Thursday, February 16, 2017

Appearance, Not Character, Is What Matters In a Post-Christian Culture

Image result for online reputation cartoon

What happens in a world where there is no moral code, but - weirdly - people are still concerned about their "reputations?" (Why?)

In a post-Christian culture, virtues such as living in some kind of holiness and righteousness are not cool. Instead of who we truly are (our character), we are left with how we appear to others. Appearance, not reality, is what counts.

Reputations are increasingly being fabricated on social media. Because everyone still needs to be loved and liked, as well as get hired, one's image is re-formed in terms of one's liked-ness. (Do you like "me" when you see "me?")

In post-Christianity people live by the old hedonistic code, "if it feels good, do it." Unfortunately, this ends up tarnishing one's precious reputation.

Fortunately, if you have the money, even though your character cannot be changed (because you are commanded to "accept who you are"), your sickly reputation can be erased, or at least hidden. Online reputation repair is available, so that who you really are will not be seen (because who you really are is unacceptable). This is not even about how you want to be seen, but how others want to see you. Whatever that is (it changes), you can pay to have yourself look better.

Here are some quotes from reputation repair specialists.

"We can make you look great on the internet." (here)

"Look great when people search your name." (here)

"To be successful, Google needs to approve of you." (here)

"Our experts will fix negative Google results so you look great online." (here)

How much money will you need to do this? Remember, because you are so miserably unacceptable, a whole lot of ongoing, monthly expertise and time management will be needed. You are a sorry case, and you have to pay for damage control.


"how much does online reputation management cost? It depends. It could range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars every month. How much does online reputation really cost? It could cost you your reputation." (See here.)

I think I'll save the money and focus my on my character. It is flawed. I need more transformation. Rather than hide it, I'll confess it to my Christian brothers and sisters who love me and pray for me, and who have also not fully arrived. Confession and forgiveness of sins is not reputation repair, but community character development.

For some inspiration on the subject of character, see David Brooks, The Road to Character, where you will meet real people who could care less about their reputations.

My new book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.