Thursday, February 02, 2017

Fishing for spiritual compliments

On the internet I sometimes see people post a "prayer request" like this: "Please pray for me that I will be more patient and understanding with others. If I've been too harsh with anyone, please forgive me. If I've offended anyone, please forgive me"–or words to that effect.

But if you think about it, this statement doesn't own up to any particular wrongdoing. It's generic and hypothetical. So it has the fringe benefits of a confession without having to confess anything. A cost-free, public commercial for how humble the person is. The "prayer request" doesn't actually admit to any specific sin or objective wrongdoing.  

I think it would be best for people to desist from statements like this. They aren't really prayer requests. If anything, it's more like fishing for spiritual compliments under the guise of a confession or prayer request. 

5 comments:

  1. The modern term for this is "virtue signaling". A weak person's replacement for genuine virtue.

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  2. Now, now Steve, you wouldn't be directing this at me seeing that I do ask people to pray for me and the other apologists to be enabled to overcome our shortcomings which lead to so much in fighting and division? ;-)

    Drop the hater aid, hater!

    While we are at it, would you please pray for me "that I will be more patient and understanding with others. If I've been too harsh with anyone, please forgive me. If I've offended anyone, please forgive me", since I am really craving some attention and compliments from yours truly? ;-)

    Hater!

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    1. Oops, I forgot. It's me Sam Shamoun using ben malik's account..... HATER!

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  3. I think you're taking their rhetoric too literalistically. They're owning up to a personal lack of patience, empathy, and civility. Not the most specific of sins, but hardly a ploy for praise. Sincere conviction of sin, even generic sin, IS more humble than the lack thereof. It's cynical to believe that any particular act of contrition is disingenuous merely because it falls short of a desired specificity. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it's not.

    The proof is in the pudding, is it not? Some individuals may publicly cry upon seeing the emaciated bodies of filmed famine victims, children with distended bellies and blank expressions, helplessly pestered by flies. Then these same individuals traipse home without effect, resuming their normal routines uninterrupted. Others, however, after shedding the same seemingly sentimental tears, are transformed into caring givers, maybe even sacrificially giving whole years or decades of their lives to the cause.

    Same silly tears, but only the former were "virtue signalling." The latter actually possessed virtue.

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