The Bible Belt: Is It Losing Its Hold?

Growing up, I was immersed in church.  Not just raised.  Not just ‘went on Sundays.’  But completely drowning in it.  I think I may have had some sort of aura oozing out of my skin, I went so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily downing it, as it has had a truly beneficial impact on my life.  Religion definitely kept me out of trouble growing up (I spoiled my parents, I was so good).  And, why, it even came in handy last weekend when I spouted off the books of the Bible drunk as a skunk to the amazement of my friends (I think it has talent show potential).

Kidding aside, while I do consider my faith in God a deeply personal and critical part of who I am, I have found myself over the past few years increasingly disinclined to organized religion and the ‘culture’ that has become so representative of Western Christianity. And so when I read today that Jimmy Carter is leaving the Southern Baptist denomination for its, how should I put this, “slightly less than progressive” view  of women in religion and society, I wondered how many other Bible Belters out there are like Jimmy and me?  I’m not insinuating that President Carter is giving up church altogether, but he obviously had enough with a certain aspect of the culture and deemed it a deal-breaker (and kudos to him for doing so…there is potential for lots of soap-box standing right about now, but I’ll leave it for you to ponder my monologue on the subject).

So my question is, can you believe without succumbing to the ‘culture?’  Because really, that’s what the “Bible Belt” is.  When you think of the term, you don’t think of kindness, love, passion, sacrifice–all the sacred aspects of the faith that have drawn millions to it throughout the years.  The images that come to mind are far less hallowed:  steeples on every corner, Bible studies, frilly dresses and gossips, tent revivals and Sunday school…in essence, a culture.  Are the faith and the culture two separate entities? I for one hope so because I love my faith, but I am so over the picture that the Bible Belt has painted of it.

I could keep going on this point, but it’s late and time for bed.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so show me some love on this!

~DC Darlin’usa_bible_belt

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3 Comments

Filed under My Life - DC Darlin', News, Pop Culture

3 responses to “The Bible Belt: Is It Losing Its Hold?

  1. BostonBelle

    I obviously share your upbringing in the ‘culture,’ but took on your new found outlook very early in my life. In fact, I spent many years fearing my own condemnation to Hell because I had these feelings. And everything in my upbringing had taught me that it was wrong—something was wrong with me. As you know, a belief that doesn’t invloved Jesus as your Savior, or the Bible to a T isn’t always accepted. I experienced a deep internal struggle that I battled throughout college. And then I moved on my own and realized that no one should influence my religion choices. It was up to me to trust my instinct. And for that I was not OR AM NOT a bad person. Certain members of my family remain very religious, but it has been comforting to realize that they still have so much love and respect for me and my choices. I recognize that I have a lot to learn about religious motivations and choices, but I truely believe that I have a better understanding of humanity and the world by stepping outside of ‘the culture’ and opening my eyes to all the wonderful differences in the world. If only this had been taught to me at a younger age.

  2. In answer to your question, of course you don’t have to be part of the culture to be part of the faith community. And, there are a number of people and groups moving to get the Church to look like the Church and not Southern culture. People who realize that we’ve created a weird subculture that is ineffective at ministering to those on the outside, and often toxic to those on the inside.

    But, Jimmy is making this announcement for–I believe–the third time. It’s purely a political move at this point–it has nothing really behind it.

  3. Mr. Pibb

    When you question religion and social conservatism involved, you are carrying on the traditions of PROTESTantism. Though I am not a Christian, it is a tradition of the Christian faith to question it and to grow. Remember religion isn’t what God says (if there is a God), but what people THINK God says. So you should question them. They use The Bible to hide behind their own hate.

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