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.
Pat Robertson used to claim he was a faith healer and he claimed that some protestant denominations harbor the spirit of the Antichrist. He also claims to have the power to deflect hurricanes through prayer. It is well know he is prejudiced against non-Christian religions, calls Hinduism “demonic” and Islam “Satanic”. Great guy.
Oh, he is also a homophobe, against women’s rights and has had financial ties to evil dictators in Liberia and Zaire. Oh yeah , and then there was the time he called for Hugo Chavez’s assassination and said that Ariel Sharon’s poor health was an act of God.
Let’s see, then there was the time he got with good ‘ol boy Jerry Falwell and said that the ACLU, the pagans, the abortionists, the feminists, the gays and the lesbians helped the terror attacks on September 11th happen.
For good measure, less than two weeks after Hurricane Katrina killed almost 2000 people, Robertson implied on the September 12th broadcast of the 700 Club that the storm was God’s punishment in response to America’s abortion policy.
Don’t even get me started on the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster where he blamed it on Haiti’s founders who had sworn a “pact to the Devil”.
Yea, of little faith, he (pat) guided me into curing my genital crabs, I still had to use that stinky ointment, but it did the trick, thanks, Pat.
"...and the universe is 14.5 billion years old."
"...we can estimate the age of the universe to about 1%: 13.7 ± 0.13 billion years!"
New flash!! Atheists know everything! Don't even question their genius.
Know everything? No. Do we understand everything? Yes.
"Don't even question their genius [without any evidence to back it up]."
Luckily Christians never claim to know anything for sure. They're open to any criticism, willing to throw the Bible out if new evidence appears, and never try to get anyone else to agree with them.
Oh wait! Strike that. Reverse it.
They know enough to be accountable for their foolishness.
Here they come, the christian apologists, they will strive to right the ship before it sinks for good.
Actually, those who choose not to believe will be the ones sinking on that Day in their own tears.
Beware. Just because someone suffering from delusion says something once in a while that seems to make more sense, that doesn't mean they are mentally healthy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look back through the years at what this man has said and realize he's frequently a foreigner to reality.
True enough. However, he is showing progress here. I just consider it all entertainment anyway.
I see this positively. Pat Robertson appears to be less concerned about 'keeping up appearances'. Which seems to be a good thing.
If I recall correctly he recently made comments along the lines that decriminalizing possession of small amounts of canabis might help deal with the over-incarceration problem.
That doesn't make up for things like his comments about AIDS in the 1980s, but this new Pat Roberston appears to be helping.
Well I'm all for people changing and acquiring a better outlook on other people and beliefs, but he would have to go a long way to convince me he's not a loon. Let's see – was it only 2-3 years ago now he said the nation of Haiti has been devastated by a large earthquake because its people "made a pact with the devil."
yes. He's got a long history of being wacky. We won't forget "Katrina is God's punishment for abortion" either. There's a long history there.
There are three big issues that light up the belief blog:
1. Marriage equality
2. Reproductive choice
3. Young earth creationism
If the fundies will let go of even one of these, it will be a good start.
Wow, it seems that Pat Robertson is getting less and less crazy with age. Now go smoke some of that cannabis, that you said should be legal, Pat, and open your mind even further.
It could be the opposite. He might be entering senility, and losing grasp of his firm hold on the absurd. Maybe the more unstable he becomes, the more sense he will begin to make.
That's pretty much what I was thinking. :-)
For the sake of discussion, if one believes God created earth, he also created Adam and Eve. Descriptions are not detailed but it would be logical to assume they were created as adults, not babies. If God could create man with the evidence of age, why could he not create the earth with evidence of age. It's a faith thing, till you get the gift of faith nothing is going to make you believe. I also doubt the premise that you are going to lose your children over creation/evolution, adults have more of a problem with it. Children are used to taking things on faith.
Until someone proves 100% that god exists it is a waste of time to discuss what god could or could not do.
Another Christian once told me that the evidence of age was put in as a trick by Satan, so I guess there are a few ways you could make it work. I'm thinking Pat's got the simplest and most efficient solution though...it just is old.
Thats why we need to stop people from lying to them.
A mind once poisoned is difficult to un-poison.
Your child will worship whomever the authority figure in his life requires him to.
If I take your five year old, and give him to a Jew. he becomes a Jew, a Muslim, he becoems a Muslim, a Zoroastrian and he becomes Zoroastrian, a Wiccan and he gets a job selling candles in the mall.
The outcome is simple indoctrination, and as such is immoral.
Stop the hate!
"...a Wiccan and he gets a job selling candles in the mall."
Not all Wiccan's sell candles...
No, they're not "used to taking things on faith."
Their minds are more easily manipulated to believe in far out fantasies that lose their luster as they become educated adults and understand science.
There, I fixed that for you.
Pete = Exactly Right
'If God could create man with the evidence of age, why could he not create the earth with evidence of age.'
why? why would he do that?
i mean if you take the story of the bible as true then he didnt create adam and eve to give the evidence of age, he just created them as old enough to function as independant people. Heck, they could have looked like anywhere from 15 to 50, who knows.
That's pretty funny Saraswati. So there's an evil, red lizard sneaking around, planting fossils all over the world, changing the age of every molecule of carbon on the planet, adding layers of sediment into every square meter of the earth's surface, and burying frozen mastodons into clever hiding places all across the tundra?
What a prankster!
Baptist, so Christians are to have blind faith? You are denying 1 Peter 3:15 and all of Acts 17, etc? And God is a deceiver? Then you don't believe Psalm 19! That Psalm says creation "gives knowledge" of God's creation. Appearance of age is not knowledge, it's deception! Was Adam created with age spots and receding hairline so he would look older? No! So you cannot use the unique creation status of Adam to argue for a young earth! As a fellow Baptist, I urge you to get with the program and learn why you believe what you believe! (Blind faith contradicts itself by saying "here are my reasons for not needing reasons"! Jesus said to be "humble like a little child" Not ignorant or naive!
Cracks in the cults foundational dogma
I wonder when the first senator in Greece admitted Zeus wasn't what made the lightning??
Actually, we should give Kudos to the old con man. Many of his contemporaries will go to their graves lying to their children with their dying breath.
Most burrow deeper into their faith when the reality of their impending death begins to set in, but a few have the courage to come clean.
If we encourage this behavior, one by one the absurdities shall fade away, and Christ can take an honored place in history with the other Gods we once worshiped, all of whom have been displaced and discredited by intellectual advancement and scientific progress.
Within six or eight generations, Christianity will just be a sub-footing in the standard grade school Greek and Roman Gods curriculum.
If Christ is lucky, we may name a car after him, or perhaps a line of athletic shoe, but within less than 100 years, very very few will still worship him.
So JC, if you’re coming back, I suggest you make it soon, or no one you find here will even remember who you were supposed to be.
JC "I am coming back and the eternal fate of mankind will be decided on what I say."
Hopefully Robertson's comments will get creationists interested in the information that they have been told to ignore for so many years. This may be a small step in an enlightened direction (from a very unlikely source)
Just taking this step of saying the earth is old and science can offer truth about the history of the universe is big. Of course, the poor fellow will be personally vilified by the rabid young-earthers and will probably see a drop in financial support. I hope he sticks with the truth and doesn't get pressured into a retraction.
The truth can (and I believe it does) exist in Science and Creationism – consistent with the Bible. Genesis 1: 1 & 2 refer to a past that is before the Creation as we now know it. There is no mention of how long this "dateless past" is, but it is, as confirmed by Science, billions of years. There are more consistencies between Science and the Bible if one approaches both with an open and eager mind.
thats just dumb...
Like I said – open mind. Have you read it carefully?
I'm sorry Don, but I'm afraid you're mistaken.
Scientist say that "creation", however it was created, existed that entire time - the whole 13 to 14 billion years. They're not saying that those billions of years occured "before" the universe was created. So the Bible, most certainly varies from that timeline.
Welcome to the 19th century, Pat. The RCC gave up on Genesis as god's journal a way back.
Robertson says the most ridiculous, hocus-pocus nonsense most of the time, and he is actually siding with science! So some reasoning brain cells do exist in his head?!
The Bible says 6 days. Why do many assume its referring to "man" days.
Ask the people who believe it.
Probably because it says "days".
The whole this is B S anyway so why argue about it anyway? It's like arguing over who is more powerful Superman or the Green Lantern. It's all fiction.
The word used in the original text only refers to the literal 24 hour day cycle. It can't be translated as anything abstract.
Umm probably because it was a book written by men. duuur.
Btw could you please enlighten us all on how many hours are in a god day? Thanks in advance.
One day for God could equal millions/billions for a man.
"One day for God could equal millions/billions for a man."
And one day for God could equal 24 hours. Besides, if it were a million years then why do we rest on Sunday? Shouldn't we rest ever million years?
It's literal, it was written by a man, it's ridiculous, it's mythology, and it pertains to nothing whatsoever in the actual universe that we live in. Deal with it.
'One day for God could equal millions/billions for a man.'
why would god have a day? a day after all is length of time for earth to rotate to give the appearance of a sun rise and sunset. Where would god be living that would have the same effect? does god live on a planet somewhere?
and why would a god need 6 days to do anything? why cant he simple think of it and absolutely everything is created in that same instant, fully formed and functioning?
"Pat Robertson challenges creationism"
Its Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher definition on "creationism" that Pat Robertson challenges. I too disagree with James Ussher definition on it, but I accept creationism (that God created & sustains the universe).
Why are people listening to this senile old man?
Because he sounds rational for once!
it is amazing that people trust science to use cellphone, watch TV and fly in airplanes, but don't to explain the age of the planet...lol.
This has been one of my greatest points all along.
Playing truth absolute God is the way of hindu atheist, ignorant self centered, secular s, having no knowledge of truth absolute of matter , but they spew their hinduism hypothesis to please hindu soul, filthy desire of their own and their gentiles, slave in hinduism corruption of truth absolute called religions, Way of hindu sanatans, filthy goons playing truth absolute God to humanity.
hinduism, absurdity of Evolution is destroying humanity, but science proves truth of creation, have some education in quantum physics to be a child of a human, not son of a hindu stupid god of hindu's ignorant s monkey.
Are you five? Your grammar is just terrible.
love it, grammar is hinduism, slavery.
That troll is from Pakistan or India. Give him a break. It's like a caveman with a computer.
ahh a troll. Explains the lack of intelligence.
hindu word explains hinduism, absurdities of hindu's ignorants like you, not me, hindu's, ignorant s.
back to the planet Mor0n with you.
This Hinduism ranter has been around quite some time, and has never posted a single coherent sentence. I think he's going for a record.
It's like trying to read hieroglyphics, I see the words but can't put them together to make sense of what the hell this guy is saying other than he hates Hindus, I did get that part.........damn
christians wiggle out of their stupidity by saying yom, hebrew for "day", but what about the lineage from adam to jesus???? grow up already dummies
How do you wiggle out of yours?
The Bible was written to control people. God never told anyone to create churches to worship him, God never told anybody to do his will by forcing unbelievers, and God never told anyone to write a Bible about him.
god never told anyone anything, period.
I'm so glad we now have an expert on these matters. Before reading your timely and infinitely wise remarks, I believed in the Bible, but now I'm a changed man. It worked! Thank you for sharing!
That's right. Because god doesn't exist.
If you are going to spew lies... at least try and be somewhat factual plus-what does any of what you said have to do with the article?
Hey Your Not God. I spent over 10 years in a church studying the Bible. It is actually hilarious how Atheists know more about what is in the Bible then the actual people who follow it.
I am God- You are FOS
How do you know?
Your Not God I know more about the Bible because I actually "read" it and not listen to what a church bishop or whatever "preaches" to you.
That's right. Because god doesn't exist."
Actually, its "TheBob" who will not, God will be doing just fine.
What is going on here? Obama is re-elected. Some in the GOP are now starting to disavow their convictions about trickle down economics and wealth for the wealthy. Now this? Jesus' spokesman is now doubting creationism? Did someone put something in the punch?
Indeed...some said divine providence would be at work for this election...hhhmmmm.
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.