Charleston, West Virginia is biblically-minded because it is mostly white

I’ve tried to stay away from Newt Gingrich-endorsing George Barna and his formerly-owned group (different owners now), especially this latest poll; however, something caught my attention today. First, let me note that the way Barna defines “biblically minded” is a poor exercise in circular thinking:

Individuals who report reading the Bible in a typical week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches are considered to be Bible-minded.

Note the absence of performance of biblical values (whatever they are). There is no orthopraxy, only (Evangelical style) orthodoxy. This is what “biblically minded” means. I really hate that the Charleston-Huntington metropolitan area (which, but the way, includes at least one Lion’s Den, and several more adult styles book stores and bars, a surprisingly high number of prescription drug use, the home of the television show Buckwild, and numerous ecological offenses against God and his creation) made the list.

Anyway, the point of the title is drawn from The Gospel Coalition’s “takeaway:”

  • The top ranking cities, where at least half of the population qualifies as Bible-minded, are all Southern cities.
  • Generally speaking, the more densely populated areas tend to be less Bible oriented.
  • Markets having a higher percentage of Hispanic Catholics are less likely to engage the Bible.

What do these take aways tell us? First, the predominantly culture that falls into Barna’s selection is the Deep South. Second, the Gospel Coalition believes that Hispanic Catholics, some of the most loyal Catholics, are less likely to “engage the Bible,” whatever the heck that means. Of course, if you were to really get the truth from the Gospel Coalition, they would tell you that Catholics do not engage the bible anyway. Because, you know, Mary.

In other words, if you are a minority, you are less like to be among the saved. Thank you, the Curse of Ham.

This does nothing to mention the definition of “biblically minded,” something we can pinpoint in this poll as one of the most subjective concepts alive today.

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

3 thoughts on “Charleston, West Virginia is biblically-minded because it is mostly white

  1. hey, just a quick clarification. Barna Group did not endorse Newt. I purchased the Barna Group three years ago because it is a very powerful brand to gain people’s attention. I’d appreciate it if you gave our work more serious consideration and a second look. We are distinctly Christian, and lean evangelical. But we’re definitely non-partisan, and I’ve personally headed up lots of work for the UMC among others. Thanks! David Kinnaman

    1. David –

      Newt Gingrich-endorsing George Barna’s group

      I didn’t know Barna had sold the group. My intention was to call attention to Barna’s endorsement of Newt. I’ll correct it to reflect this reality.

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