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)
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  13. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

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    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
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    November 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your god, your jesus, never existed. The bible is a known fraud. The good news is you don't need any of that fiction to be a good person here in reality. Free yourself from the mire of religion and get on with the goodness for goodness's sake.

      February 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  14. Leif

    The Big Bang, by the way, was championed by a Cathoilic Priest, Georges Lemaitre. Unlike the ignorant bible-thumpers in this country who insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible, Catholicism embraces rational thought when it comes to astronomy. There was that little incident with Galileo, of course, but they have come a long way. Protestants are still
    stuck back in time with Martin Luther.

    November 18, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Leif, the Catholic Priests embraced Hitler too, so you're right they've come a long way.

      History shows the Catholic faith would accept any idea for it's own survival, would even torture and kill for it. So because a Catholic Priest "championed" the Big Bang Theory, you now embrace it?

      They are still praying to idols...

      November 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  15. Leif

    Typical product of the poor educational system in this country. And typical of the GOP base.

    November 18, 2012 at 3:04 am |
  16. Vijai (Vj) Singh

    We have to be very relentless in our effort of inquires before the truth of the our existence, the universe and God can come to light. We do it (townhall debates) almost every day in politics so why not for religion? There is, in a very small scale, some debates going on but they do not include scholars of all faith groups. The same old tune of evolution and creationism has been going on for ages among the same parties (Abrahamic religions and Darwinism) with no party further ahead than when they first started. This in itself shows that those who argue that they are right have great fears of being put to shame by a party outside Western ideology. It is time to give far eastern philosopy a chance in these debates, which unfortunately, so far has eluded the prejudicial western mindset .
    Am I qualified (vjsingh.com) to debate this subject? With an opened mind, you be the judge!

    November 11, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Daniel

      VJ: What eastern philosophy and eastern "religions" bring us is godlessnes and paganism. This is what God called Abraham out of, not into. You need to repent from eastern pagan thought and receive the only salvation that is available-Jesus Christ/Yeshua HaMashaich. There is no other provision which God has provided to mankind. "Salvation is of the Jews"....Jesus/Yeshua Jn. 4

      November 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Daniel, no one religion is more valid than any other. There is equal proof for all gods, which is no proof whatsoever. You cannot argue that your religion is the "true" religion if you have no evidence to support your claim.

      November 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Vj

      What else can I expect you to say when you have no knowledge of what eastern philosophy is about?

      November 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  17. Daniel Rosenthal

    This fool (Broun) should read "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller or "The Language of God" by Francis Collins.
    two scientists who believe that evolution was simply God's method of creation and that you can accept science and believe in a Higher Power at the same time. As for "David and Goliath"'s post–does he really believe that God is that petty? If I
    were God, I would be embarassed to tears having someone like that claiming to (mis)represent me,

    November 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Daniel

      Well, it sure is clear to anyone who reads Genesis that what God is teaching us there is evolution? Really???????? Are you that compromised that you try to justify evolution in the Word of God? Just admit it, you follow men not God. That would be more acceptable and far honest for others to hear. This wimpy comromise, not only by you Daniel Rosenthal, but many like you is really lame. Just be honest. You believe what evolutionists teach and reject the clear teaching of God. As to how God will judge this matter? Well, that of course is His business. But what God wants from us is faith, not compromise. Shalom

      November 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Denise

      Why would a "god", a creature that has anything, "want or need anything from us? The whole common concept of a god that needs worship or obedience or anything similar is just plain stupid.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Todd

      Denise –

      You asked, "Why would a "god", a creature that has anything, "want or need anything from us? The whole common concept of a god that needs worship or obedience or anything similar is just plain stupid."

      God, at least the God of the bible, is not in need of anything (please read Acts 17). This has always been what orthodox Christianity has held to and the clear teaching of the bible.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Till this day, Scientist are not able to prove that God does not exist, they are at war among themselves about the evolution theory.

      God does not need to prove anything to anyone, "YOU" are the living proof, "ALL CREATION" and Universal Laws that are in place did not just happened haphazardly. Nothing we know today or have experienced through out our present history, or research done by scientists, support evolution. Everything we do today involves planing, goals and intelligence. If anything, we prove to be God like, supporting the Scripture in Genesis 1:26 "And God went on to say: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness,..."

      November 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • bptr

      We also can't prove that The Easter Bunny, Jack in the Beanstalk, or Santa Clause don't exist.

      One can't prove a negative. Simple concepts of Logic elude you religious morons.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • bptr

      to Gabriel MalakhL

      Scientists also can't prove that The Easter Bunny, Jack in the Beanstalk, or Santa Clause don't exist.

      One can't prove a negative. Simple concepts of Logic elude you religious morons.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  18. Daniel Rosenthal

    This fool should read "Finding Darwin's God" by Kenneth R. Miller or "The Language of God" by Francis Collins–two
    scientists who believe that evolution was God's tool of creation and see no conflict between science and religion.
    And as for "David and Goliath" –does he really think that God is so petty that He would throw people into a torture
    chamber for all eternity for simply disagreeing with his (David and Goliath's) interpretation of the age of the Earth?
    If I were god, I would be very embarassed to have someone like that claiming to represent me.

    November 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  19. Brent

    Science > Religion. Get on board people.

    November 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  20. Daniel

    God did it all in six days. This for me and many others who believe in God is very simple to understand. The foolish delusional concepts that men bring us are crazy. I am amazed that people actually believe them. How big is your God? Does your god need billions of years to do what God did in six days? To believe the man made teaching of evolution is to compromise the Word of God. Evolution does NOT fit into Genesis and the rest of Tanakh and the NT. Decide who you will follow, man or God. It really is that simple. You cannot follow God and man.

    November 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Mormonism is a cult- FACT

      If you follow any God you are following men/man. You do realize this I hope.

      November 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      daniel: how does it not fit?

      November 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Daniel

      Mormon: If you do not know the difference between God and man I'm afraid your in trouble.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Daniel

      Sam, of course it doesn't fit. The better question would be, how could it possibly fit?

      November 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Denise

      Daniel, seems the bast argument you seem to be able to make for your god is to shoehorn and bend the evidence, and grow your tales in any direction, to try to make it all fit your myths when reality really doesn't match your fables at all That plus the usual Appeal to Ignorance. You suck.

      November 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Vj

      My problem is, how did your God get 4 days when there was no sun?

      November 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You accept that the world was created in six days because you are too intellectually lazy to look at the facts. This is not a virtue, Daniel.

      November 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • bptr

      Daniel is so right!!! "Simple" is the key word.

      You people are SIMPLETONS !!!!!

      December 19, 2012 at 7:15 am |
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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.