The command of men to practice shunning is cruel and heartless, as we all know. It tears people up from the heart and hurts everyone involved.
The rigidity and "uptightness" of believing that ONLY YOU have the "right way" to God, and that being warm and cordial to someone who has left your religion, or attending another church service is going to "cost you" (God will getcha for that---or the elders will) in some way....is so self-limiting.
We all have the right to the pursuit of happiness and to find a faith that renews and motivates us to be our best. Being humans and experiencing growth all the while we are "here", what may be just the "ticket" for us personally at one stage in our life---may not fulfill the same needs a number of years later.
It is not fair that a belief system ( or religious leaders) rather than being a comfort or a teacher any longer, should have the right to keep a "hold" on any person because they choose to move on to another form of worship to the same God.
This flies in the face of what we hold dear in this country and in most others, being forever captive to men who believe that THEY have the right or the power to penalize ones for the rest of their lives for walking away from their religion. These men tell their flock who they can be with and not be with, or eat with and yet call this "love".
The ones that are still "left in" that would dearly love to exit---(and there are MANY) are being held hostage to these leaders and their power over them---in that the penalties are the loss of family and friends due to shunning. They would like to leave but are afraid of the repercussions.The ripple effect is endless...I know....I'm living it. People who weren't even IN the religion are affected by the divisions that are caused.
The oppression shown by religious leaders who police the actions of their flock and make demands of them and who only see any other religion as Satan's people.....does not promote love or understanding. It promotes a self-righteous, arrogant and haughty attitude. It promotes loathing and hatred for other's beliefs....and that is never a good basis for achieving ANY peace or harmony.
Why can't those who believe in this shunning....see that in a time period when everyone is seeking the love and comfort of their friends ad family, and are mindful of just how important our relationships with others ARE-----that this harmful practice is even allowed.