Integrity Signaling

Being saved doesn’t make you a decent person. The very idea that salvation comes through faith is a sure-fire road to an ill-potentialed [sic] life of self-excuse. In evangelical circles, sinners celebrate their weakness, often publicizing their sin as some sort of faith virtue. I’ll call it “integrity signaling”. Drawing attention to yourself, aligning to a groupthink attempt to appear human.

Remember Jimmy Swaggart, the Assembly of God televangelist “I have sinned” confession. “I have sinned against you,” he said, looking directly at Frances, his wife of 35 years, and then turned his apologies to his son Donnie, daughter-in-law Debbie, his parishioners and his God. “I have sinned against You, my Lord, and I would ask that Your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgetfulness.” His audience, plainly moved by his copious tears, wept with him, interrupting him twice with standing ovations. It is part of evangelical culture.

This type of sinner virtue born again belief is a disgusting display of false remorse, but a badge of honor to release your guile publicly. Somehow this integrity signaling is supposed to make you a decent person. It doesn’t. Good behavior and personal responsibility is what makes us all tolerable. Look here, pretending justification by pretending to be forgiven doesn’t make our problems go away. Sometimes it takes a little effort, and we all could use some of that.


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

55 thoughts on “Integrity Signaling”

  1. So many of those big-name religious figures are, first and foremost, accomplished actors. Let’s face it, since the goal is to put forth and emotional appeal, actions/facial expressions/on-stage mannerisms really do matter. It helps with fleecing the flock.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I remember Swaggart’s public confession and those of others like Jimmy Bakker. What always struck me about these people is how the begging for forgiveness doesn’t come until *after* the evidence has become so great that even their True Believers can’t ignore it any longer and they’re in danger of being booted out or, as in the case with Bakker, even being arrested and convicted. One would think that if they were really sincere, the confession would come immediately after the transgression took place, not until it after it was forced out of them when they couldn’t keep denying it any longer.

    I don’t know what Swaggart is up to these days, but Bakker went right back at it again as soon as he got out of federal prison. He’s running what amounts to an infomercial for survivalist supplies and equipment disguised as a religious program these days, using the usual “the end is coming!!!” scare tactics to push buckets of freeze dried food. I frankly never understood that. Don’t these people believe that when the end times come, the TBs are going to be taken up to heaven leaving all of us sinners down here? So why would his TBs even need the stuff he’s selling?

    BTW there are videos of him demonstrating how to make some of this so-called food up on YouTube and other places. They’re hilarious. I think in one they’re making something they call mac and cheese that’s neon orange in color, mixing it up in a wheelbarrow with what looked like a shovel and Bakker scooping it up and raving about how good it was. Personally I think I’d rather die in the “end times” than have to eat that stuff.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I will do that. Amazingly this tactic somehow appeals to people. People convinced that they are sinners and goes hand in hand with deprecated behavior of the abused.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I saw something about that a few years ago on a blog. Someone shared the story of that poor kid. Talk about exploitation – I remember thinking that it was akin to child abuse; certainly child neglect in lots of ways. . .:(

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Hahahaha! But HEY!!! Jimmy STILL got to bang that woman anyway, and if I remember correctly, it wasn’t just once but twice… three times!? Who cares. The institution of traditional (and antiquated) marriage is a total joke anyway. Today, people STILL do whatever tha f*ck they want, religious or not — and they HOPE they don’t get caught. Bottom-line, a “legal” document of marriage (i.e. rental agreement!) and ring doesn’t mean a hill of beans. 🤣

    But to your ultimate point Jim, Christological theology is merely a paradigm that nurtures and enables unaccountability and personal disempowerment. It is super hyped-up sales & marketing that keeps the “faith” or religion alive, or rather… non-dead? 😉 😛

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Now, now PT. Don’t generalize based on your own experience. We’ll be celebrating our 41st Anniversary next month! I signed up for at least 50. 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Oh no Carmen. There are CERTAINLY some exceptions, you and yours being one. 😉 Huge congrats by the way! 👏 And it CAN be done, but I don’t feel it is the norm — especially when raw honesty (not one’s public image) about one’s human nature is openly divulged and articulated. Besides, there are only about 3% (?) of all species on Earth that are monogamous for life, out of some 8.6 million species… give or take 2-million. And primates (homo sapiens) are NOT one of them! Hahahaha! 😆

        Liked by 3 people

            1. I occasionally thought of finding a new wife but I doubt anyone would put up with my nonsense so I was prepared to put up with her awful cooking, and dreadful purple rinse wigs and she agreed not to complain about me using her late mother’s urn as an ashtray.
              Marriage is all about compromise, you know?

              Liked by 5 people

            2. Indeed it is. (Jim, if you’ll excuse my rambling here… I’ll come to my point and back around to your post’s purpose)

              And I’d say in addition to compromise, raw communication, even proactive communication is critical as well. Having a long background in counseling I’ve also learned that the expression of affection/love comes in MANY various forms, at minimum 6 different ways, but honestly more than that. Personally, I learned that not only do I need to understand my own methods of expressing it (like a language), but I also need to be able to recognize other’s (her) forms of expressing it too! And as I’m sure you know as well Ark, those forms, habits, what not, CHANGE over time! Hahaha! 😄 Hence, a man must stay intune and attentive to those changes!

              Perhaps what my initial comment about “traditional” monogamous marriage was also implying is that if one thinks a marriage is like proprietorship, then the chances of it being a lifetime HAPPY marriage are slim, dismal. In my personal opinion and years of Psych/A&D counseling — which definitely includes dynamics of marriage/family — the restrictive, controlling religious traditions of marriage, fornication, etc, etc, do more harm than good. They automatically presume a negative human condition (sin, depravity) that often does not exist at all. Therefore, all the suffocating rules ultimately backfire… as they did with a roaring BANG with Pastor Swaggart!!! Or should it be Pastor Swinger!? 😉

              Liked by 3 people

    2. Wow, most of you have been married longer than I’ve been alive. 🙂 I will say that marriage can and does still work (even in this younger generation). I’m only 40 but August 8th will be my twentieth wedding anniversary. I’m catching up to you guys.

      Liked by 7 people

        1. Jim,

          What I guess needs to be reiterated here is that again… there are exceptions. Those who figure out — thru lots of ups, downs, average, etc, times — how to make it work apparently have lots(?) of flexibility, for lack of a better term. 😉
          Unfortunately, here in the puritan USA, our divorce rate is about 45% – 50% of all marriages. And this stat doesn’t include infidelity, if in fact that has been divulged or discovered. 😛

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I have to look at these numbers and just laugh a little. Aren’t all of you supposed to be amoral, godless, reckless sinners? There is no way that if Christian demonization of atheist were true you’d be able to pull of this hoax of voluntary monogamous union for for so many lustrum.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. Hahahaha… when I was a part of evangy non-denominational churches (my then wife preferred those over all others) over my 11-years in ministry and seminary, it wasn’t too uncommon for many “Believers” or “Followers” (ministers?) in those churches to be divorced at least once, perhaps 2-3 times, for all sorts of “theological” reasons, yet laughably ironic the Apostle Paul pretty much states that other than death, adultery or infidelity were the only two legitimate justifications for divorce! 😮 HAH! And btw, divorce was to be the choice of the victim. Not domestic abuse or a spouse’s loss of faith, but either DEATH or ADULTERY! Now what does that imply about our nation’s divorce rate, at least among “Christians”? 🤣

              Liked by 3 people

            2. I would say it implies what you’re implying! Lol. After all, Christian morality IS sexual purity above any trivial crap about fairness, honesty, or equality.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. Not sure what part you are referring to. Elaborate please good sir. Here’s the lyric. “I’m in the dark, I’d like to read his mind
              but I’m frightened of the things I might find
              Oh, there must be something he’s thinking of
              to tear him away
              when I tell him that I’m falling in love
              why does he say
              hush hush
              keep it down now
              voices carry
              I try so hard not to get upset
              because I know all the trouble I’ll get
              oh, he tells me tears are something to hide
              and something to fear
              and I try so hard to keep it inside
              so no one can hear
              hush hush
              keep it down now
              voices carry
              He wants me
              but only part of the time
              He wants me
              if he can keep me in line
              hush hush
              keep it down now
              voices carry
              hush hush, darling, she might overhear
              oh, no-voices carry
              he said shut up he said shut up
              oh God can’t you keep it down
              voices carry
              I wish he would let me talk”

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Well good Sir, not to be terribly cryptic, but if I may, I’d like to let this lie (as in rest, or perhaps more – LOL 😉 ) for a bit, maybe see what others imagine. As I ponder the multiple facets of our sub-topic here and this song, I’m inspired to maybe write a post about it. It is a fascinating tale (I think) of human nature and interaction sometimes repressed or unleashed by society. What it is…

              to be human. 🙂

              Would this be acceptable for now Jim? 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            5. I went out to finish up some drywall, and it came to me. Duh! Yes, about half is probably accurate. And the other half? Liars!!!!

              Liked by 2 people

  4. Remember the song ‘Spirit in the Sky’ by Norman Greenbaum? Some of the lyrics go like this:

    “Never been a sinner I never sinned
    I got a friend in Jesus
    So you know that when I die
    He’s gonna set me up with
    The spirit in the sky”

    I’ve read that Christians gave Ol’ Norm a lot of grief for the ‘never sinned’ comment. LOL If the observant Jew can write and sing a song like that, this atheist can certainly enjoy it (with a grin and an eye roll).

    But the point is, sin is as acceptable as, and makes room for hypocrisy. It is what it is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Have you seen the new phone apps. You can wake up with Joel, submit prayer requests and don’t forget the donate now button! It’s a huge joke, but not funny at all. All the big ones have them now.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Taboo sent a link one day from the App Store and I thought he was kidding. Nope. iOS and android. Got you covered. Now you can take Joel with you on your road trips. If you get lost you can send in a prayer request. Prayer warriors are standing by… seriously

          Liked by 3 people

  5. To the post topic, isn’t the idea that every human is a sinner from birth because of Adam and Eve? So you sin in a sexual way and it gives you better street sinning credit? Confuse the heck out of me. Like you said, It was not me who did it, it was the devil and it was the sin taking over. Other wise we are all grand people but every now and again that old bad sin simply get the upper hand in the fight and beats us, you understand right? You have to forgive me now Right? And forget as I am now covered by the blood of the lamb thingy. So forget I ever did anything wrong and just let me go forth to do what I want to do , again.

    As to length of time together Ron and I are celebrating our 28th year this year. Part of what works for us is the idea we do not own each other. We are not slaves nor property. We also realized that sometimes things happen and has consequences we did not plan for or want. Every marriage is different, it is an agreement between the people involved. The funny thing is we agreed 28 years ago that if it came to a situation where one of us simply had a biological need to have relations with someone, the rules we set up was to talk about it first, and if wished for both of us be involved. Funny thing in 28 years neither of us have felt the need to have relationships with any others. Not to say that others who do have others involved in there relationship are wrong, but we simply have not felt the need of it. The important thing is we do not feel we control the other, we do not treat the other as less than fully human with all human rights. We do not treat each other as boss or employee. Hope that makes sense as I really can’t not seem to explain it well tonight. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry for the late response Scotty. That openness you shared is an amazing example getting it right—trust, love, devotion, and friendship. By choice, not by obligation. A moral standard of decency no signed paper can produce

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many times
      I will pray for you
      is almost another way of saying
      I don’t want to help you

      Some of the people who say they will pray for you end up not even praying for you

      Liked by 2 people

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