when pushed for time and faced with a bore, there are more courteous ways of handling the situation.

    There's also an element of self-distrust, or self-dislike, externalised: "I may not be all that good, but s/he's worse!"


  • sd-7

    Well, to make it simple, it's easier. It doesn't require a lot of thought or effort. It keeps you from getting in trouble with the powers that be/your popular friends/etc. There may be other factors. Someone who was poor that you helped may have merely taken advantage of you when you know they could've done for themselves, and so you decide not to bother helping anyone else in need. Maybe a person of some particular race attacked you in some way or whatever, so everyone from that race scares you. Lots of factors.

    It's just a difficult line to walk. I do think some people just aren't worth being around because they choose to act in a way that is detrimental to themselves and others. But the thing is, who decides what is 'detrimental' and what is not? Therein lies the basis for a lot of shunning, I suppose.

    Most people will go along with what they're told instead of doing something beyond that. Probably that sums it up. Our experiences impact how we treat people, I guess.


  • Butterflyleia85

    Thanks for everyone's comments. I agree with alot here it's just easier for them. (sigh)

    Making them change...

    Yeah being in a different envoriment or facing life on the other side (as I did when I became DFed).

    When is it ok...

    Personally I never felt it was ok but I have to admit it's hard to stand up and speak up for someone else especially a stranger at times especially if your shy or don't feel like it's your place... I'm no hero but what would get me to really stand up or speak out is if it happened to my close family or close friends. But I honestly and regretfully say I have past many homeless people ignoring them down town, have ignored in high school chances to stand up for a nerd getting picked on, listen to my old relitives say rude things behind a person's back and not say anything... and sadly shunned my own aunt because she was Dfed when I grow up, til I was in my 20's and started rebeling.

    I can now say though when I hit 20 my personality changed! I stood up to stangers for stangers. I speak up when someone feels like they don't have the voice or heart too. I no long will talerate getting walked on or let others get walked on. It's in me now. I just hope I don't seem to be intervining to much... but because of all those years of reget I felt the need to make up for it.

    That was my point of this topic. I wanted to see verity of opinions on this topic to make sure I get a balanced view of this.

    I also one day hope I can help others either stand up for themselves or have the confidance to stand up for others.

    All those who think it's wrong to shun but do it... why do it? what's holding you back from talking to that person? Maybe it's not them but you... maybe they are wrong but think they are right... how would they no if they aren't being communicated too or perswayed... better word I guess is explained to. See I made alot of mistakes in my life but I am an understanding person and I like to do what's right... But if I feel I'm doing right I'm going to keep doing it... without an explination to why, then I don't see the importance of or the right to change. I am open minded and a person who welcomes idea's to develop my reasonings in this life. Does shunning really solve anything? Or does it cause more greef and sorrow even anger? Isn't this actually a rude and un-neighborly act as some mentioned here? Isn't this what we call irretating our childern? Or disrespecting our parents?

    Think about it! (To those that get it, man it's like talking to a brick wall... as I type this out I realize this is what I wish I could say to those shunning but how do you get a deaf person to hear you... it just seems sometimes unrealistic or a dream, that one day the person in a coma will wake up... if it happens it happens... but don't hold your breath)

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep
    how do you get a deaf person to hear you...

    They are trained to not listen, so in that brief moment when you have their attention .............

    Ask one question. Make it a good one. Then shut up, so they can hear themselves think.

  • Black Sheep
    Black Sheep
    What's the context of the illustration, Black Sheep?

    I was looking for something for Leolaia when I spotted it and didn't bother to read it. Look it up in the CD.

    I thought it was a great pic for writing your own captions.

Share this