Notes Concerning the Authors
Visitors of the web-site of the Society of Independent Southern Historians should rightfully wonder by what justification is included The Holy Bible, laid down by God’s Prophets between 1,900 years ago and perhaps, by oral tradition, as much as 4,000 years ago. Good question. Let this reviewer explain.
There was a difference in the faith and religious attitudes of the Northern population versus the Southern population, even from the beginning of the settlement of North America. First, settlers came to Jamestown, Virginia Colony, and some brought with them a faith that was rather consistent with believers in the British Isles. Next, settlers came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and what became “New England.” These came to set up a Puritan Separatist society where the Puritan Church oversaw both church and government affairs. From these beginnings, the religious component of the Northern culture and of the Southern culture evolved along separate paths. And, compared to the South, religious beliefs diversified more greatly in the North as the faith of Puritan Separatists drifted toward other “isms,” and dispensed what outsiders viewed as a “holier than thou” personality, and as the North absorbed far more immigrants than did the South during the passage of the years. Clearly, the South was a more uniform people than was the North.
So, let us ask, what guided the religious life of the Southern people, particularly those who took religion seriously? The answer is The Holy Bible. Therefore, we put this book in the list of Recommended Reading references in our web-site. You say, “The Holy Bible is too many words, too many stories, whoever reads it, whoever reads it from front to back?” This reviewer has. Serious readers who tackle voluminous books read works of that length. Read three long history books, and you have covered the length within The Holy Bible.
There is one small segment in The Holy Bible that this reviewer will reference to illustrate how it has influenced the Southern culture and distinguished it from the Northern culture. I refer to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul begins:
“Paul, an apostle — sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — and all the brothers with me — To the churches in Galatia.”
Paul proceeds to expound the Gospel to these Galatians. Now, jumping to Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22, we arrive at Paul’s instruction regarding the “Fruits of the Spirit.” Here Paul is defining the personal qualities desired in a believer, within whom the Holy Spirit dwells. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit produces, or ought to produce, defined “fruits.” These Paul itemizes:
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
His reference to “law” includes both Jewish law and government law.
Now, let us examine these qualities of personal behavior. But first, we need to remind ourselves that the scope of interests of the Society of Independent Southern Historians runs from 1607 (Jamestown founded) to 1940 (the end our interests). So, let us step back 70 plus years to 1940 and seek to understand the influence of Christian faith, at that point, on the Southern culture and contrast it to the corresponding influence on Northern culture.
This reviewer, looking at 1940, finds that the Southern culture exhibits, to a greater extent, love of neighbor; joy within the heart; patience in the face of conflict; goodness toward others, including a spirit of charity; faithfulness in most matters, including honesty in dealings; a gentleness of manners, and a self-control that invites cooperation. These attributes of character, which this reviewer sees as more common-place in the Southern culture as of 1940, is partly explained by the predominance of agrarian life in the South, as contrasted with the more industrialized North, and is partly explained by the history of the Southern people and their ancestors.
The predominance of Christian churches in the South, both those supported mostly by whites and those supported mostly by blacks, was obvious to travelers in the 1930’s and is obvious to travelers today. Historians had long called much of the South, “the Bible Belt,” and commentators say the same of that region today.
So, as you study the Southern culture and the influence upon it of Christian faith and religion, make sure you understand the teachings in The Holy Bible and especially the teachings of Jesus Christ. In that study you will become more acquainted with the culture of the Southern people and their ancestors.
Availability of this Book