I'd like to invite discussion on this question.
Regardless of whether we come from a Christian background or not, in these globalised times I'd say that the moral framework of Christianity influences our way of thinking and behaviour. A key tenet of Christianity is the notion of original sin, and in its history Christian morality has been articulated in such a way that it often generates, if not actively encourages, a way of experiencing guilt/shame which is linked to desire. This linking of desire with shame/guilt can be unhelpful. It can and has been used in unskilful ways to reinforce certain ideologies and to secure power. Desire-shame/guilt also permeates contemporary consumerist culture. The entertainment/advertising industry for instance capitalise on desire-shame/guilt in many ways: e.g. ice-cream or chocolate ads, lifestyle magazines targeted at women/girls, pornography--all these are typically couched in terms of 'guilty desires/pleasures'.
Buddhism takes a different approach and offers different ways of relating to desire and guilt/shame. I understand that Buddhism does talk about the importance of remorse, but to my understanding it is careful to distinguish remorse from guilt/shame. I'm reminded of Goenka who said in the book The Art of Living
that if and when we slip up and commit an unskilful act, we ought to relate to the feelings that arise with equanimity, seeking neither to justify or hide what we have done/felt. This is quite different from the Christian confessional attitude which, although it can be helpful, has been used to reinforce unwholesome experiences of desire-guilt/shame.
Given the influence of Christian morality and the extend to which an unskilful conceptualisation of desire-guilt/shame permeates contemporary culture, I thought it'd be interesting to reflect together on how the Dhamma has transformed our experiences of desire-guilt/shame. I know for instance that some of the more experienced and mature practitioners here come from a Christian background, so I'd really like to read about your experiences or whatever advice you may have. But this question is of course open to everyone.
To keep the discussion focussed, and to make things easier for the mods, could I please ask that you refrain from lengthy criticisms of Christian doctrines/morality per se? Thanks.