When engaging in discussions on Heathenry, there will inevitably be a conflict in which one person will feel unnecessarily attacked, and someone else will chime in, “Heathenry is a shame-based” culture, religion, or philosophy. I’m not so sure of that. Look, maybe it was at one point a dozen centuries ago, but in 2015, if we can’t discuss issues with each other without shaming someone, then, well, have we really evolved all that much from the days where not liking someone meant that you hit them with an axe?
Shame is a way to discredit what a person says or does by pointing at a real or perceived flaw and mocking or criticizing them for that, rather than address the substance of their words and/or deeds. Yes, sometimes we all do something that in hindsight, we’re ashamed of, but there’s a difference between sheepish regrets and having your thoughts and actions invalidated because you don’t fit a particular social norm. There’s no shame in having different beliefs within a particular religious or spiritual structure. There’s no shame in one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or in liking kinky activities, one’s body type or physical appearance, or being a bit of an oddball in any part of life. “Normal” doesn’t exist. Yet, we shame people all the time simply because they’re not like us. It’s a convenient way to get out of considering that what they say or do has merit because it challenges our own leaning tower of bullshit.
Even I’ve fallen prey to that type of judgmental asshattery before, right here in this blog… many, many moons ago… (please don’t look… okay, look if you must, but don’t shame me, bro). I may lose myself and do it again sometime, but I am glad I have good friends who will tug on the straps of my overalls and let me know when I’m overflowing.