Five Truths of the Bible Belt
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Five Truths of the Bible Belt
Jan 31/17

Five Truths of the Bible Belt Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments

We love the south. It’s small towns, community spirit, quirky customs, well meaning folks, inexplicable love of football, and of course its roots in family and faith.

You don’t have to drive too far into the South to understand why people call it the Bible Belt. The south is full of people who Chris Queen, southern author of the book Football, Faith & Flannery O’Connor says “Southerners may not always view every moment of every day through the lens of Christianity like we ought to,” Queen says, “but it looms large over everything in Dixie.” 

Here are five unique truths that support the strength of faith in the South.

 

  1. A Storied History of Religion from Colonial Days to the Present.

 Several strains of Christianity have taken root in the South. Anglicanism found favor first, followed by the evangelical Protestantism of the Great Awakening and a Second Great Awakening that gave rise to Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. Next came the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ and churches of Christ in the American Restoration. Enslaved blacks also embraced the Bible message of liberation, with the first black congregation beginning in Silver Bluff, Georgia, in 1773.

 

  1. The Presence of Great Religious Leaders.                                                      
Both televangelist Billy Graham and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., two of the most noteworthy Christians in recent U.S. history, came from the South. From Texas to South Carolina the south has produced Joel Olsteen, Oral Roberts, TD Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Jimmy Swaggart, John Hagee and Queen dozens others who were “driven to serve, minister and teach by the same God whose message permeates the South.”                                           

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    1. References Saturates Daily Language & Expression                             

    The very nickname “Bible Belt” is but one example. Other evidences include: the popularity of Bible phrases (“the Lord is my shepherd,” Psalms 23) and passages (John 3:16) in American culture; Southern colloquial expressions like “bless his heart” and “I almost lost my religion”; and wise sayings with religious overtones, such as “God helps those who help themselves.” Although many people don’t realize it, many southern sayings are directly from the bible. Here are a few: “Jumping Jehoshaphat” (Chronicles), “A drop in the bucket” (Isaiah), “A scapegoat” (Leviticus), and “The writing is on the wall” (Daniel).

     

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            4. An Abundance of Church Buildings.                                                                         

      Mainly due to the size of the Southern Baptist Convention Congregation, according to real estate audits the Southern states have 19% more church buildings per capita than states above the Mason Dixon Line.

         

        1. Worship Attendance and Bible Readership.                                                      
        Both are higher in the South than anywhere else in the country. A 2015 Gallup survey revealed that 10 of the top 12 states in attendance are in the region, while another survey indicated that two-thirds of Southerners regularly read their Bibles.

           

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          And finally, in his book Queen acknowledges that the Southern manifestation of Christianity is not perfect. It is “a sprawling, messy thing driven by imperfect people who love and serve a perfect God.” But he adds, “That’s what makes it so special."

           

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