Meant to be a response to VIVA LA VIDA, but something is whack with the XML and I can't post there. Haven't seen an XML error in a long time, so that was interesting.
Anyway, She[WhoMustBeObeyed] rightly posts that it seems that Christians who flagellate themselves publicly are doing something that is at the least, redundant. Christ already forgave them. At worst, they are sinning exactly in a way prohibited by Christ, by doing it in public so that they can be "seen to be pious."
This has long been my view, but 'She' takes it a step along, and thinks they're doing it because THEY LIKE IT. Yeah, that's true, they may be masochists who get off on the pain, which would be therefore sexual and sinful in itself. Or, they may be so into suffering for attention that they "like" it in that way even though they may not enjoy the pain itself. Now, there I had to pause.
Wow. Talk about an attention whore of the century! If you're willing to have your skin flayed just to get attention, I think you need some therapy. I can barely imagine being THAT desperate for acceptance and approval of others. Can you imagine doing this from PEER PRESSURE? That's gotta suck dirt like a hoover.
Leave it to 'Her' to reveal the truth. They're POSERS. If they were REALLY SPIRITUAL they'd do it in private at some extremely expensive monastery, and NOT TELL ANYONE. Only their own brethren and sistern* would know.
* I looked it up. Yep.
That would be very Christian, to suffer secretly for the sake of others, and to make sure that your direct actions are of real benefit and not just well-wishing. Supporting the monastery and feeding homeless, or something.
As a scientist I am unavoidably an ex-christian, born Jewish and raised both Baptist and Catholic - I know what guilt is. Sure, some people feel bad and think they need to suffer. That's called the martyr complex. The average person keeps a hair shirt or two around for when they feel like they've been sufficiently wrong to merit wearing it. Nothing really unusual there, and many people find ways to make their 'cause' more beneficial and logical than an actual hair shirt. Some just donate time at a library, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Others are campfire leaders. Whatever, that's all a good logical reaction to the martyr complex.
Cutting yourself, beating yourself bloody, scarring and even causing permanent injury to yourself is not a healthy option. It's an option that is clinically known as a 'self esteem issue' on a grand scale. People get locked up for that, for their own protection. But, if you do it for religion, that's ok. Sigh.