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Virtue Signalling

Among religious members, virtue signaling is pretty common and prevalent. The same could be said among groups of singles. If you combine the two together, virtue signaling becomes commonplace among single members of our church. Why do people do this? Partly because of insecurity, but mainly as an effort to make them more attractive or impressive in some fashion—although the opposite effect often occurs. In single church circles specifically, the aim is often to come across as more spiritual, caring, or sensitive in an effort to appear to be a “good catch” for a relationship. Virtue signaling often backfires when someone sees through it, as it often comes across as disingenuous and/or manipulative. “Humble bragging” is another phrase describing virtue signaling and it reveals insecure, prideful, and/or selfish motives in disguise.

So, what exactly is “virtue signaling”? It is, literally, making some kind of outer, noticeable words or gestures to somehow “signal” (demonstrate) one’s virtue. From the Urban Dictionary, virtue signaling is further defined and clarified as follows: “To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else. Example:

Fred: I see George has changed his profile picture to show his support for refugees.

Barbara: Has he donated money or time? Is he giving English lessons? Is he making a room available?

Fred: No, no, he's just virtue signaling. (Source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Virtue%20Signalling).

Scriptural Examples of Virtue Signaling:

Virtue signaling among religious circles is not new. We read in the New Testament examples of when Christ preached against this. Here are two instances, along with Christ’s recommendations to act otherwise:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

--Matthew 6:1-8

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