Most and least religious
I was getting ready to head off to bed when I finished looking through Facebook updates. Then I found this. Well, I could kiss off sleeping for awhile. Discovering which states were the least religious as defined by that one poll was interesting. That the South is the most religious part of the US isn't news to anybody. Then I started reading comments and was just charmed beyond belief.
A few examples
Massachusetts has one of the highest average IQs of these United States
Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of education (with advanced degrees)
Massachusetts is one of the leading states in inventions and patents
Massachusetts is tied for the third least religious states. Go figure
Good to know. I'll stay away from the dark green states full of ignorant inbreds who wish for jesus ponies to return with their rapture.
Yeah.. GOOD. This is one of the best reasons to live here. The graph is great. It could also be a graph of productivity, crime, IQ, test scores, etc etc etc. It would look exactly the same. The worse the place the more religion..
Anyone who has ever been in the South understands that those crackers don't have very much to cling to, except God and guns. You'd be praying and attending those whacked-out mega churches throughout the Bible Belt too if you were married to your brother, sister, first cousin and had to endure all the y'alls and tobacco chewing and toothless neighbors that seem to come with territory south of the Mason Dixon line. The movie "Deliverance" was non-fiction!
Some of my favorite bible verses...
Ephesians 6:5 (My addition, the verse is "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear and sincerity of heart.")
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 ("Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission like the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.")
1 Timothy 2:9 ["I also want the women to dress modestly, not with elaborate hairstyles, or gold or pearls or expensive clothes (10) but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.]
Deuteronomy 23:1 (No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.)
What a useless relic of a bygone era. I wonder if any of the bible thumping people have actually read their bible?
I think charming is a good word to describe comments like these, don't you? Well, since I'm a religious Southerner, I must be a stupid, uneducated, ignorant, inbred, lazy, gun-toting, toothless criminal, not to mention unconcerned and uninvolved with the spiritual texts of my religion. Maybe, I'm just too dumb and lazy to understand what charming really means.
There's an old saying around here. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. I've had enough experience spotting a knee jerk, prejudiced reaction to know exactly what kind of duck I spotted here. The Bigot, specifically, the Northern Elitist Bigot, also regionally known as The Damn Yankee.
I want to be fair. There were a good number of commenters who called out the bigots on their responses. I also want to point out that poll referenced in the article did not mention a specific religion. The criteria was the percentage of people who say that religion is an important part of their daily lives. The last time I looked around, there were Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans and a whole array of people with other beliefs who are actively religious, but not Christian. And my goodness, some of them are even Southern. The commenters though seemed to focus solely on Christianity. That seems a bit exclusionary to me, coincidentally another sign of bigotry.
Insults to my region aside, it upsets me that there is still the assumption that living with faith in God means shutting off the brain. I've known too many Christians who have worried about their faith being too thought oriented. They've feared that in intellectually delving into their religion, their faith and their understanding of God that they might be missing a deeper spiritual or emotional understanding. I personally cannot grasp the idea of not thinking through my beliefs. Understanding what I believe and the principles which guide how I choose to live my life is a key element of my faith. Also, the Bible isn't exactly easy reading. I'm not a literalist, and that might make it harder. I'm constantly searching through the layers of cultural traditions and context, the many years since the Bible was written, the individual perspectives of the authors and the many translations the Bible has gone through for the Truth behind the text to come through. I've learned along the road that pulling one verse away from that context can be a very dangerous and misleading thing.
I'm not one of organized religion's biggest defenders. I can honestly say that religion nearly destroyed my relationship with God, but it was religion that helped me make the connection to God again. Religion is a flawed, man made thing, no matter where it's practiced, but it can be a powerful asset in someone's life. Whatever its strengths and weaknesses though, I see religion best as a map of how other people found God.
There is part of me that would like to go through point by point and show how the generalizations that have been made here are just assumptions. I could point out that the American city with the highest number of Ph.D.s per capita is Southern (Oak Ridge, TN) or that one of the very public faces of American science, NASA, largely operates in the South. Yes, I can defend my region and religion in general, but I also recognize the problems of both. That actually feels like a gift of grace. It keeps me from thinking that all people who do not practice any religion or people who don't live in the South are all like the people quoted above.