What do the words “honor” and “shame” mean? What is their theological meaning? These questions are surprisingly complex, for the several reasons listed here. This post explains 7 challenges with defining “honor” and “shame.” Honor and shame are invisible. The terms …

7 Problems with Defining “Honor” & “Shame” Read more »

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People often assume Africa is a “fear-power” culture. The animistic and magical practices of African Traditional Religions (ATRs) reflect the values of fear-power. Although Africa ranks higher in the fear-power category than other regions of the world according to The …

Is Africa ‘Power-Fear’ or ‘Honor-Shame’? Read more »

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The label “fear-power culture” has various meanings, depending on the perspective of the speaker. This posts explains the three ways people have defined “fear-power culture.” 1. Religious: Fear-Power as Spiritual Control The worldviews of Majority World cultures, especially tribal religions, …

The Meaning of ‘Fear-Power’—3 Options Read more »

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The idea of “guilt vs. shame” has a long history in 20th-century scholarship (see previous post). But how did the cultural model of guilt-shame-fear develop? Here is a super short history of the cultural trichotomony.  In 1954, Christian anthropologist and …

The Model of Guilt-Shame-Fear—A Short History Read more »

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Where do these categories of “guilt-shame” or “shame-honor” come from? Like all ideas, the notion of “shame” has developed over time. This post summarizes the main currents of shame research in the 20th century. The Beginning: Ruth Benedict The binary …

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People often voice the concern that reducing cultures down to “guilt,” “shame,” or “fear” is oversimplifying reality—“Aren’t cultures a combination of these factors?” Most certainly. Cultures are too complex to be isolated into just three boxes. These are not three …

3 In 1: Integrating Guilt, Shame, and Fear Read more »

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Honor and shame are innately social and cooperate realities. For this reason, an honor-centric morality prioritizes relational harmony and communal edification, as seen in Pauline theology. John Barclay says, “Paul’s redefinition of honor thus gives prestige to such traits that …

Paul’s Honor Ethic in 1 Corinthians Read more »

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When I wrote The 3D Gospel and developed www.TheCultureTest.com in 2014, I thought that the concept of guilt/shame/fear cultures was unique to Christian missiology. But recently, I encountered a very similar cultural model by a secular psychologist. Richard Shweder is a …

Guilt, Shame, and Fear in Secular Research Read more »

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The post is adapted from chapter #3 of  The Bridge to Racial Unity: Discussion Guide 2.0 from Be the Bridge ministries. A personal awareness of racism and racial injustice can generate uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt. In America’s individualistic …

Shame and Guilt in Racial Reconciliation Read more »

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