Atheists from Rural Areas?

I love my life here in Toledo. I love the people, the opportunities, and the shit ton of restaurants and stores. I’m happy to be raising my daughter in an urban setting. She’s going to meet lots of different people and try lots of different things.

Our house seems to be close to everything and we’re a little spoiled.

But my life actually began far from city limits. You may never guess that if you look at my current situation, but then I open my mouth. Ah yes, there’s that twang. I was once a country girl.

Is anyone else here from a rural area?

Why are rural areas usually conservative? Lack of diversity? Isolation?

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live there now. Have things changed?

I spent my entire childhood in the country. I headed to the city for college when I was eighteen and never looked back. Internet was still dial-up back then. Surely things have gotten more progressive by now, right?

I’d love to hear from some of you living in rural areas. How do you deal?

Today my husband and I visited these gigantic corn statues. They’re in Dublin, Ohio — about two hours from Toledo. I thought the photos were fitting for the post. 🙂


  1. kestrel says

    I live in a rural area but I’m afraid it’s not typical. in fact pretty much everyone who lives here (our county has less than 5,000 people in 2,000 square miles) votes blue. Interestingly about 10% of the local population are white. And, also interestingly, about 10% voted for Trump. Funny how that works. (Not us. We are indeed white, but definitely not Trumpers.)

    We really are rural. Most of my neighbors are cows. I’m half an hour away from a grocery store. We grow hay, raise chickens and sell eggs. I have a small market garden where I sell my produce at the local farmer’s market.

    We tend to have a lot of people from Texas move in and build a giant McMansion to retire in but they generally move back out. They think the area is too “liberal”. We have quite a few McMansions for sale in the area, but you’ll need at least a million dollars to buy one and you may not think it’s worth it – no one else does and typically these things sit empty and for sale for years and years.

    Anyway, not all rural areas are conservative.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    “Why are rural areas usually conservative?”
    I suspect its a natural sorting. About 120 years ago, something like 80% of Americans lived in rural areas. Then, factory jobs opened up in the cities. It was grueling and very fast-paced work, and it involved exposure to people, foods, and housing that was totally alien compared to back on the farm, but it payed much better and provided entertainments unavailable in the boonies. So, if you are naturally open to and excited by new experiences and different kinds of people, you tended to move to the cities. If you are repelled by the thought of trying unknown foods and scared of people who are different from you, you tended to stay in the sticks. Thus the pattern was set. A natural conservative born in Crabapple Corners today is surrounded by like-thinking neighbors and feels at home, while a natural liberal feels like an alien species and can’t wait to move to the big city.
    I and my two sisters grew up in a town of 4000 people in southern Arizona. As soon as I could, I moved to the SF Bay area. I love sushi and am always willing to try a new food. One sister stayed in our old town. I have tried several times to get her to try sushi, even ones that are fully cooked like a California roll or shrimp nagiri, she won’t even put it in her mouth even if I paid for it. The other sister moved to northern Arizona, but still to a tiny town. Once, I was visiting and was asked to go to her local market to get some garlic bread. Her market was out of garlic bread so I brought back some cheddar and jalapeno bread instead. She and her family reacted as if I had been the person who brought tomatoes to Italy. They loved it, but even though it had been available less than two miles from their house for literally decades, they had never once considered trying it.

    • rodm says

      There is a “brain drain” that has a great affect on rural areas. If you get great grades in high school you are encouraged to go to college. The drop outs and so-so students are more likely to stick near home. Rural areas don’t have many career positions for well educated professionals generally speaking, so off to the city go the smartest and most talented individuals. There are exceptions to this rule, but you get the idea.
      What do we know about well educated city dwellers? They tend to be liberals. Who has the rubber testicles hanging from the hitch of their rusty loud lifted pickup trucks? Trumpsters. Dumb as rocks. They are my neighbors, I know. Idiot would be a compliment to most of them. Ignorance and intolerance is found in massive proportions in my county. They voted red by some 80%.
      Do you know what they call a modern well educated person where I live? Cityit- like’s that for intolerance? If you don’t think like a man with no teeth that lives in a trailer with his elderly parents, you are STUPID.
      The worst part of those dumb fucks is that they breed. If that’s not bad enough they also burden every local charity and government assistance program available. It’s not like they don’t have a job. Making meth in your shed is a life long career for some. I don’t know exactly what the retirement benefits are but they include free meals and a cool bright orange jumpsuit individualized with its very own number stenciled on the back!
      I went from never locking my door to having my door kicked in. I have more cameras on my farm than any major studio in Hollywood. I lock up my locks. Instead of going to the dump, I just put the stuff on my front porch, it’s the quickest cheapest way to get rid of anything I don’t want. Rural America is suffering just as much as any inner city, just on a less populated scale. Our only hope is the new trend of people that work from home get tired of sky high housing prices of the larger metropolitan areas and move outward. I welcome them all with open arms.

  3. Katydid says

    Retired military here, have lived around the world in a lot of places. Currently I live in a semi-ruralish suburban area about 20 minutes from 2 major cities. It’s a mile to the nearest gas station, but if you drive 10 minutes, you can get pretty much anything you want, and there’s a huge variety of shops and restaurants.

    I just lost my next-door neighbors–also retired military. They moved to Nebraska to be near the husband’s family. The wife and I have been keeping up via email and she is just hating her life right now. For example; she needed coconut milk for a recipe she was making, and the local grocery store not only didn’t have it, but she was mocked for even wanting such a thing. Worse, everything having to do with the house is clearly in her husband’s name as far as the bank and real estate people are concerned–she’s a second-class citizen merely for being a woman. The culture shock is real and it is grueling to live.

    Oh, and she’s also been mocked for bringing a book to the nearby park and sitting on a bench and reading. Parks are for SPORTZBALL, not for reading like some pinko commie marxist soshulist weirdo.

  4. Fancy Monkey says

    I grew up on a lake outside of Milwaukee. We had a winter home in the suburbs where I went to school but I try to forget that nightmare and remember life on the lake in the summer. We were rich folks on the shoreline with farms behind us so it was a strange mix of businessmen, doctors, dentists and lawyers being neighbors with the very rural folks. It makes me country boy adjacent. I love the rural life and still live in a small town next to a lake…and in the deep south no less. Being a walker between these worlds I will confidently assert that the common thread that binds is Christianity. Farmers from the area and lawyers who commuted downtown every day went to church together. There is a good measure of nationalism as well because we all had beers together on the 4th and watched the fireworks. There is a simplicity to life there, far from the gang killings and bank robberies downtown. We knew the carny was in town because there were a few black people at the bar that night. Other than those encounters they were just the downtown folk doing all of the shooting and crimes on the news each evening. Far from the hustle and headaches of the city these people wanted God in their lives and the government out of them and that is what the Republicans, the conservatives promised them. They are still trying to sell the rural folk a quiet life free from brown people, homosexuals, government oversight, atheists and ungodly folk, abortion clinics and that constant threat of communism that they can’t point to but we all know is right there the moment we stop standiing for the national anthem and buying red white and blue paper plates every 4th of JUly.

  5. Katydid says

    Christian and conservative makes for a terrified, quavering, hysterical mess that is usually pants-soilingly terrified of people not like them.

    My state is right next to another state where the Christians tend to flee for sanctuary from people who don’t look exactly like them. One of my co-workers drives 2 hours each way to work to keep herself safe from nonwhite people and proudly tells of when she went to an upscale mall near our workplace to pick up a treat from a local store. She very proudly told us about how “everyone at the mall” crowded around her waiting to attack her and she “fell to the floor screaming” in terror. She’s very proud of the fact that her white Christian-ness makes her the subject of constant attack from those not exactly like her. It’s all in her mind–I doubt anyone at that upscale mall even noticed her until she fell screaming.

    • Dean Prange says

      I don’t buy the attack BS either. I’ve been in malls for service calls here in Atlanta area that are packed and I’m possibly the only white guy. No one gives a crap. Many of these people are driving nicer cars than me and shopping in stores I can’t afford. The mall management and security are non white as well. Who cares? Everyone is just doing their thing and no one has time to hassle Karen.

  6. Katydid says

    @Dean; the irony is that my former neighbor (white, Christian, born and raised Lutheran in a small town in Minnesota, still a practicing Christian) is facing all the nastiness and prejudice from the “salt of the earth” midwest, while Karen feels attacked when she steps foot in a suburban shopping mall. I’ve shopped in that mall, and as you noticed in yours, everyone is just doing their thing.

  7. Cindy Glenn says

    I am a farmer in a very rural red area. I cant live openly as an atheist here as I am female and I live alone. I am planning to move and only my closest friends and family know I am an atheist. My older brother is also on a farm and an atheist as are his kids who are city dwellers. I am planning to move in a couple of years as I approach retirement age.

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