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Casting Stones| Neurotheology

Casting Stones | Godversity
When we find it easy to identify the sin of others, God wants us to be reminded of how important it is for us to take a rigorously honest inventory of our own faithfulness. He wants us to deal with our own sin before we evaluate anyone else.

How many times have you heard someone who said something that is mean, vindictive and hurtful -- or committed a violent and/or destructive act  -- justify it by saying the recipient had 'made' the perpetrator mad?

That's an example of using blame to excuse your own bad behavior.

Unfortunately, blame is like anger in that it dulls one sense of empathy. It allows a person to act in a hurtful way to another human being. It isn't the act itself, but it often clears the road. This is a small, but important point. Ordinary humans have inhibitions that serve as a buffer against what we know is bad behavior. Blame is not the act itself, but it either erodes or outright removes these inhibitions, often both . It develops a thought pattern that allows the person's emotions to override his/her self-control in order to achieve an often selfish end -- including sustaining dysfunctional patterns.

While this may seem like an overly harsh statement, also realize the kind of mindset that so quickly adopts blame as a defensive posture for emotional/ego protection is exactly the  same one that will put you in front of,otherwise avoidable, physical danger.

Blame Action Loops

It is not uncommon for people who engage in blaming behavior to also engage in selfish behavior. And as long as they are getting benefit from it -- whether monetary, emotional, comfort, entertainment or psychological stability -- they will continue to engage in those actions. But realize that most of the time the person is too busy doing the behavior to see their actions in this context. Look at the diagram below:

Simplified Action Loop Model

What this illustrates is a simplified action loop model of how humans interact with the world around them. When functioning on this basic level, 'stimuli' comes in from the 'world,' it is evaluated and an 'appropriate' action is taken. An example is you come to a corner with a traffic light. The stimuli coming in is the signal is red and cross traffic is passing. The evaluation is, according to the laws, wait. That's your action. That keeps you from getting run over. The light turns green,  the cross traffic stops and you cross. We do this kind of looping process all the time, adjusting as the results of that action come in.

Notice that in the previous diagram there was a two way flow as actions and evaluation were compared with the results. In that model if something doesn't work then the approach is to change strategy/evaluation. This will become important in the next example.

This loop takes on a different form in the blamer's reality. This is partly because 'evaluation' is run through a couple of other filters. As long as everything works out for the blamer, these filters won't necessarily reveal themselves. For example, both a blamer and a normal person choosing not to try to cross against the light will be working in basically the same model as above. However, when the action don't work out as planned (1), the simple action loop becomes more complex.

This is what could be said to be happening inside the blamer's mind (2) when his/her behavior does NOT produce the desired results.

Blamer's Reality Loop Model

When negative consequences result, it is always someone or something else's fault. This creates a one way flow that serves the purpose to:

1) protect the blamer's core beliefs,

2) meet the blamer's desires or

3) in accordance to his/her emotional state at the time.

Know these three elements form a complex and self-reinforcing cocktail. A cocktail that is beyond the scientific ability to explain, except to say that it both a powerful motivational force for the blamer as well as something that he/she is dedicated to protecting at all costs. It is the continuation and protection of these 'filters' that leads to the rest of the process. Let's look at this process staying with the street corner analogy. Upon arriving at the red right (and despite the cross traffic), the person decides to cross any way. This is a selfish decision (while there might be a legitimate reason to cross, most jaywalking really is based in impatience -- which could be any mix of the cocktail). The results of this action is the person is struck by an oncoming car.

This is where the blame process kicks in, instead of taking responsibility for his/her action that had unintended consequences, the blamer begins to find reasons why he/she should be excused from the repercussions. Repercussions that the blamer doesn't believe he/she 'deserved.' (Being judgmental of both self and others is common among blamers). Obviously the blamer will blame the driver, let's say for speeding as an example. If he hadn't been speeding he could have avoided hitting the blamer. Another way the blamer commonly will try to avoid taking responsibility for unpleasant results is by telling him/herself something along the lines of "If my boss wasn't such a nagger about being back from lunch on time I wouldn't have had to try to cross the street." Somehow magically it becomes the bosses fault that the blamer got hit by a car.

But here is where things get squishy, although avoiding external repercussions would appear to be the motive (e.g. trying to blame the driver for insurance purposes), the main goal of blaming others is to protect not just one's own emotions or ego, but apparently one's philosophy. And that is where this behavior becomes deadly on both counts, firstly as self-reinforcing and, secondly as self-perpetuating. In other words, it become your habit and like we all know, when practicing a habit, it can easily become your second nature.

PLEASE PRAY WITH ME: Forgive me, Father God, for my sins. Forgive me, especially Father, for the sin of a critical and judgmental spirit. Deliver me from such hurtful and evil habits, forgive me of my sins, and please bless me with faithfulness. In Jesus' name I pray. AMEN.




1)Realize when we use the term 'as planned'  we're now talking variables. The action did not have a) the desired immediate effect, b) it did have the immediate, short-term effect/benefit but laid the ground for later conflict, c) went wrong right there. In all of these cases, blame will be used to deflect responsibility for the resulting effects.

2) While many action loops exist and are accepted in psychology/ business/ communication fields (the first action loop is one such) the 'blame loop' we are presenting is not one of them. This particular model is our own theory and tool for giving a layman's explanation of the process.


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