Do you drive an electric car, or at least a hybrid? Do you eat meat? What do you own that is ethically sourced, or organic, or renewable? What is your opinion about climate change? Would you like to demonstrate in the streets about something? Is it important for you to tell other people about these important things in your life?
You might be virtue signalling.
If you are angry at me for asking those questions, here is a correction; you are free to earn your living, and buy the things you like, and you can have your own convictions about social issues. If your car is a hybrid, and you can afford the payments; good. Just ask yourself one question: What is the attitude behind the action?
Virtue signalling, or posing, seems to be tied to the spread of information on the Internet. People who don’t know you can believe whatever you tell them, if you project enough virtue. And I know that I am writing this for publication on the Internet, and you probably don’t know me.
Virtue signalling is not always progressive or leftist. You could be a strict vegan vegetarian, or a dedicated Keto carnivore who never eats fat from vegetable sources, and you could drive a hybrid car that is friendly to the Earth, or a four-wheel drive truck with a diesel engine so you can spend your weekends off-roading in wild places. It all depends on the audience. Who are you signalling?
I was raised in a family that went to church at least three times a week, and I know that Christians in a church can signal their virtue. It’s an old practice.
One person got tired of being accused of virtue signalling, and he said that people who accuse him of virtue signalling, are virtue signalling. That is probably true, it all depends on the intended audience.
All of our signalling signals something much bigger. We are witnessing the birth of a new religion.
Every religion has the same parts. Religions have a past with our origins, creation or evolution. They also have the present time, with things we should do, or sin that we should not do. There is also a future, Heaven and Hell, paradise or destruction. In the middle is a way to be saved. Trust Jesus, pray in the temple or mosque or shrine, or fight in a holy war. There is always a path.
Modern virtue signalling shows everyone that I have rejected my sinful ways, and I am progressing to the best paradise. All human beings follow that pattern, including the Communist party that denies the existence of God.
So, if you are signalling virtue, what is your religion? What can you gain if everyone sees your correct actions, and believes you are correct, and progressive, and pious? If you send enough signals, what salvation will you earn? What paradise are to progressing to?
We should ask ourselves these questions.
There are some words in the Bible that I was told when I was a boy. At the end of this age in history, before God intervenes, people will be terrible:
There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3: 1 to 5)
I have never understood how this will happen, but I think I see it now. We can send signals over the Internet, and live any way we want, when no one is looking. We can believe that virtue signalling is real virtue.
So, more substance, and less image. If we can find that, we can find God, who made us, and I hope we all do. We can return to the manufacturer for the repair manual:
“Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51: 10 to 12)