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Listen to these words written by Victor Davis Hansen, “In an affluent postmodern society of nearly unlimited freedom and opportunity, elite celebrities, pampered athletes, comfortable academics, conniving politicians, and careerist journalists find it hard to prove that they are still relevant in a revolutionary or rather cool sense.”*
Hansen continues to explain that medieval society sought penance for their sins. The church prescribed sacrificial acts, fasting and donations that allowed people a cheap way to be absolved, but continue in sin. Then Hansen wrote, “In our atheistic and agnostic society, inexpensive, loud, and public virtue-mongering has replaced church penance . . .”*
Hansen wrote those words in 2016. Things have only gotten worse. Our culture pursues a cheap substitute for virtue. Rather than develop the character that makes the right choice even in tough situations, so many only seek the approval of others by spouting opinions others find acceptable. We virtue signal, rather than develop virtue.
As followers of Jesus, we must avoid this trap. As the King James Version of 2 Peter 1:5 says, “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” Don’t try to signal to others how good you are, like some modern Pharisee. Develop a character marked by true goodness.
*Victor Davis Hanson, “The Virtue-Mongers,” National Review, September 6, 2016, https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/09/virtue-signaling-liberals-condemn-privilege-while-enjoying-privilege/
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.