By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Televangelist Pat Robertson challenged the idea that Earth is 6,000 years old this week, saying the man who many credit with conceiving the idea, former Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher, “wasn’t inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years.”
The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”
“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”
Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”
“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded.
Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup in June. That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution.
The Gallup poll has not specifically asked about views on the age of the Earth.
Ussher’s work, from the mid-1600s, is widely cited by creationists as evidence that Earth is only a few thousand years old. Answer in Genesis, the famed Christian creationist ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, cites Ussher as proof of Earth’s age. They describe the archbishop as “a brilliant scholar who had very good reasons for his conclusions concerning the date of creation.”
For Christians who read the creation account in Genesis literally, the six days in the account are strictly 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.
Most scientists, however, agree that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 billion years old.
The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Charles Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859. By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.
The question about Earth’s age has been in the news recently. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida attempted to walk the line between science and faith-based creationism in remarks that that provoked the ire of liberal blogs and left the door open to creationism.
“I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio told GQ’s Micheal Hainey. “I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.”
– CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.
I am a Christian and I alway wondered how God could send people to hell if he loves us so much. After reading some of these God hating comments, I feel much better about how he could do such a thing. And you say we are closed minded...
I haven't seen any statements from people saying they hate God. Are you referring to the people who don't believe in a god as "God hating"? That doesn't make sense to me as they would be unlikely to hate something they don't believe in. The only people I've ever seen hate God are believers who are upset after the loss of a loved one.
"You made fun of my beliefs, so now I want you to be tortured for all eternity."
Christian love at its finest.
Yes, if the irrational, jealous, violent god you believe in is the right one, atheists will probably be going to hell. I'm not worried though.
You can't hate something that does not exist. No god, no god hating.
I haven't seen any non-religious person say, "You disagreed with my opinions and beliefs so I hope you burn and suffer in fiery torment for all eternity"...
However, you've just upped my count of "Christians" who have said this to people who disagree with you.
The universe as we know it started approximately 14.5 billion years ago. The solar system and our earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, life appeared about .5 billion years after than in a O2-atmosphere. Depending on what you call man, we came on the scene anywhere from 5 million to 150,000+ years ago. Evolution is not a theory, it is a fact. I happen to believe that a supreme being started the whole thing off by creating or setting into play the principles and concepts that we think of as science. I doubt that he/she interferes in a physical sense – bending or breaking the laws that run the whole system. Genetic engineering involves creating millions of mutants and then finding the few that contain the mutation of interest. Why could the same principal not apply here if this supreme being really wanted to make a bipedal hominid? If that single genetically engineered bacteria could talk, it could say – "I was created especially to do X". The soul or spirit came into play when we evolved that particular portion of our brain that differentiates us from animals. I may well be wrong but any scientist that believes we have all the answers is working with a closed mind and no better than the literal creationists.
So, you are plugging in the word "god" to explain something you do not yet understand.
Kind of like map-makers who used to put dragons in the corners of the map no one had yet explored...
I don't believe I used the word "god". The dragons on the maps of old had some foundation in fact and I suspect the image of a white man with a beard may be a comparable caricature.l
True, you said "creator" rather than "god."
Do, you don't believe that god created the universe.
Was it an alien with a chemistry kit? Is this the Matrix maybe?
The above should say "O2-free atmosphere".
Tanker – While I did not use the word God, most things have been named before they are fully understood – viruses, genes to name a few.
Possum, you are playing the same game they did in "Of People and Pandas."
You will use the word "creator" because you know if you use the word "god" you are on undefendable ground.
Hate to tell you this, but creator and god both put you on undefendable ground.
An alien with a chemistry set begs the question who created the alien.
For a long time we spoke of 4 dimensions, now string theorists suggest there are many more. Who is to say what is beyond the event horizon or that we cannot peer beyond it? I know I was an atheist for many years. I found it a singularly unsatisfying way to view things.
If I am wrong and Gould was right, it will make no difference. If I am right and Gould was wrong, it will make a lot of difference.
there's no way you can be absolutely sure about that unless you're 14.5billion year old historian
but you you believe that by faith right?
pluto once was thought a planet, they've changed that and many other scientific theories, so don't talk as if that is an absolute fact unless you're willing to tell me you're 14.5billion years old.
I believe in science, i just don't trust scientist with athiest ideologies.
if you reverse engineer the universe to it's smallest component, that component cannot explain it's own existence,
nothing comes from nothing, if you don't believe that , then you will have to prove me wrong.
"If I am wrong and Gould was right, it will make no difference. If I am right and Gould was wrong, it will make a lot of difference."
Please elaborate. And if you're both wrong?
Taurus – My views of both religion and science have been shaped by reading and observation – probably the same as yours.
Shannon – Steven Gould was a zoologist who wrote many popular books on evolution as well as a column in Natural History. He did not believe in God or life after death. I happen to believe in both. He died several years ago. I guess we could both be wrong – there could be a God but no life after death or even no God and life after death.
Taurus – The deal with the change in Pluto's status was based on changes in what are considered planets and new information about Pluto. It had nothing to do with the existence of Pluto. Sort of like how our definition of life or living and dead have changed over time.
possum – thanks (I know who Gould is, just didn't understand the reference).
You are describing Pascal's wager. There are a few problems with your wager.
1) If you are wrong and Gould is right, there is a cost to you. You've spent your only piece of existence worshiping a falsehood. You might argue that even if it's a falsehood, it still gives you pleasure or comfort. Fine, same as any theist, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Mayan, etc. No big deal in believing in a falsehood if it makes you feel better.
2) Bigger problem: if you are right that there is a god/creator, it doesn't follow that of the thousands of gods that people have believed in, you've chosen the right one, the one that will win you salvation from eternal torment. The right god may be one that no person on earth worships any longer because of historical accident. The right god may be one who grants eternal bliss only to people who are rational and who don't worship false gods. The fact that you worship god A instead of god B may result in your eternal punishment. Or maybe you are worshiping the right god, but because you are rationalizing it with Pascal's wager, god will judge that your heart wasn't really in it and send you to hell anyway.
Good point. As I said, I was an atheist for many years. I can live with problem 1 – that pretty well sums up my stance. With respect to problem 2, I'm really not into eternal bliss. The thought of having to deal with a bunch of virgins sounds a bit like Hell and I sort of feel sorry for those suicide bombers if all that is true. I don't know how to play a harp and hanging out with Moses and those other guys just does not do it for me – would be like going to a fancy wedding where you don't know anyone and can't leave. I have no desire to spend eternity among strangers and would be happy spending it with folks just like me (and probably like you and Tanker and a lot of the others who don't believe the same way I do). I have no desire to be the guy that made it into heaven by 0.0001th of a percentage point or going to Hell by the same margin.
So what’s the big deal? Some people here have faith and others do not. Can’t everyone be friends?
Denying reality is not faith, it's delusion.
But, there might be a God. There is no proof either way.
Are you saying that you are not curious why there is no proof that an all powerful, all knowing, ever present being exists?
Just out of curiosity, what kind of proof would you need to reach that conclusion?
The proof that there is no god is that there is no evidence for god. It is the same reason we don't believe in leprechauns, dragons, Zeus, elves and snarks. I can say anything patently false like "the universe was created 40 second ago by a giant piece of Limburger cheese and all of our memories were inserted by his cheesiness on high to trick us into thinking we are much older" and put the onus on you to prove me wrong, which you cannot.
I think that's best when there aren't clashes. But in a democracy people do decide things for one another through election, ranging from what is taught in schools to who you can marry. When you or someone you love is directly impacted by the belief-based (any belief) voting choices of others that can be very painful. Look at the recent death in Ireland of the woman who couldn't get an abortion? Or from the other side, if a Christian really believes that your school teachings will lead them away from god and to hell, I can see also why they would care. I'm all for civility, but our choice of beliefs does impact all sorts of things, including how people see themselves, and in all groups, a hurt ego is not a trivial issue. It's nice to say "can't we all just get along", but a bit of a fantasy to think that all beliefs really can peacefully and without conflict coexist.
Of course I’m curious. But, the fact remains that a God could theoretically exist.
To answer your question, I’m not sure what evidence would suffice as proof to show there is or is not a God. However, the lack of proof for a God is not proof there is no God.
Whats the big deal?? are you serious?? Why dont you ask the victims of all the religious wars and all the acts of violence that still today take place in the name of one delusional religion or another. Why dont you ask people in small isolated villages in the jungle who never asked for anyone to come push their BS on them? Whats the big deal/....pfffft. On a personal level, I have dimwits coming to my door trying to push the BS on me. If all the religious wack-jobs could leave eveyone else alone, yes "whats the big deal" – but they cant!
What proof is there that there isnt one?
You’re grouping all the religious people in one. Not all religious people would condone war.
There also might be an invisible, incorporeal dragon that lives in my garage. There is no evidence either way.
Do you see how well that argument holds up now?
At least you agree with me that the evidence for a god is equal to the evidence for an omnipotent piece of Limburger cheese. You asked what the harm in believing in it. My cheese-lord has decreed that all who eat dairy shall perish, and demands that every home must slaughter their first child to honor his curdness. You can't prove that wrong either, so let's start demanding that our government swears fealty to our cheese-wheel in the sky. Anyone who speaks against it must be stoned to death and face an eternally boiling in the giant gold fondue pot at the bottom of Mt Haleakala.
Unless those dragons are someone’s higher power, then I think that would be apples to oranges.
Belief, in God could answer how the universe came into existence before the big bang.
As long as every agrees not to hurt one another b/c of their faith and only good came out of it, then will you be against religion?
I worship the dragon in Hubert's garage once a week.
How big does the universe have to be before people believe in God (i.e. 2x, 3x...more)? How many more different kinds of animals or fish have to exist before you believe? How many more stars and planets in the universe have to be created? How many more individual things have to be created (trees, snowflacks...) before people believe. People offer excuses not to believe.
Wow that's probably one of the stupidest questions I've ever seen.
And yes I used the word "stupidest" on purpose, because that comment deserves non-words.
See...now, you're just making sh!t up!
OOPS! this was supposed to be in response to another comment...dam man-made computers! :)
RE: "UncleBenny...No, it isn't. Go read "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing."
But nothing is something. There is no explanation for the beginning that we can comprehend (eg: what came before the 'beginning'?). Unfortunately, religions use this 'mystery' to 'prove' there must be a god. When they do, I always ask them: Where did gawwwwwd come from? Hmmmm?
who created God?
Who told you God is a creation?
Do you call the painter a painting or a builder a building? See how $tupid that question is?
God is not a creation, the un-caused first cause , you're free to disbelieve that,
but you can't tell me to believe something came from nothing, unless you have proof of it.
Well there was nothing, and no you are here posting on the internet. So something can come from nothing it is just a question of how.
God Created Man in His Own Image...
So God is a three foot tall homnid with a brain the size of a chimps and basic tool shaping skills?
Not exactly the guy with the white robe and fluffy beard...
God is a single cell organism.
@Tank – I remember that (original) Star Trek episode !!
You are thinking physical. There is a spiritual element (i.e. you can not put into a microscope or measure using manmade tools).
Why does Mr. Marrapodi write that "most scientists agree that...the universe is 14.5 billion years old" when every credible source I've read (including NASA's site http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_age.html) indicate that it's 13.7 billion years old?
The forgot to include leap years?
@Tanker, that's the first one that's made me laugh for a while. :)
Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was a thing unmentioned?
Quran Chapter: "Man or Time" Verse 01
What do you think?
Allah tells us that he created the earth and the universe in 6 epochs not 10,000 years, that it has been created from a very small point (big bang theory), that there are pillars holding everything up that you cannot see (dark matter), that the universe is expanding (mentioned literally). "Long Period of time" you better believe its more than a few thousand years if GOD describes it as Long
the explanation in the Quran is pretty much consistent with the scientific explanation
Except, of course, that your Quran is no more scientifically accurate than the bible.
First Pat Robertson comes out and advocates to legalize marijuana, and now he's completely changed his mind about the earth's creation. Also, hell has officially frozen over.
This is a good thing though. Here you have a man who lived the huge majority of his life ignoring the facts in front of him for the sake of religious doctrine. He was/is the torch bearer of the one of the most ignorant, meddlesome, obstructive, destructive, divisive, and regressive religious era's in our country's history. Now, even a man as steeped in his own misguided beliefs and dogma is changing his tune, hopefully in the name of progress. Maybe his example will be followed and people who've been falsely led will think for themselves and keep this ball rolling!
Facts are beautiful.
Believing in Creationism is like saying you're an absolute idiot.
Believing that we evolved from a monkey makes you a complete and total moron.
Believing that we evolved from a monkey makes you a complete and total moron
Then, thank goodness no one says that.
Yes babbo...you are.
An absolute zero? Sounds scientific.
A creationist who still gets a flu shot every year is an absolute moron.
@Steve O – no, it's a waste of perfectly good vaccine.
I love how bible thumpers try and tell us that the earth is only 6000 years old, but that methuselah lived to be 900.
Um, yeah, thanks......
I'll stick with science.
How old do you think he was?
He lived to be 969 years.
Faith is about believing without, or despite of, factual evidence, so by definition it impedes critical thought. The world however needs pragmatic solutions to everyday problems. If Christians wanted to work on solving poverty and climate change I wouldn't care what they believe, but unfortunately, in order to justify their faith too many religious people deny reality and endanger the very world they claim God created for us.
Agreed. Teaching children that "faith" is somehow a virtue is the primary reason religion has such a horrible impact on society. Believing in something simply because you want to or were told to when all evidence and intuition tells you it is wrong leads to pretty questionable behavior (like flying planes into buildings and thinking you are doing a good thing)!
Good luck with that. I surprised that your local bible-thumper isn't already at your door!
Yeah because its only Christians doing bad things isn't it. You're always right and everyone else is always wrong. Scientists never do anything that could harm or destroy the planet like create nuclear weapons or more efficient ways to slaughter unborn babies or genetically modified food that kills you slowly or deadly chemicals that pollute our air and water. Yeah its only those evil Christians that are making your life so miserable
Faith is believing the evidence... to believe without evidence, is no faith at all. There is an extraordinary amount of evidence for the birth, death/burial and resurrection of Jesus. The accounts told in the New Testament are verified. We have faith in the evidence. "It is appointed for man to die once and then the judgment".
If you're really smart, show some evidence of it and not lump all people of faith in one category.
"Come let us reason together says the Lord" – Isaiah 1:18
though there are people and religion that think faith is an intellectual leap in the dark,
but the christian faith is not so, the God of the Bible believes in reason.
If you think you've not exercise faith, you're either lying or ignorant, people use faith all the time, sky divers trust that the parachute is going to keep them from smashing their brains on the ground, scientist use it to try theories, even you have faith that your airbags will deploy if you crash your car, and that your seat belt would protect you from harm.
"faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen." – only in the bible the words "substance" and "evidence" are used to define faith.
@babbo: "The accounts told in the New Testament are verified."
That would be a statement of fact that requires you to present evidence for verification.
" There is an extraordinary amount of evidence for the birth, death/burial and resurrection of Jesus."
"The accounts told in the New Testament are verified."
No, there isn't.
No, they aren't.
You have ONLY the accounts of biased 1st century evangelists.
To save you a lot of copy/paste, don't bother trotting out Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, etc., who merely report what the early Christian cult proclaimed about their hero.
@taurus1353, your comparison is flawed. A skydiver, who has the evidence of hundreds of thousands of instances of safe jumps before him, who has trained for the occasion with people who have jumped many times before, who wears a backup chute along with the chute he inspected and packed himself, and who understands the scientific principles behind wind resistance and can demonstrate them mathematically, is NOT jumping on faith.
A skydiver with faith wouldn't bother pulling the cord. God will pull it for him, or lift him magically into the air.
The bible straight up tells us that if you truly believe, no poison can harm you. Not too many people take him up on that offer, because nobody really believes any of that gibberish.
Unless you live under a rock you probably have you heard of skydivers who plunged to their death because the scientific fact that you mentioned didn't work.
so it's possible that it might not work, that's a fact, what do you call believing that it would work despite the possiblity it would not? fact is belief in any uncertainty is faith.
If you're really smart try gving some evidence and not lump people of faith into one category.
I believe in a creator because I've not yet seen anything that came from nothing, that's a fact a reality.
Nothing comes from nothing, if you don't believe that , then you will have to prove me wrong.
taurus. Who or what created your god? If you believe that a god doesn't need a creator why does a universe?
@taurus1353 There are 30 fatalities out of 3,000,000 jumps annually. There has only been 7 survivors out of the estimated 250,000,000 jumps.
Leaping with science: 99.999% survival rate.
Leaping with faith: 0.0000028% survival rate.
You don't really believe that putting your faith in something like god makes as much sense as putting your faith in something like science, you're just being obstinate. If you DO really believe it, I've got a fantastic skydiving routine I'd like to show you.
You say you don't believe in science because something has never come from nothing. Why does that same rule not apply to your god?
Essentially, God is within.
"Essentially, God is within."
Like the voices in my head?
My Doctor tried to give me pills to stop the voices in my head, but I never take them.
Without the voices, how will I know what to burn or who to kill?
"Within" everyone's imagination, you mean?
So, if I was within your wife, and she kept moaning "oh god... oh god...", would you believe she was worshipping me?
We were all given a conscious. Only those who repent, believe and are baptized in Christ have God within (Holy Spirit).
Abe Vigoda died for your sins!
(Yes, I know he's not dead. We will just say he is "risen" if anyone asks...)
Well, both he and Jesus can share the same "fish" symbol, I suppose? :-)
So Sayth the Gosphel of PaulB...
I'd rather be a Gospel singer. That's where the real money is. :-)
You are a Pastafairian but you do not seem to know it. The Gospel of the Flyind Spaghetti Monster will convert you for good. Pasta dishes and beer are your favorites, I can tell.
Just like Bush said he thought creationism likely didnt happen as well. We are making progress. But did Bush use religion to weasel his way into the White House. I think he did.
He wanted people to like him, so he just told them what they wanted to hear, like any politician.
The bible is becoming more and more irrelevant as we gain new knowledge and Christians are trying to compensate by saying the bible is meant to be "interpreted". Well, interpretations are subjective, and each one is going to be different. Does this mean god basically is saying "here is my message to humanity, now take whatever meaning you want from it"? No, I don't believe that any god would be that incompetent. But then, if you take it at face value, it doesn't make sense and contains a lot of immoral things.... Maybe it's just time for the world to admit that this ancient book written by over 40 different men may not be as "infallible" as it claims to be.
Exactly what time is it, ya stinkin' clock watcher? Get back to work.
"God created man in his own image"
So what does that mean? We are all capable of being gods? Does that mean we look like him or her? What does that statement mean?
The creation story in the Bible was written for people who knew far less than we know today. If God wrote it today he might actually tell us about Dinosoars, Volcanoes, Tectonics, Evolution, the Solar System and so many other things that people 4000 could never understand... Maybe God wanted us to fill in all the blanks ourselves anyway – since he did create us in his own Image and considering he made us and everything else he clearly is an inventor/engineer/artist... God never said anywhere in the Bible that he wanted us to be blind sheep who do and learn nothing for ourselves. He said very clearly he made us in his own image – and there is no way God would ever allow himself to be controlled, manipulated or separated from science... So why would any of us ever do it either?
that's a good way of looking at it, however, the reality is something we all have to deal with hear, today. when a politician does something based on his faith, that impacts all of us. bush's desire to with hold funding for condoms in africa, caused a spike in hiv infections and death (ref to the who data). where's the humanity there? this is why religion has no place in government, it should be limited to a space between your ears.
What an amazing attempt to confuse the truth. Science has been destroyng religious hogwash since the days of Ptolemy and before. Eventually your ever shrinking pool of arguments for the existence of God will be gone completely and then where will you be? Forced to face the reality that your belief is nothing but self delusion and a cry for help because you can't comprehend the realities of existence.
@kamal it wasn't the condoms that gave people in Africa aids...it was there immoral acts that if they had a Bible they would be better off. You can't violate a moral law and then expect no consequences...typical liberals who want their cake and the skinny wife...or something rather.
Perhaps 'in his image' refers to a similar a similar emotional makeup... which would certainly explain cold, cruel sociopaths who can watch people suffering yet do nothing about it. If all you had to do to end all needless suffering was lift your little finger, you'd do it, wouldn't you?
babbo wrote, " it wasn't the condoms that gave people in Africa aids...it was there immoral acts that if they had a Bible they would be better off."
It was the LACK of condoms that caused this. And why the hell should people who choose to not believe in, or worship your sick sadistic god have to live by what you think he wants?
Pat Robertson's opinion is irrelevant. He lives in a fantasy world.
I don't know, I think it's relevant that even someone as delusional as he is has to continue to change his definition of his fantasy as he continues to realize it's impossible.
no not yet.
Here is wisdom: The tales of the Bible are mere myth and sasquatch really does exist. Don't believe me? You can view the footage on the CNN homepage.
Any bestiality involved?
CNN is pushing p o r n? Say it ain't so.
Oh, Ussher wasn't inspired by god? Who better to tell us this than the man who was inspired by god to predict Romney would win? You know.. the elderly man who claims he can leg press over a ton.
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.