Pat Robertson, the controversial televangelist and host of the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club," is said to have stunned many of his viewers on Tuesday when he dispelled the idea -- held dear by many Bibical creationists -- that Earth is only 6,000 years old.
He went on to say that Christians should not "cover up" scientific evidence that shows the Earth to be much, much older.
As Raw Story notes, Robertson's comments were made in response to a viewer who had written in to the show. The woman said that her "biggest fear is to not have my children and husband next to me in God's Kingdom because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs."
In response, Robertson said:
Look, I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this, but Bishop [James] Ussher wasn't inspired by the Lord when he said that it all took 6,000 years. It just didn't. 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.
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.
"If you fight science," he continued, "you're going to lose your children, and I believe in telling it the way it was."
In 1650, the Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher estimated that the Earth was created on Oct. 23, 4004 B.C. Ussher's work continues to be cited by many creationists -- including the Christian group Answers in Genesis -- as evidence that the Earth is only thousands of years old.
In fact, "many Young Earth Creationists," writes the Christian Post, believe that dinosaurs lived alongside humans 6,000 years ago, before the "great flood" described in the Book of Genesis. Some Christians, however, reportedly "dispute the existence of dinosaurs altogether, claiming that bones excavated by scientists are a ruse meant to cause confusion among believers."
In an article entitled "What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?," Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in Kentucky, wrote that the Bible can help explain the existence of the extinct animals, the Christian Post notes.
Ham claims not only that dinosaurs lived at the "same time as people," but were on Noah's famed ark when the great flood occurred. They eventually became extinct, he said, because of "post-Flood climatic change, lack of food, disease, and man's activities."
As Raw Story points out, however, Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network "promoted the Creation Museum in a 2007 report and seemed to buy in to the notion that the Earth was thousands -- not billions -- of years old."
Moreover, writes Right Wing Watch, the network also "sells material arguing that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the Bible says dinosaurs and humans lived together."
This is not the first time in recent months that Robertson has made headlines with his comments.
Earlier this month, Robertson warned his viewers that "miserable atheists" are trying to "steal" Christmas.
"Atheists don't like our happiness, they don't want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable," Robertson said at the time. "They're miserable so they want you to be miserable."
Also this month, the TV host expressed shock that some women watch porn, calling all pornography "boring."
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