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. CTYank

    You can, and will, believe whatever you wish. Just don't try to spread it around unless you can back it up.

    Why is it that so many "conservatives" (reactionaries, in fact) and science are mutually exclusive? Pathetic pandering.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  2. TDS

    That guy is an idiot. He should try to pull his head out of his ass, like a lot of other people in this country. He has no business being in the position he is in.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • juny1958

      of course he has the right to be there....in this country we vote them in or out.....in totalitarian countries, people like you stifle free speech because it differs from their own thoughts.....

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  3. mama kindless

    James Madison (Deist, our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Const!tution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superst!tion, bigotry, and persecution.

    -A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785

    October 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Thank you

      I just want to say thank you for your educational and eye-opening post !

      October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  4. Pan3

    and he's on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology!?!?!
    and with little faith...

    October 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  5. A Msg From The Congressional "Science" Committee

    Evolution is an "evil lie", straight from the "Pit of Hell !"

    BOOO ! Ha ha ha ha ha !

    (A message brought to you by your Congressional "Science" Committee.)

    October 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  6. lamb of dog

    Tell them how disappointed you are.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  7. Pistol Pete

    Ok. So. Maybe the people in his district think the way he does. They elect who they want. Who cares.
    I fail to see why this is a big deal. It's like the media is trying to make everyone think the exact same way, and anyone who doesn't is highlighted negatively like it's a huge deal.
    God I hate the media!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      He's on the science committee. That's why its a big deal. He trusts religion more than science.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • juny1958

      thanks Pete, the only one on this post with common sense. He has the right to say what he believes.....personlyy, there is a creator, if you think all this came from nothing, without intelligent direction, well then, that takes far, far greater faith than elieving in a creator. For all you who think you are so smart, you are the product of atheistic education designed to keep you from knowing the truth

      October 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • CTYank

      Then you're full of crap, too, Pete. Sorry about that, but if you insist on totally dissing the search for the truth, you don't get respect.
      Is this some sort of sick joke?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • scottpt1

      not surprizing at all

      October 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • oldwhiteguy

      What does the media have to do with it? This is an elected representative who, by his statements, has clearly identified himself as an idiot. The fact that he is on the House Committee of Science, Space and Technology should alarm every taxpayer including you. How about we put someone who believes in men from mars on the Defense Committee? How about we appoint a witch doctor to be the Surgeon General? Look, you and Broun Stuff here can believe any voodoo you want. That's what America is all about. But personally, I'd like our elected officials to be just a little closer to reality in their decision-making roles.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • buggs

      This is a very big deal.
      I respect everyones right to believe what they want but how can someone with such views serve on the committee for Science, space and technology?
      If anyone is wondering why we lag behind in these areas, look no further.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  8. alinaw

    I guess when we all die we will find out if we are just a collection of cells working together all by themselves or if we have a creator. If we do have a creator and he is a holy God as described in the bible, a lot of people here have some explaining to do. The bible says we have a soul created by God which controls the body. He gives life and we are not just a collection of molecules.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "If we do have a creator and he is a holy God as described in the bible, a lot of people here have some explaining to do"

      of course if we do have a creator and he is not the god of the bible then you also are going to have some explaining to do. You had better worship them all just to be safe.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • nmmell08

      Soul has not been disprooven yet, mostly becasue its sort of impossible to disproove it unless it actually has mass. Also bacteria are basically a bunch of molecules interacting together and yet they live. Or do you beleive illness is god's wrath?

      October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • realist

      The writings in the bible were written a long time ago. They were used as a way to explain and bring order to a world they did not understand. Over 2000 years later we have learned enough about the universe around use to know these were just stories. It is a shame that so many people are still brain washed by these stories and their story tellers to see the trueth around them. People as closed minded about science and the reality we live in should not running our country. I lump this guy in with the Todd Akin's of the world. I hope my children live to see a time that society is not run by these dim, brain washed individuals.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  9. runswithbeer

    The creator of the universe made the rocks and stars and DNA. There you can find the real truth. Not from some loosely translated biblical verse dating back 300 years. The Earth is billions of years old and I have a billion year old rock on my desk. Which are you going to believe? The Rock or the Translation? The SAD question is who actually voted for this guy?

    October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  10. aaarrgghhhhh

    stuff the bible up ur ***

    October 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Idiot Box

    How can 46% of Americans believe in creationism? I thought a majority of Creationists were Baptists....which represent 15% of the religious population. But I could be wrong....

    October 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • nmmell08

      Presbertyrians, Catholics (Catholics tend to beleive in both, just don't take bible literally), evangelicals. There is more than just baptists that beleive it

      October 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  12. True Mind

    In a sense, all knowledge that comes from the act of challenging what is told to us is from Hell. If you take the the Christian religion, the Devil did offer us the choice to challenge God and seek the ability to progress and gain knowledge for ourselves. It was not so much as temptation, as it was actually just curiosity. That curiosity just broke the foundations and destroyed part of the legitimacy of that deity. loyalists view this as a betrayal and want to justify their hate by creating a hell they hope we will end up. Prometheus gave man fire and Zeus punished him. Lucifer, who was supposed to be the greatest angel that was jealous of man. hated man, and started a war in the heavens, was the serpent that gave man 'fire' . I really don't buy it. Either way this Christian god might be the true evil in this universe. You can also look at Babylon and the tower of Babel as reference into the true motives of this god.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Satan and Sin comes from God. God is both.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  13. Christianity will be extinct in a few centuries. Lol just lol.


    October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • aaarrgghhhhh

      not soon enuff

      October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  14. Since1638

    Google "evolution in the lab e coli"

    A Michigan State University publication proved evolution in the lab in 2008. A 20+ year experiment with 50,000 generations of bacterial reproduction resulted in the emergence of an E Coli subgroup which could metabolize citric acid. By definition, E Coli don't metabolize citric acid. This is a new species of bacteria. Evolution is reality. God or no God, this isn't remotely refutable. Given 20 years, you could do this experiment yourself.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • ME II

      You can post links:

      Richard Lenski
      Experimental Evolution

      October 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  15. WachetAuf

    I hope these guys keep on speaking out. Only then will we know who and what they really.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  16. Jen

    STUPID! I'm sorry but science is a proven thing. The bible is not. There is no proof of a god, jesus or anything. LOL I grew up believing in a GOD until I started thinking for myself and not letting society tell me what to believe. Just think about this you religious people, if your told to believe in something your entire life and if you don't your going to a hell, you will believe it out of fear. I'd rather live now just being happy and being a good person on my own than having a so called story book depict my l life and actions for me. No one will agree and I don't care. tell me what you want, how sorry you feel for me and I will go to hell. Oh well, at least I don't feel like a prisoner to religion anymore.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      |There is 0 evidence of Jesus being who he was or what he "did" ZERO. Let me rephrase...ZERO

      October 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Shane

      There is evidence that a man named Jesus did in fact exist during that time.

      But on the rest, you are correct, there is no evidence outside of the Bible that the miracles that he supposidly performed did happen.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  17. rexdogcanadien

    Doc, have you factual proof of the existence of God? You have the right to believe in anything you wish. So too are those who believe he does not exists. Beliefs are not facts they are opinions. Opinions/beliefs cannot be categorically proven nor can they be categorically denied. If you can prove there is a god, mankind is yearning to know why he has created such as you. Science is mankind's salvation. Evolution is an undeniable fact. The creation story is a myth.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Jen

      well said.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  18. Mike

    I bet that he still believes in Santa...what an $%#

    October 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  19. jon

    Another Republican Religious nut job!!!

    October 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  20. CORWIN7

    No WONDER the house hasn't even attempted to pass a single jobs related bill. They all think GOD is going to do it for them.

    October 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The House is controlled by Democrats who are filibustering God with statism.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Jen

      If they took religion out of everything, the world would be a much happier and peaceful place. MAYBE!

      October 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      No, truth absolute GOD helps those who help them self, to lay failure on truth absolute GOD is the way of hindu Atheist, ignorant self centered to deny their own hinduism, laziness.

      October 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Shane

      I will have to disagree with you there Jen.

      While religion has been a cause of numerous problems, man would find other reasons to fight, kill, and harm others without religion.

      Right now, religion is the easiest thing to lean on in order to get followers to help you cause harm, but there are many other ways that people would do it as well.

      October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
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About this blog

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.