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How does feeling guilty effect the religious aspect of things?

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When some people comitt sin, such as adultery, and such, how does feeling guilty effect the religious aspect of things? I know, I've done some things where I had to confess. I felt real guilty afterwords. Why do people that follow a religion feel guilty? Since I follow a religion, I feel guilty if I don't tell my leader certain things. I'm just wondering what your thoughts and opinions would be on this one.