I must ask myself if pretentiousness can ever be truly the sign of godliness. All around us we constantly see people making great show of their “faith”, trumpeting their religious values and calling attention to themselves as examples of uprightness. These “pious acts” most commonly take the form of public prayers, public testimonies, and overt and aggressive attempts to indoctrinate and proselytize.
In the political process, countless candidates and voters alike claim divine mandates to lead, correct, and re-direct the nation. The implied arrogance of these self appointed “religiously superior ones” is both astounding and justifiably appalling. People who claim Jesus as their example, by their very actions, deny His every operating principle and yet call themselves Christians, followers of Christ. These actions align perfectly with the example of the Pharisee who prayed ostentatiously that he was just thankful that he was not like this sinner over here. If these “Christians” want Jesus’ approval they need to climb off their high horse, step down from the soap box, and demonstrate some humility and repentance of their own like the publican (Luke 18).
It is no wonder that the skeptics and non-believers shake their heads and run away from all this religious demagoguery. The hypocrisy of such un-Christ-like presumption and arrogance is the real reason why the term “Christian” is despised by so many, not the church’s convenient explanation that man is just willfully evil.
True piety is marked by basically two things: humility and self sacrifice. You won’t find anyone practicing these real virtues by seeking the public stage and trying to call attention to how morally superior they are. Truly godly folks lead by example and don’t need to open their mouths to do so. The more inclined an individual is to proclaim their piety, the more suspect it realistically becomes.