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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. Rebel4Christ

    The congressman is right! The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'd follow the devil before Yahweh. Look at Yahweh's body count in comparison with Satan's.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Give the devil props. He worked hard burying all those fossils, uranium, DNA, and everything else that says you're full of poo.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Do you have any evidence to present to us in proof of what you said? Can you actually prove that the "devil" even exists? Hell, at least the fire and brimstone hell, and the horned devil came from the Greeks, who love a good tragedy or comedy, depending of how you look at it.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • xirume

      Ignorant idiots

      October 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Read Elaine Pagels, (Princeton), "The Origins of Satan". It's like believing in Baal. Do you believe in Baal Reb ?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Hellfire came from the trash dump constantly burning outside Jerusalem, (Gehenna). There was no "fire" in Biblical "Sheol".

      October 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist!"

      Since apparently the majority of people in the country still believe in the devil, it seems his greatest trick was not so impressive.

      October 11, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  2. ArthurP

    Genesis : What really happened.

    One day God and the Mrs. were, well you know, and being a good husband he was being very attentive to her desires shall we say. Anyway the upshot of it was that towards the end of their dalliance there was a very BIG BANG!!! . The remnants of which can still be detected today. We call it Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. And then nine months after that the Universe was born. And like all children it started to grow, a process which can be still seen today with the expanding Universe.

    See science supports this. This is how it really happened. Anyone who does not believe this will be condemned to Hell to listen to disco music for all eternity.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  3. Non Atheist

    CNN is running a witch-hunt on believers ... shame! Atheism is the new state religion of USA ... believe or perish.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      That is Nonsense, mainly because Atheism is NOT a religion... fail

      October 10, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • huhb

      The "witch-hunt" is on ingnorance-loving government officials who sit on science committees.

      That there's a HUGE overlap with these idiots and believers isn't the fault of CNN.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • mama kindless

      So you actually believe the statements of the congressman?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • xirume

      Thank God for that !!!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Non Atheist

      mama kindless

      i do not believe that the earth is 9000 years old. vedic calculations are confirmed by scientific claims that the earth is some 4 billion odd years old.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Thank you, Non Atheist. Do you believe that life evolves as described by scientific evolutionists?

      October 11, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  4. pflatman

    Broun must be brouning himself everyday with such rampant paranoia. Ooooh! The pits of hell! Were those created in 7 days, too? If this guy is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, maybe he believes that God lives on the moon, too. And the devil is inside the earth's deepest crust. Wow.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  5. ArthurP

    Genesis For The Modern Age

    1. In the beginning there was only God and he alone created the void that was the Universe. Then into the void that was the Universe God placed a infinitesimal part of his being.

    2. And the void being with out substance was unable to contain this essence of God and so it expanded at a terrible speed releasing unimaginable energies.

    3. Where upon God created the four fundamental forces toe contain these energies. The Strong Nuclear Force, the Weak Nuclear Force, the Gravitational Force and the Electromagnetic Force.

    4. And with the establishment of these controlling forces expansion of the Universe slowed and the great energies cooled the first elementary partials were formed.

    5. And from these partials the first atoms were formed. The initial one having a single proton and electron and God looked down and said let this be called Hydrogen.

    6. Then when all the Universe was Hydrogen the Fundamental Force of Gravity caused groups of these atoms to come together in ever larger masses.

    7. Where upon when the masses became so large and the Force of Gravity so strong that they started to smash the atoms of Hydrogen together creating new atoms and releasing new energies that illuminated the Universe.

    8. And thus Stars were born and there was now light upon the void.

    9. Then as the forces within the stars created heavier and heavier atoms the energies generated within became great. Greater in fact than the Force of Gravity. Where upon the very Stars themselves exploded spewing the atoms out in great clouds into the void.

    10. Again the fundamental forces came into play creating new stars from the lighter atoms and Planets from the heavier ones. Starting the cycle of Star birth and death.

    11. Now it came to pass that the Planets once formed were much cooler than the Stars allowing the atoms of various types to join together according to the Fundamental forces into molecules.

    12. Some were simple such as the water that filled the seas some were complex such as the precursor proteins of life itself.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Greg G. Moore

      Pretty good. Why is this so hard to believe?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • xirume

      Now there's a religion I can beleive in.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      you will never shake my belief that we are all simply sims in some teenager's computer game

      October 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  6. John

    Evolution does sound like something from a real tool, but it's worse than that. Evolution is a racist lie.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Maybe you and Rep. Broun can set up your own research lab....

      October 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      What are you trying to say with that rant? The original, not the comeback.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • xirume

      John, you are a broken tool

      October 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  7. Joe

    So what about finding evolution credible and a 4.5 billion earth scientifically sound make you not believe in God? How do you calculate the earth's age scientifically without the scientific methods used already?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  8. erin111

    We need the evolution in our government. Those who are mentally challenged should be eliminated. People, WE are a tool for the evolution, vote!!! and remove the mentally unfit from OUR government.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  9. Bill

    Hey cut him some slack-he's from Georgia.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Hey, I'm originally from South Carolina, and I was able to break away from all that fundamental nonsense. Thankfully, I'm now in Maine.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Is the lobster as good as they say it is?

      October 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @Rational, YES it is.. and cheap, very cheap... if you go down to the docks in Portland or Kennebunk, you can get lobster for about three dollars a pound.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      The soft shells were awesome this year, those are lobster who haven't had their shells harden yet... they don't ship well, so they have to be sold pretty much locally.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Most intelligent posts in this entire thread.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • xirume

      Yum.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  10. Greg G. Moore

    Anyone care to comment on why Rep. Broun has been married four times?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  11. ArthurP

    Actually as a Canadian I totally support this chap and hope he increases the 46% number since that will cause all the high paying jobs and investment capital to move north to our educated labour pool reducing our unemployment rate even more.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      lol.... good thinking!

      October 11, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  12. Hal

    The Big Bang Theory is a great show.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  13. erin111

    There should be a low to remove mentally sick officials from the office!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  14. ArthurP

    Human evolution has not stopped. To see it go to any maternity ward. We commonly call them birth defects. Some are survivable and enter the gene pool, for example six fingers, some are not.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Evolution is the reason your children look like you, but not exactly like you. Descent with modification.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Michael Haskins

      What drives evolution is population isolation coupled with environmental change. Although we do have environmental change, humans travel the globe and have intercourse with other humans not from their original home. – this intermixing of gene pools will tend to keep the human genome stable.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  15. anonymous

    J A C K A S S

    October 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      True, but that jackass is currently representing your interests on the House Science Committee.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  16. Colin

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must. Think for yourself.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. We sure as hell would not have Congressmen thinking the Univrse is 9,000 years old!!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • James

      Yes, yes yes yes and yes. Well put.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • jujjub

      You can't be moral or immoral without God. You can only be a chemical reaction, predestined to live and think exactly as you are according to the physical laws of the universe.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  17. Ceri

    Which Biblical account of creation in Genesis? There are at least two...

    And maybe Broun doesn't know that the Big Bang theory was first proposed by a member of the clergy?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
  18. John

    Yep, 54%!

    October 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  19. Mjw

    So this congressman, is he supporting Romney, a member of a cult? Or Obama, a Christian.
    After all, we all know that strict fundamentalists consider Mormonism a cult.

    October 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Ceri

      Mormonism most definitely is a cult, a parasite on Christianity that likes to portray itself as Christian. And I'm not a fundamentalist by a long shot!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      I believe that ALL religion is a parasite on society... period. They are sucking the very LIFE out of mankind.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  20. Lee

    46% of Americans still believe in creationsim? Are we really that ignorant a society?

    October 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Apparently yes.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      And here as well as in Congress you will find people fighting with all their might to keep it that way.

      October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      Surprise!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Greg G. Moore

      Actually, we are much more ignorant than that

      October 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Michael Haskins

      Everybody knows that In the beginning there was only a chaos of churning, bubbling water

      the Egyptians called Nu or Nun. It was out of Nu that everything began.
      – Then the sun god Ra emerged out of primeval chaos, he came out of a blue giant lotus

      flower that appeared on the surface of the water.
      – Ra gave light to the universe

      October 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.