The site will be down for a couple days/weeks while I solve some problems on it.
Thanks for reading.
The site will be down for a couple days/weeks while I solve some problems on it.
Thanks for reading.
Virtue signalling is “the conspicuous expression of moral values by an individual done primarily with the intent of enhancing that person’s standing within a social group.” Jesus, while not using the terminology, definitely addresses the concept.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16 ESV)
Virtue signalling looks like a moral duty..
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.(Matthew 6:1-4 ESV)
It also looks like the central tenet of hypocrisy.
Doing good deeds publicly with full knowledge that you may be seen is simply part of what it means to be Jesus’ disciple. To seek the good we must, in many cases, be public, and in doing so, this makes the good appealing to those who seek lesser goods or accidentally seek evil.
On the other hand, doing good deeds solely for social credit is bad. Most public moral criticism happens this way. We criticize easy moral targets publicly with the hope that people will like us. The internet has made this dopaminergic process available on a mass scale at micro-costs.
To answer the question, “Is virtue signalling good or bad?” It depends on if you’re virtue-signalling to God.
Christians are called upon by God to share the Christian gospel with others in order to help them become Christians.
One of the ways Christians try to evangelize (help non-Christians believe the gospel) is to help them see how wretched they really are so that they might see their need for Jesus.
Others try to help people see their philosophical need for a source or ground of absolute truth. This can be done using various methods.
Some take time to talk people through whether God exists at all or if he does, that miracles occur and can be attributed to him.
Some just share how much Jesus loves that specific person and to do that, they have to demonstrate their own love for that person. This can take hours, months, or even years.
But pretty much all of these methods involve preparing the person to hear the message of Christ.
These methods are often wise.
Other times, Christians focus on an evangelism method that they just know is right, but since it is more catered to their own personality type or perhaps a narrow definition of how the human mind works, the method can become a hindrance rather than a help.
Despite that, most people would acknowledge that sharing the gospel of grace requires pre-evangelism.
But I’ve come across some people who are so weak, self-hating and resentful toward the world in general that sharing a gospel message that includes the promise of something like “living forever with God” sounds worse than dying and sleeping forever.
How can we help them aside from prayer? I think that sometimes pre-evangelism is helping people find that life has the potential for happiness, that choices matter, and that nature is not against them. This is not easy. And of course, in all of this, we must point people to God’s grace here and now. But still, in a culture where consumerist nihilism reigns supreme and product acquisition is the highest good, it won’t be easy to help some people see that life is meaningful in the first place.
Okay, so this post is kinda crazy. But here goes.
My whole life, except for one summer when I was very poor in 2006 or so, I’ve easily sunburned and so avoided the outdoors like crazy unless I was covered in sunscreen. At one point, I when I was a lawn-guy, I gave up entirely on sunscreen and just wore breathable slacks, long-sleeve shirts, and fishing hats to mow (this is smart by the way, I was in the sun for like 7-10 hours a day).
As recently as February 2018, I’ve been sunburned to the point of peeling by sitting on a picnic table for the last half of lunch break at work (we’re talking 15 minutes). So when I came across Tucker Goodrich‘s idea that reducing linoleic acid in your diet by removing seed oils reduces sun-induced skin damage, I was willing to try it.
Now, in February 2018, I had already cut such oils from my diet for about 30 days when I tried the carnivore diet for a 30 N=Many experiment. But I figured I’d keep seed oils like soy, canola, safflower, etc out of my diet for the foreseeable future. I mentioned earlier the sunburn I got sitting on a picnic table for no time at all, well as that year progressed, I experimented with more sun exposure during yard work, just to see what would happen. I tried 30 minutes while mowing. 45 minutes with my wife and daughter at the pool. No burns, but this could have been due to repeated bouts of brief exposure, that led to tolerance. Now, in my past, this is not what would have happened, so I was already suspicious of greater sun tolerance.
So, starting this Winter, 2019, I continued the experiment, doing yard work without sunscreen and without a hat. The yard was huge, and I know how it feels when I start to burn, so I just continued working (about 3.5 hours of work) waiting to get that sunburn feeling. Nothing happened. As the year has gone on, I have yet to wear sunscreen, I still look quite pale with my shirt off, and I have not burned once. Just today, I went swimming in a river that runs through a desert in direct sunlight for 45 minutes. In the past, I would have been toast. Instead, I just feel fine.
Rewind: In 2006, I went on a service project and forgot to take my sunscreen. I was digging in the sand and took my shirt off to avoid chaffing. We dug a giant hole after a few hours. And all I could think of was how horrible my sunburn would be. I went the rest of the week without getting burned and no sunscreen. How did this happen? Well, back then my diet was basically beans, tuna, oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, and butter. Coincidence? Probably.
Never compromise on love. It’s the only thing that isn’t bullshit.Chateau Heartiste
The quote above is from the now-defunct blog Chateau Heartiste. It was mostly about how to get laid. As distasteful as that is, there are lots of magazines, books (ancient and modern), seminars, and poems about this. I found it in like 2008 when thinking about existentialism and love and doing some google searches. Since then, I rediscovered the site while working as a research assistant on a project examining 3rd wave feminism. The chateau, due to the author’s preference for spending private time with the fairer sex, had discovered the ugly underbelly of a feminist society. And as a near-nihilist (he wasn’t totally, see the above quote), he managed to view the sociology of sexuality from a perspective geared almost entirely toward cause and effect. His insights were eloquently and inappropriately put, but they were accurate frequently. All of that is to say, his posts over the years gave modern vendors of BS several reasons to suspend his blog. But it wasn’t until he posted the what you find below, that his blog was taken from him:
C.S. Lewis wrote about this issue decades ago:
Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend. Now I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about sciences. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value. Let the doctor tell me I shall die unless I do so-and-so; but whether life is worth having on those terms is no more a question for him than for any other man…We have on the one hand a desperate need; hunger, sickness, and the dread of war. We have, on the other, the conception of something that might meet it: omnicompetent global technocracy. Are not these the ideal opportunity for enslavement? This is how it has entered before; a desperate need (real or apparent) in the one party, a power (real or apparent) to relieve it, in the other. In the ancient world individuals have sold themselves as slaves, in order to eat. So in society. Here is a witch-doctor who can save us from the sorcerers — a war-lord who can save us from the barbarians — a Church that can save us from Hell. Give them what they ask, give ourselves to them bound and blindfold, if only they will! Perhaps the terrible bargain will be made again. We cannot blame men for making it. We can hardly wish them not to. Yet we can hardly bear that they should.C.S. Lewis
The question about progress has become the question whether we can discover any way of submitting to the worldwide paternalism of a technocracy without losing all personal privacy and independence. Is there any possibility of getting the super Welfare State’s honey and avoiding the sting?
In a world of sweet youtube videos, infinite porn, cheap Netflix, and pervasive surveillance tools in our own pockets are we losing the ability to have and express our own thoughts?
When I was in college, I went to a mewithoutYou concert and the band played this song for, if I remember what they said properly, the first time. That version used to be posted online. Seems to be gone. But it’s a great song
If I had written it back in the days when I wrote a lot of poetry, I’d have probably included some lines about Amnon, Absalom, Joab, Jonathan, and Saul. But it’s not my song. Nevertheless, it is a marvelous work of art. There’s a weird thing with the timeline of David’s life in the song, but that’s okay. It’s worth a listen and then ten more. I hope you enjoy it.