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October 10th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Congressman draws fire for calling evolution, Big Bang ‘lies from the pit of hell’

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – A U.S. congressman is attracting attention and criticism for an online video that shows him blasting evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies from the pit of hell” in a recent speech at a church event in his home state of Georgia.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” U.S Rep. Paul Broun said in an address last month at a banquet organized by Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Speaking at Liberty Baptist Church’s Sportsman’s Banquet on September 27, he said that “a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.”

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“I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old,” Broun said in the speech, which Liberty Baptist Church posted on its website via YouTube.  “I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says."

Scientists say that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and that the universe dates back 13.7 billion years.

In his speech to the church group, Broun called the Bible the “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”

“That’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the congressman, Meredith Griffanti, said that Broun was not available for comment on Wednesday and that the video showed him “speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

The congressman’s remarks about science have drawn attention online, with critics taking aim at his role on the science committee.

Bill Nye, the popular science personality, told the Huffington Post in an e-mail that "Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest."

"For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old," said Nye, a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program "Bill Nye the Science Guy." Broun "is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."

Talking Points Memo reported on the church video over the weekend after being tipped off by the Bridge Project, a progressive group that tracks conservative activity.

Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

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In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution.  Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for 30 years.  In June, it released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

– CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Evolution • Politics • Science

soundoff (5,886 Responses)
  1. Engineer

    maybe he is from a lost tribe of Utah.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  2. Colin

    Dear Creationists:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I “loved” you, like you claim, why would I not smite the devil? I’m all powerful remember. I could eradicate hell in an instant, but instead I prefer to subject billions of people to a grotesque eternal torture that would turn the stomach of the most sadistic of murderers simply for refusing to subject themselves to me.

    Further, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • D

      Amen!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • nasticy

      Dear Colin
      There is a Judgement Day....a day of reckoning. I can assure you these amusing lines you just penned will not be so amusing. If you 've heard this once, you might have heard it a thousand times...... Please REPENT believe in YOUR LORD GOD Jesus Christ before its too late.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @nasticy

      The biblical concept of god, even if true, is not worthy of worship.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • wangfeihong

      Excellent. What about the trillions of other beings in the trillions of other galaxies throughout the universe? But the creationists can't fathom those possibilities. Excellent post, Thanks!

      October 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  3. Rick

    Just goes to show, you can have all the intelligence in the world and still be dumb as dirt.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Engineer

      I learned Bush had a MBA from Harvard.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Bought by his dad?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Engineer

    Maybe Paul Broun wears magical mormon underwear. Does anyone know?

    October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • D

      That's Mormons you're thinking of. Just sayin

      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Engineer

      True but, I am still shocked about that and some mormon cartoon found on youtube. Stating people of color are cursed. It's on youtube and I am simply nodding my head at all of this on this day in the year 2012 AD.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Sam Yaza (a Devil in a white dress)

    In his speech to the church group, Broun called the Bible the “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”

    lets hope not

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)\

    not the best public policy

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

    not the best public policy

    So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin." Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

    The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."

    Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'" So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.(Judges 21:10-24 NLT)

    not a vary god foreign policy

    October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  6. chill

    Is it any wonder that Congress gets passing grades from only 12-17% of the public? Where do they dig these guys up? This is the kind of thinking that will lead us back into the Third World. I hope all the business leaders and Chambers of Commerce out there understand why they can't find qualified help in this country when someone this ignorant is judged by a majority of his district as suitable for high public office. Keep supporting these embarrassments and your biggest market will implode on you.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What's worse is that no one has the chutzpah to run against this clown. He'll be re-elected unopposed!

      October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    there should really be an I.Q. test for anyone who wishes to be part of the government...any part!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Dann

      There is. I scored above 85 and failed it.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i'm sure dann, i am really sure. Bush was a C student....failed at everything...this country is made up of C students and you are basically making the claim that if there is an I.Q. test and Bush past it, then we all can – except you that is...sry :(

      this i just don't buy!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Jim

    WOW. This guys hold an elected office????

    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  9. David

    For those who worship at the altar of science, go study the big bang theory. It essentially states that the whole universe came into being from nothing but an explosion and they have no idea how or what caused it.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • D

      You need to re-read that material, cause it doesn't say what you think it says

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Hence the word theory. Maybe we should start calling religion a theory. Then idiots like this Broun would understand.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • ME II

      Current evidence, including the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, leads to the universe being an extremely small, dense, and hot area of space approximately 13.7 billion years ago. How the universe got to that point/situation is still not fully understood, but is being investigated.
      If you choose to view that as the way you stated it, so be it.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • 12car

      Uh, that's not what is says at all...

      October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Ed

      Not knowing the answer to a question does not mean there is no rational, natural, and discoverable answer. What is irrational is to assign magic as the cause becuse it hasn't been figured out yet.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  10. Shak

    When I think people can't get any dumber or ignorant, I am proven wrong. Well done Rep Broun you have hit a new low.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  11. rstlne

    First we find out Todd Akin is a creationist kook, and now we find out that Congressman Broun, another creationist who does not believe in peer reviewed science, is ALSO on the Science Committee. What does it take to get on the Congressional Science Committee? Failure in primary school basic science courses? This is absolutely ridiculous!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  12. Michael

    Doesn't it ever occur to Christians that the Big Bang and evolution are HOW God did it???

    October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • rstlne

      In SIX days???

      October 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • D

      Some people DO think that; they're still wrong.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Robert

      Which God would that be since there's been so many. How about Cernunnos since he was there before the others.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  13. Engineer

    I am still in awe of the so called mormon underwear with magical abilities.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Engineer

      worn by a candidate who may be the President of the United States of America. I don't think I will take my dog to a pet care location if it were run by one wearing magical underwear. Would you?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  14. RebelTexasDemocrat

    Another Zaphod Beeblebrox in the House........proof positive that you can't hold public office AND have a brain.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  15. Say It Isn't So !

    And this guy has to be on our nation's Congressional "Committee on Science, Space and Technology", of all things ??!

    Was he PLANTED there by the CHINESE ?? HA HA HA HA HA !!

    October 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Shak

      Even the Chinese are not that stupid.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  16. jOSH

    PS the creation story according to republicans
    On the fisrt day God created America on the second day he created the job creators, on the 3rd day he created money and saw it was good and he gave the job creators dominion over the earth , on the 4th day he created the 47% to be ruled over , on the 5th day he created Fox news who would have the dierct line to know His wishes, on the 6th day he created Cayman islands so the job creators would have the safe haven for their money and on the last day he rested and made it holy ..a day of rest for everybody but the working poor

    October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Dan

      A small correction, on the first day, God created the Republican party,

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • xirume

      Amen that

      October 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  17. johngaltwho

    When you willingly abandon reason, then reasonable people no longer have any way to communicate with you. The ability to think and process information, even crudely, is the foundation of communication, relationship building, and ultimately civilized society. People have a right to completely turn off their brains and proclaim belief in any thing but it would be helpful if they could see that they have decided that they no longer can have a seat at the table of reasoned personhood. The reasoning remainder of the population has a moral obligation to help you stay safe in your vacuous imaginary realm but we also have a duty to make sure that you don't drag sentient beings into the abyss with you.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Every hindu hungry dog follow's his reason of hind, hunger to bite and every hindu atheist worship's a reason to fulfill his hindu filthy soul, desire, way of hindu's criminal to justify their hinduism, illegality in defiance of truth absolute GOD. Human follow truth absolute GOD and hindu's criminals live by hindu criminal reasons like their own kind, animals. For more visit limitisthetruth.com

      October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  18. Phred

    The only difference between this guy and the Taliban is the degree they would go to impose their opinion. Both argue from the premise that not only are they right but they are so right that they can impose their views on others. I respect the Right to Be Wacko but dont expect me to follow this congressman or some iman. Brothers under a different hood.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  19. BlueDogJones

    If you can believe in evolution, you can believe in anything.

    October 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Bad doggy! Baaaaaaaad doggy!

      But if you believe in Magic Super Invisibuddy Jesus, then you know truthy thuth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • sam

      Evolution is not a belief system. Thanks for playing, though.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Merry Prankster

      Sam, you're OK in my book

      October 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  20. Sirned

    How embarrassing to have him representing this country...

    October 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.