The whole Sherri Shepherd issue really makes me wonder. First she says that she doesn’t know if the earth is flat or round, and now she says “I don’t think anything predated Christians.” While questions like “how [does] she manages to function with just a brain stem and no brain?” were asked in the comments at Pharyngula, and while she’s obviously no intellectual luminary, I really don’t think she’s quite as stupid as everyone makes her out to be. She’s a functioning adult, able to hold down a job which requires her to think on her feet. So I don’t think it’s stupidity, just ignorance.
A ridiculously large proportion of Americans claim to accept a literal reading of the Genesis creation story, but I have always wondered how many of them know what’s in the first couple chapters of Genesis? First there’s the obvious issue – two contradictory accounts of creation. Then there’s the brevity of the whole thing. How can you build a cohesive world view based on just a couple lines like that? I suppose part of the answer is that a lot of people know as little about the bible as does Sherri Shepherd. Says she doesn’t believe in evolution, but she also says that she doesn’t believe that there were never Christians. How does one miss the whole “Jesus came to save us” idea?
Do people really know that little about the religion they claim to profess? While (hopefully) most know a little more about it than Sherri Shepherd, I suspect that the vast majority of self-described Christians don’t know much about Christianity. And yet, they are quite willing to reject evolution. I don’t agree with Hitchens et al. who say that religion is the problem. I’d say that ignorance is the problem. I’d say that willingness to listen to “community leaders” is the problem. I really don’t think it’s fair to blame “religion” when religious people are that ignorant about what their own religions teach.
I believe that the root problem isn’t religion, it’s tribalism. Religion and nationalism are just two of the ways that people can harness tribalism to manipulate people.