Since man’s deepest needs are spiritual, and man lives in society and is fallen, there is bound to be among men virtue or holiness signaling. We all have the desire, and often are required, to let others know where we stand with respect to cultural mores.
There will be signalling in the absence or presence of a recognized religion. In the West, which used to be Christian, there is now among the elites largely the religion of Man, i.e. Man worship. Christianity lingers at the edges. Christianity was, or rather is, an organized religion with a priesthood, more or less diffused among sects. The religion of Man, i.e. secularism, is at pains to say it isn’t a religion, which is absurd, but which has the practical result that there is no official priesthood.
One still exists, of course, (which some call ironically The Cathedral), but the trouble is that, while there are many self-appointed priests, nobody is quite sure who is a bishop. Secularism also doesn’t have written dogma, where by dogma I mean fundamental, unchangeable tenets that are strictly controlled by a Magisterium, such as exists in the Church.
The nearest thing to secularists dogma is “Man is the measure of all things” (an ancient belief always thought of as recent revelation), but which has no meaning until it is applied to questions. Which questions are thought most important are in some part decided by history, hence the obsession with racism, sexism, and X-aphobia (where X is a variable). Now the lack of official dogma in concert with the absence of officially recognized central authority explains, in part, the continual leftward drift of secularism and history helps explain the destination.
Because there is no clear path of advancement, innovation and exposure are seen as a good methods to gain status. The loudmouth who thrusts noisily into new frontiers of Political Correctness (a.k.a. Cultural Marxism), the simulacrum of dogma, is accorded the most credit. Not always, but mostly. Hence the left grows ever strident. What was routine and accepted by all five years ago is now irremediably racist, sexist, X-aphobic. For example, a racist was once someone who killed or harmed another because of the other’s race. A racist is now one who refuses to concur that whites are congenitally evil. This is why who was once a priest, if he has not kept fresh and on his game, is now demoted to the congregation, or even seen as apostate.
As said, signalling still happens where there is recognized religion. But since most won’t or can’t join the official priesthood, there is a kind of ceiling for the congregation, meaning rightward drift is constrained among civilians. Priests still vie for promotion, but much of their signalling is to other priests and bishops.
Abuse can still and does occur under official religions, but the presence of dogma, or rather the recognition that it exists and can be known, tempers the abuse and constrains the drift. This implies that greater adherence to dogma, i.e. the more it is seen as unchanging and complete, the less drift there can be. Now, marry that to the extent dogma matches Reality, and you have a system with less strife and more predictability.
Not all official religions have as strong a grasp of dogma as say Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Splinter groups in Christianity (and other religions) form because of disputes in dogma, which is dangerous because it challenges the idea that dogma is dogmatic. And indeed those that have split have generally abandoned dogma and shifted towards secularism.
Across Islam, which is splintered, dogma might be summarized as “Allah does whatever He wants.” This, like Protagoras, must be applied, and is being applied as is obvious, but the drift is rightwards because of the increasing recognition in the necessity of dogma. Islam also knows it suffers from a lack of a centralized priesthood, which is why it seeking to strengthen it.