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September 15th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Rick Warren returns to the spotlight

Programming note: Rick and Kay Warren sit down exclusively with CNN’s Piers Morgan to talk about the death of their son and their new mission to raise awareness about mental illness.

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren is slowly returning to the spotlight, five months after his youngest son committed suicide.

He has shared spiritual insights on social media, returned to the pulpit to preach about overcoming obstacles and taken his purpose-driven message to Rwanda, a nation still reeling from a bloody genocide.

But Warren, the bestselling author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and one of the most famous pastors in the United States, hasn't yet spoken to the media about his son's death.

That changed when Warren and his wife Kay sat for an extended interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

In a brief clip released on Monday, Morgan and Warren discussed gun violence, including Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington.

MORE ON CNN: "The first thing I did was get down on my knees and pray for those families"

Rick and Kay Warren have been outspoken about the plague of gun violence in the United States, especially since their son, Matthew, took his own life in April after what the family call a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

“In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided,” Warren wrote to staffers at Saddleback Church, his megachurch in Orange County, California.

Then Warren, one of the country's most visible spiritual leaders, disappeared from public view. But not quite.

Not even grief could silence Warren, a gregarious man with an apparent thirst for sharing his spiritual insights.

Away from his pulpit, the preacher voiced his anguish and his insights in a stream of Twitter messages and Facebook posts.

Days after his son’s suicide, for example, Warren tweeted this message:

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/322434892828917760

On June 16, Father's Day, Warren tweeted this:

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/346218036728037376

Other days, the pastor wrote about the pain of his loss.

https://twitter.com/RickWarren/status/326512142742351872

In September, the purpose-drive pastor hinted at a new mission:

Even though Warren has shared his thoughts on Twitter on Facebook, he hasn't answered the questions on many people's minds - questions that may be asked on Monday night:

How has Matthew's death changed Warren's faith? Does he hold God responsible?

Resuming his pastoral duties at Saddleback in late July, Warren began a sermon series titled “Getting through what you’re going through,” that hinted at his family’s struggles and outlined their new mission.

“We intend to spend the rest of our lives comforting others with the same comfort we have been given from God, through your prayers,” Warren told the large crowds who came to see him preach.

He also credited his other children, Amy and Joshua, with helping his family through its darkest days.

“When all this happened, Amy looked at me and said, ‘Dad, Satan picked the wrong family to pick on. He’s going to lose so badly because of the platform God has given to our family.’ ”

The Warren family set up a fund in Matthew's honor to raise awareness about mental illness.

Last week Warren wrapped up a trip to Rwanda, a country he has focused on since 2005, when its government invited the pastor to help Rwandans recover from its vicious genocide in 1994, which claimed as many as 1,000,000 lives.

This weekend Warren was back at Saddleback, preaching a sermon titled, "Never Waste Your Pain."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Media

soundoff (923 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    "For 27 years I prayed every day of my life for God to heal my son's mental illness," Pastor Rick Warren said.

    Need any more proof that prayer doesn't work?

    September 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Well you know, mysterious ways and all that. Bible interpretation yada yada

      September 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Joe

      ...it does not work for selfish ambition.

      "else we'd all be millionaires and you wouldn't be wasting your time posting here with all these other blokes.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        How is wanting his son to be healthy a selfish ambition?

        September 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • MC

      God answers all prayers, just 99% of the answers are NO

      September 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "...it does not work for selfish ambition

      LOL

      Prayer works for everything else though, right?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  2. MC

    Just another piece of corrupt christian filth who steals more than he has ever given.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  3. Joe

    Rom 1:12 my brother; and I Peter 5:9....

    September 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Harry Potter 8: 22 Expelliarmus!

      September 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bea Heeled

      Tosh.0

      September 24, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  4. Opine7

    Just got through watching Pastor Rick Warren on one of Oprah Winfrey's "life classes." Fantastic spiritual insights. I will continue to pray for the healing for this family. Despite tragedy, The Lord of Hosts is faithful to see us through.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The Lord of Hosts determines who dies so why say thank you exactly?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • JDD

        In the Christian tradition, God enters into human history and also experiences pain, and loss of friends, and death. And in the end walks through those experiences with those who choose to let him, and redeems that loss.

        We all die, but nothing of value will be eternally lost. Spite and anger however will be eternal in their own right.

        September 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  5. Hi

    What can't be argued is that this man has spent the better part of his life trying to help people. Believer or not, NO ONE but a pastor and his family knows what pastors go through as they try to help others. It's a very selfless life to live and no amount of money can suffice for the time spent away from his own family while he tries to help others. As a pastor's kid, I understand the family dynamics at play here and regardless of his religious beliefs, he's doing what he can, every day of his life, to help others. Often providing HOURS of free counseling, spending his own money to travel to bring a message of hope and peace to others. And he lost his son. Agree w/ him or not, it's funny how people who are so disrespectful to his life of service most likely spend hours in selfish ambition and negative judgmental opinions who don't do anything to help ANYONE. You may fuss at how much money he MADE but I'd like to see how much money you've GIVEN to charity to help others in comparission to how much he GAVE.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Yes, it's very selfless. He has a tough and modest life. I hope his millions of dollars are a comfort to him.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      How many books and sermons and T.V. deals can you get for one kid's death?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • sandi

      Rick Warren doesn't pay a single cent of his own money – and he has millions. Everything is tax exempt that he claims to do for God.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • MC

      Yeah nothing says selfless like pimping religion for millions in cash.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

        Roger that...

        September 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Rick Warren is given money by the mindless fools that believe the crap that he is preaching. Rick Warren says he speaks for god but there is no god. Rick Warren is nothing but a businessman selling the illusion of faith. Religion is the oldest scam. If you were not brainwashed as a child into believing this nonsense you would be able to see through Rick's smoke and mirrors.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • JN

        CP – with such hatred how can you comment or see anything objectively?

        September 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • MC

      A message of hope and peace unless you are gay, brown or poor.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  6. bill

    Pity the non-believers, The Warren family lost a son and they turn to prayer and God. How anyone can find a negative in another's faith is beyond me. It seems to me that those who criticize lack human empathy. Those with faith want to know how they can help the suffering.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Yes, how can anybody find a negative in the faith of Al-Qaeda insurgents?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Because they want to spread their faith: into education in place of science, onto public buildings, via prayers at public meetings, via laws that reflect their religious beliefs.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I believe that a magical unicorn created everything and watches over me every day. I think I'll ask people to send me money so I can buy magical brushes for grooming the magical unicorn.

      Can you find a negative in my faith?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      God delights in human suffering. He spends His time observing the illness, death and dying of humans on Earth.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Opine7

      Those who hate the idea of faith in Christ, often feel that hatred and venom is the way to stifle the voices of those who believe. It hasn't worked for thousands of years. I can never understand why so many continue to think it will work now.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • JT

      "Those with faith want to know how they can help the suffering." Are you implying that those of us who do not suffer from a delusion, as you are, do not want to help the suffering?

      September 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • MC

      They prayed for their son and god spit in their face – its trickle down religion.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  7. Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

    The conman Rick Warren and the 'flocks' of gullible sheep that fill his mega-church make me sad... 😦 Why are some people so willing to let someone else think for them? Are they just born mindless drones? Is that why they call themselves 'sheep?' and why would you pick that species of animal? Sheep are one of the dumbest creatures on the planet... even dumber than Christian Warrenites...

    September 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

      Addendum... Christians should call themselves 'lemmings' instead...

      September 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

        The collective nouns for otters are bevy, family, lodge, or romp, (being descriptive of their often playful nature) or, when in water, raft.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Alias

      Sorry, but your name is illogical.
      We will have to wage war on you and the birds yuou ride.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

        Science damn it!

        September 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Mark Baird

    I lost my son in 2006. I am not a believer but if a belief in God helps Rick Warren live with his pain then so be it. We all need something or someone in our lives to help us get through the darkest journey of our souls, whatever that may be.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Mark, you have my deepest sympathies. Don't be fooled by the snake oil salesman though.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • Mark Baird

        I understand the concerns that both believers and non-believers have. I have Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Atheist friends. They are all humble people and have all made me a better man. I do not care for any man or woman that carries arrogant pride with them and let's anger settle into their souls. I try to follow the core beliefs of Buddhism. It helps me get to the next day.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  9. Q

    for a fee of course...

    September 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  10. Q

    Organized religion is a man made system to protect the weak from having a direct experience the creator...

    September 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. Jenna

    I bet this man utterly tortured his kid. Religious people are mentally ill by nature, and once you give them a little money and power they are scary creatures. His kid is at peace now.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • steelerguin

      What is really scary is that there are bigoted, uncaring, warped people like you out there.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • MC

        Never trust a christian – thieves and hypocrites all.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

          To quote myself... "When a Christian reaches for their book to reference a quote... you know they are about to lie their ass off..." ~LET

          September 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • JN

      There are non Christians that commit suicide too including people who don't believe in God. With your logic that makes a person who doesn't believe in God brainwashed as well.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        How?

        September 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  12. CP in FL

    Rick Warren does not speak for god because there is no god. At least there is no evidence of any god. Religion is the oldest scam. Rick Warren deceives people into donating money to his church so he can live a life of luxury. The Christian bible was written by man in the Bronze Age. Most people at that time believed the Earth was flat and was the center of the universe. If children were not brainwashed into believing that nonsense since birth no one would believe it.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • David Anderson

      When you say there is no God, you are left with the problem of explaining the origin of everything, including especially the laws of nature and even the laws of evolution. You are left to explain why all those laws are fine tuned to such a level of precision that permits life, that is far, far beyond what coud be possible by chance. You are left to explain the origin of consciousness, including your own. Even in 2013, the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
      • Observer

        Rejecting the idea of the God portrayed in the Bible does not require a definitive alternate explanation. If you don't believe the contradictions and nonsense in the Bible, that does not mean that you have to have a proven alternative.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • JN

          Observer – You're a man of great faith 🙂

          September 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JN. That's a fallacy spouted by the religious – it takes more faith to say "we don't know" rather than accept the ancient superstitions for which we have no evidence and in fact for which we have much evidence against.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • JN

          "It takes more faith to say 'we don’t know'”. I believe you can know truth and reality and this really is not the arguments between us. But the difference is your acceptance of the reality of God needs to look a certain way and until it does you won't approve. This has more to do with personal preference than it does with empirical facts. The cop out is to say we don't know and can't know. I could say you would have to know all things before you can confirm God doesn't exist. Of course you could also throw that argument my way too.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JN
          What empirical facts do you have that unequivocally confirm the existence of a god?. It is not a cop-out to say we don't know; I never said we can't know, but it does seem unlikely. An omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent god could easily provide evidence, so the fact that we not only have no evidence of a god, but the facts we do have do not support the personal gods of all religions makes me think that if there were a god it was pre-Big Bang.

          September 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • ME II

        While I don't claim that there definitely is no god, there is no evidence that definitely supports god(s).
        The ultimate origin of the everything is still an unknown, and many Atheists simply choose not to replace one unknown with another, i.e. god(s).

        September 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • fred

          Interesting that you choose to throw out the Gospel and the Words of Christ even though you have no cause or evidence that would suggest what Christ said was not true. If everything Christ said is true why would you toss out His teachings because a few truths cannot be comprehended by man or proven false by science? That is not reasonable or logical

          September 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          I disagree that there is no cause. There is no evidence that the supernatural exists or that miracles occur. The miraculous events claimed in the Gospels are not things ever experienced by man, unless one assumes the Gospels are true, of course.

          There is, however, plenty of evidence that ancient historical docu.ments have, at best, exaggerated the truth. Not to mention that even more recent eye witness accounts in general are not always reliable, even when the witness does not have a vested interest.

          It is not reasonable or logical to assume that everything that Jesus said is true, especially the supernatural stuff.

          September 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
        • fred

          The miracles or "signs" as John called them were to fulfill prophecy so the chosen ones (descendent of Abraham) and those who would believe because of them. Blessed are those who believe and have not seen is the category you fall into). You are not blessed in that you do not have the gift to see the hand of God, miracles etc. Even the Bible says these things would appear foolish to you. However, In Jesus day as attested to by eye witness within 30 years of his death Jesus showed the signs as prophecy demanded in the Old Testament. These signs were not contested and if Jesus was not who he claimed to be there was no need for the Jews to crucify him as he could have easily been discredited. Belief was spreading fast with no miracles being discredited. Perhaps you wish to argue that the 20,000 manuscripts and the Gospels themselves sprang from a group that wanted to create a Christ that never was in order that they would die horribly for refusing to recant what they saw. Such testimony and witness to miracles continues with of course only the believers having the gift to see and hear about it.
          To those like yourself who demand sings Jesus said none will be given except the sign of Jonah and this truth remain to this day.
          Jesus did not say I will walk on water for you MEII so you cannot claim Jesus spoke falsely about anything.

          September 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          "Even the Bible says these things would appear foolish to you."

          Well, if so, then it was right about one thing. It does appear foolish.
          Is it prophetic to say that some people will think Sponge Bod Square Pants is asinine? No, it just knowing human behavior, and there's nothing miraculous in that. (I'm not comparing the two, just making a point.)

          "In Jesus day as attested to by eye witness within 30 years of his death Jesus showed the signs as prophecy demanded in the Old Testament."

          Or so your book claims.

          "These signs were not contested and if Jesus was not who he claimed to be there was no need for the Jews to crucify him as he could have easily been discredited."

          Ridiculous.
          1) Supposed miracles are not often "easily" discredited because apparently most miracle workers know not to perform in controlled environments which makes independent verification extremely difficult, especially in ancient Israel.
          2) If Jesus was gaining an following then those in power could very well have wanted him dead, regardless of the truth of his claims. Those in power might only care about how many believed Jesus, not whether what he said was true. For example, by your logic David Koresh among others should be believed.

          "Perhaps you wish to argue that the 20,000 manuscripts and the Gospels themselves sprang from a group that wanted to create a Christ that never was in order that they would die horribly for refusing to recant what they saw."

          That's not my opinion, but it's not beyond the scope of human behavior, e.g. Heaven's Gate, the People's Temple, etc.

          "Such testimony and witness to miracles continues with of course only the believers having the gift to see and hear about it."

          The same can be said of astrology and homeopathy.

          "Jesus did not say I will walk on water for you MEII so you cannot claim Jesus spoke falsely about anything."

          I wouldn't make such a claim because we don't really know what he said. Also, I have no cause or evidence that what is attributed to Jesus about the supernatural is true in any way. However, I can claim that many things in the Bible are not true.

          September 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          For the sake of argument let us assume all known testimony concerning Christ was a hoax and those who claimed to be witness were lying so they could be tortured. Let us also assume it is the gullible nature of man to believe this hoax that still dominates the Western World View.
          How do you account for the power in the name of Christ to break the bondage of sin to all who call upon His name with a humble and broken heart? How do you account for the mass "delusion" of answered prayer in the name of Christ?

          September 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          fred
          You have no evidence that christ can break the bondage of sin.
          "How do you account for the mass "delusion" of answered prayer in the name of Christ?"You answered your own question – mass delusion is ingrained in our society. Knowledge has only been with for a few centuries compared to hundreds of centuries where the medicine man/priest was a dominant person in the society. We now know it is all smoke and mirrors.

          September 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          "How do you account for the power in the name of Christ to break the bondage of sin to all who call upon His name with a humble and broken heart?"

          I don't even know what that means. How exactly does one determine what a "bondage of sin" is, let alone when it is broken and by whom?

          "How do you account for the mass 'delusion' of answered prayer in the name of Christ?"

          You don't mention specifics, but often it is simple confirmation bias. People remember the "hits," but forget all the "misses". It's very similar to why some people swear by astrology, homeopathy, "power" bands, and any number of bogus products. Other times it may be a placebo effect.

          September 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • fred

          "In Jesus day as attested to by eye witness within 30 years of his death Jesus showed the signs as prophecy demanded in the Old Testament." Or so your book claims.
          =>It is only in the "book" because those authors found credible were incorporated into that "book". Otherwise we would have many extant sources that support Christ and His ministry. You need to do what skeptics do and exclude anyone that was with Jesus on the basis they are were all liars or frauds (most scholars would disagree with that)

          "Ridiculous.
          1) Supposed miracles are not often "easily" discredited because apparently most miracle workers know not to perform in controlled environments which makes independent verification extremely difficult, especially in ancient Israel."
          =>The feeding of the 5,000 and throngs that chased Jesus down works against that. The 3,000 at Pentecost. As for these days did not the Pope pray for Syria and situation resolved?

          "2) If Jesus was gaining an following then those in power could very well have wanted him dead, regardless"
          =>possible

          "David Koresh among others should be believed."
          =>He was discredited as is scientology and other splinter beliefs.

          " it's not beyond the scope of human behavior, e.g. Heaven's Gate, the People's Temple, etc."
          =>You are speaking about less than .0000001% of the population in such groups. Get real 40% of Americans experience mental illness in the past 2 years

          " I can claim that many things in the Bible are not true."
          =>3 examples please ignore the flood (story about how to find favor in the eyes of the Lord and what happens if your don't), Adam and Eve (story about man rejects Gods way and those who do reject Gods way live only subject to the natural by mans ways) and Exodus (story about God freeing those captive to the bondage of sin by the blood of the perfect lamb of God)

          September 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • fred

          Santa
          It is smoke and mirrors. It is you who thinks this temporary existence is what life is all about not me. You are lost in the smokescreen just as Adam and Eve were. You believe the serpent in the garden who deceives by the shinny apple (real fruit instead of the fruit of the Sprit)

          September 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          fred, I'm not the one believing in ancient superstitions with no evidence for and plenty of evidence against.

          September 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          Bondage to sin goes back to the representative story of Adam and Eve. Mankind wants the shinny apple (delusion of something tangible and desirable now) now rather than the spiritual things of God (a hope in a promise based on faith that is the opposite of naturalism / materialism i.e. not of known physical matter and energy). We were created for eternal relationship with God not desire for things that do not last.
          The bondage is broken when we realize an apple is only shinny and soon rots then is no more. This is the way of the natural man. Jesus said I am the way which is a spiritual path of love and hope longing for the things of God (Jesus gave clear examples to follow as to what these are and how to have this eternal life). The story and Gods plan for man has not changed since the beginning.

          September 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • fred

          Santa
          There is no evidence against the things of God and there is no evidence for your reason to exist. Science only deals with that which can be measured and Science does not and cannot say that our purpose for existence is not as the Bible clearly says it is.
          As to religion and philosophy these are ideas men have expressed over the years. There is no evidence acceptable or in keeping with the scientific method that supports the extrapolation of these ideas into a world view or belief as to why we exist.

          September 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          fred,
          There is no evidence that the bible is the word of a god. There is no evidence that there is a god. We exist. We don't yet have a good explanation for the origin of life, but we do have an explanation from there forward. The absence of a scientific explanation for something does not mean, and is not evidence, that a god did it.

          September 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • ME II

          @fred,
          ... and we are into the weeds again. So, I try to be brief.

          While the Bible may not be considered a single source, but many, it is a 'set of' biased sources. That doesn't make them false by nature, but they still should be viewed with that bias in mind.

          You cannot be serious about the the Pope and Syria. Perfect example of confirmation bias.

          2000 year old "eye witness" accounts do not hold much water.

          How was Koresh discredited?

          What does the size of the group have to do with anything?

          Why ignore all the errors in the OT?

          1) When was Jesus born? Two of the gospels are contradictory.

          2) What is Joseph's genealogy? (Please don't say Levirate marriage or Mary's genealogy.)

          3) The whole 'some in this generation shall not taste death before the kingdom of God has arrived' thing.

          On "bondage of sin":

          You asked me to account for the breaking of the "bondage of sin"?
          There is nothig to account for as nothing seems to have occurred.

          September 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          "While the Bible may not be considered a single source, but many, it is a 'set of' biased sources. ... but they still should be viewed with that bias in mind."
          =>exactly how can bias be avoided? Atheists, skeptics and agnostics have a bias. You have a bias do you not when it comes to the Bible? At a minimum your approach is that of a non believer and if your belief approaches philosophical naturalism then the bias is every bit as entrenched as that of a believer.

          "You cannot be serious about the the Pope and Syria. Perfect example of confirmation bias."
          =>yes it was an example of confirmation bias and a reality that does not conform to naturalism or evaluation by scientific method.

          "2000 year old "eye witness" accounts do not hold much water."
          =>yet they should not be ignored

          "How was Koresh discredited?"
          =>his actions, the shoot out, lust for a 77 year old prophetess , lack of sexual control and reports of child abuse are a big clue. Yet I suppose you are attempting to make the case they believed onto death.
          This is actually an example for the validity of the accounts of the Bible. The Bible shows the promise to Abraham that God would bless the two boys Isaac and Ishmael and make them a great nation. One would be in constant conflict with the other yet from the one would come the redeemer. Today both await the return of the redeemer. The Muslims (nation out of Ishmael) await the 13th Imam while the Jews (Nation out of Isaac) await Christ (13th Imam is out of the same OT context as the high priest aka Christ the messiah). Christians also await the return of Christ and are included with the Children of Abraham.
          These are the two mainline beliefs in God today based on 10,000 year old oral tradition as recorded by Moses 3,400 years ago.
          I see it as proof that the Bible addresses the promises of God and those promises have never failed. You see it as coincidence due to intellectual bias.

          "What does the size of the group have to do with anything?"
          =>one person or hundreds could be crazy which you hold up as justification for your bias. When you get down to populations that small with skewed beliefs I put them in the same category as those who deny the U.S. Moon landing.

          The power of a living God is clear because our world view is based on God existing even though you may not believe. Reality has been altered by the power of a living God (real or not). You cannot dismiss it when the evidence reveals the risen Christ and the God of Abrahams revealed power over your reality.

          "Why ignore all the errors in the OT?"
          =>I am not aware of any errors only a hand full of unknown or unresolved conflicts. Even lack of evidence for the Exodus is understandable as Egyptians do not document their embarrassments.

          "1) When was Jesus born? Two of the gospels are contradictory."
          Herod died 5BC,4BC or 1BC.......depending on source are these contradictory dates or is it only contradictory when the Bible is involved? Luke appears to address two different times when a census was taken by Quirinius in Luke and Acts. It appears the "contradiction" is in both secular accounts and biblical. I go with Josephus account which can be supported by current science (eclipse) which puts the date at 1BC or if he meant a partial eclipse (less confidence) 4BC.
          Luke 2:2 can be translated, "This census was before Quirinius was governing Syria." which puts the birth after 8BC but before 14AD.
          In short there is no contradiction simply lack of consensus in both our world views.

          "2) What is Joseph's genealogy? (Please don't say Levirate marriage or Mary's genealogy.)"
          =>Matthew was writing to the Jews and the Jews demanded a legal line to the throne of David. Joseph by law became Heli's son by marriage. The Jews were sticklers about the law and custom.
          =>Luke writing to the Gentile wanted to show the Son of Man who belonged to the whole world not just the Jew. He worked backward to Adam in contrast with Matthew who began with Abraham.

          "3) The whole 'some in this generation shall not taste death before the kingdom of God has arrived' thing."
          =>What is the Kingdom of God but when Christ is King. The moment you accept Christ as your Lord and ruler of your life you are "in Christ" and no longer your own. We are servants and Christ is King which puts us in the Kingdom where we will not taste death. The Kingdom of God is not necessarily something that only relates to the after life.
          Now, in Mark Jesus was speaking about the Pentecost when the Power of God did come among them long before they died. Some think it was the appearance of God in the transfiguration since that is context with verses immediately following.
          No conflict just confirmation bias obstructing a skeptics objectivity.

          September 17, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        David, when you say "fine tuned to such a level of precision", you surely don't mean life on this earth that has seen 99% of all species that have ever lived go extinct. Not really fine tuned or successfully designed. You surely don't mean life on this earth that constantly battles with disease and predation and climate. Not really fine tuned or successfully designed. You surely don't mean this planet with earthquakes, tsunamis, fire, drought, flood etc. Not really fine tuned or successfully designed. If there was a designer, he is really lousy at his job.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • JN

          It's called sin – ouch – I new that wasn't a word you wanted to hear. But at some point humans need to take personal responsibility. We're not as great (good) as we think we are. Granted, a lot of things are done by generous people, we are all plague with a disease called sin. It's time for an adolescent age to own up!

          September 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • ME II

          @JN,
          I would think that the universe is either fine-tuned or not, which is it?
          Some theists claim God fine-tuned it for life, but now you're saying that's not correct?

          September 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • A Frayed Knot

          If things on Earth (and elsewhere?) are "fine-tuned" toward anything, it's to Bacteria. Bacteria (and other micro-organisms) have survived and thrived for eons in every nook and cranny of this planet - including freezing Antarctica, in the deserts, rivers, oceans, and the super-hot hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea. Many of them destroy humans. Micro-organisms must be "God's" favorites!

          September 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • donnangelo

      I submit there is another conclusion; that God takes even the horror and tragedy that comes from living in a work broken by sin and use that to bless his people. The Warren family suffered unimaginable pain and loss and yet their response is peace in the middle of that suffering and I suggest that comforts and encourages others going through extreme pain in loss. Jesus said "in this world you will have many trouble, be I have overcome the world." I can think of no better example than the Warren's testimony. And regarding prayer, I am a research scientist by training and I have seen first hand God work miracles in the lives of his people. You can deny that and I respect you, but I know the person I put my faith in and I know he wants me to trust him in the hard times as well as the good times, assured that he will work all things together for the good of those who love him. A central message of Christianity is that God knows grief… and there is not greater proof of God’s existence, presence and comfort than parents who when confronted with the senseless death of a child can lift up their hands and praise Him for his goodness, mercy , power and love.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        You are right, there is not greater proof than what you stated, which is no proof at all. It is only belief, nothing more.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Please provide examples of miracles that can be unequivocally attributed to a god.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  13. mhb

    Who cares what you believe. A family lost their son. Thats what matters

    September 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • CP in FL

      It matters because Rick Warren says that he speaks for god and knows what is best for everyone else. His congregation should demand that he provide proof of gods existence or he should be charged with fraud for deceiving people. Apparently prayers do not work or Rick's son would not have killed himself.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • kfletch87

        Prove that God does NOT exist.

        September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • CP in FL

          The burden of proof is on the believers. If I say that big foot exists, then I must prove this. The default position is that god does not exist.

          September 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Apple Bush

          I have to prove unicorns and leprechauns don't exist first, then I will get to the gods.

          September 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Prove that Skeletor does NOT exist.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • crucified

          Actually the burden of proof is with the one that asserts the position ...since CP said first he does not exist, the burden of proof of His none existence is on him.... good luck on this one CP

          September 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          CP isn't asserting, it's a response to the assertion that there is a god.

          “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens

          September 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • awasis

          Can you prove that Santa Claus does not exist? If not, does that mean that logical intelligent people should have to conclude that he may? Use your brain.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • CP in FL

          Actually you are right. I do have a weak argument. Maybe there is a God after all, I just cannot let believers alone, since I am jealous that I do not fit in. Believers seem to have a sense of belonging that I never have...I was rejected by my father, was bullied in school, and have no self esteem. That is why I spend my days here trying to tear down believers.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • CP in FL

          "Actually you are right. I do have a weak argument."
          I am not the one that posted this. Is your argument really so weak that you must take my name and pretend to post as me? There is no god and you have no proof of any gods. You are the one with a weak argument.

          September 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
      • Hi

        "Proof" is in the eye of the beholder. If you say God does not exist b/c he can't be seen, then prove that the wind exists, or prove the gravity exists. Neither can be seen but both have effects which can be felt. If God does not exist b/c he does not speak audibly, then prove that Helen Keller never existed. No one ever heard her voice, yet they heard everything she had to say. People who believe do not need "proof" and people who do not believe wouldn't believe "proof" if it hit them across the face. I would say that to someone who believes, the very fact that I'm still alive and in my right mind is proof that God exists. SO many of us are His living proof, but if you're not a beliver you wouldn't believe that anyway. You can't tell me if the coffee I'm drinking is sweet or strong b/c you haven't tried my coffee. Neither have you tried my Jesus!

        September 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "Proof" is in the eye of the beholder. If you say Skeletor does not exist b/c he can't be seen, then prove that the wind exists, or prove the gravity exists. Neither can be seen but both have effects which can be felt. If Skeletor does not exist b/c he does not speak audibly, then prove that Helen Keller never existed. No one ever heard her voice, yet they heard everything she had to say. People who believe do not need "proof" and people who do not believe wouldn't believe "proof" if it hit them across the face. I would say that to someone who believes, the very fact that I'm still alive and in my right mind is proof that Skeletor exists. SO many of us are His living proof, but if you're not a beliver you wouldn't believe that anyway. You can't tell me if the coffee I'm drinking is sweet or strong b/c you haven't tried my coffee. Neither have you tried my Skeletor!

          September 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • EngineersGuideToGod

        The proof of God's existence is everywhere, all around us. Creation requires a creator. Even now, God is making Himself known to you. Even now, Christian friends and Christian family members are praying that you will listen to Him and find Him for yourself. You don't deny Him because you disbelieve; you deny Him because you are afraid of what will happen if you open that door to Him. You are correct in stating that, if He exists, He should be provable. So, ask Him to prove Himself to you. Crack the door open, and you will find that He is real and that His love for you is genuine. Don't be concerned about somebody else's religion - find Him for yourself. Religion is not about mental agreement with a set of beliefs. It is about experience with God Himself. Anything less than that, and you're better off just being an atheist. God wants to make Himself known to you. Pray this prayer and then leave it up to Him: "God, if You will make Yourself known to me, I will believe in You."

        September 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          EGtG
          As soon as you said "Creation requires a creator" you jumped the logic train. First try to show there is a creator. Asking god to reveal himself does not work, I tried for many , many years. He either does not exist, or ignored me completely.

          We do not yet know what happened in the "time" leading to the Big Bang. There is no evidence of any "creator". No sense in reading any further than your creator statement, since that does not make sense, and makes wild presumption. The rest is moot since your base premise is logically flawed.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Alliance)

          "Creation requires a creator" another useless opinion... brought to you by everyone who poops...

          September 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  14. Nate

    amazing how their daughter felt Satan was "picking a fight" with their family. These are deeply self-centered people. As are all "pray for me" people. This isn't american idol, where God heals the top three vote getters and forgets about the rest. The Warren family didn't receive one benefit from other people's prayers, other than the benefit they get from being the center of attention.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • CP in FL

      Prayers do not work because there is no god. Anyone that disagrees with this statement is free to try and prove god's existence. The burden of proof is on the believers.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • kfletch87

        The burden of proof is not on believers. Believers believe. They don't need proof. The proof is in their hearts and in the afterlife. If you don't believe, it's on you. There is no "burden of proof." You either have faith or you don't. You believe in evolution, right? There is no observable science to prove evolution is true, but you believe it nonetheless right? Don't say fossils, fossils are not observable. God is not observable. We have faith that the fossil record verifies the theory of evolution, and we have faith that God exists.

        September 16, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "There is no observable science to prove evolution is true"

          Yes there is.

          "fossils are not observable"

          Of course they are. Their formation isn't, but go to any natural history museum and you can observe fossils all day long.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • crucified

          I can actually make a fully fossilized object in my backyard in less than three months.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I can recite all 50 states in a quarter of a second.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • awasis

          God let demons attack Warren's son as a punishment, because Warren is using God to become rich off his people.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
      • NCT

        The burden of proof is on the NON-believers. Prove that God does NOT exist.
        Look around this world. That is all the proof I need to show that God DOES exist.
        You are a fool if you think this just all happened by itself.
        Do you know why they can't find the missing link? Because there is NOT one.
        This world had a designer, and it was God.

        My prayers go out to Rick and his family. They lost a child and that is a very sad and difficult thing to deal with.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Prove that Skeletor does NOT exist.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  15. Truth

    Good to see that the Christophobes are not above spewing their hate on a thread about a father's loss. Well done kiddies!

    September 16, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • CP in FL

      Is it too soon to point out that Rick Warren if full of crap and that there is no god?

      September 16, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • Truth

        No problem. Please provide proof of your claim about God.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • MC

      Rick spends his days inciting rwandans to kill the gays in their country- let him reap what he sows.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  16. D

    What gets me is that atheists think science explains everything. Yet science consistently changes their perception based on prior ignorance. First the Big Bang Theory. If you ask an atheist, they say it happened because the universe was already here. Ask them who/what created the universe they stare at you with dumbfoundness.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      "Ask them who/what created the universe they stare at you with dumbfoundness."

      Let me guess, you have the answer, right?

      September 16, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Darwin was right

      So who created the magic white guy with a beard who lives in the sky? As far as there being "something" rather than nothing, and this means God must have created the something, you need to catch up on your cosmology. It turns out that the negative energy of gravity may be almost precisely balanced by the positive energy of matter and radiation, which means we indeed can have the so-called cosmological "free-lunch" created randomly out of the quantum vacuum. On the other hand, all that Christians can say about everything is that GOD DID IT. That is VERY lame!

      September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • kfletch87

        You are aware Darwin was not an atheist, right?

        September 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          He was an agnostic.

          September 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Where is your evidence of god's existence? At least there is evidence of the big bang. There is no evidence of any god or gods.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • frizzletoad

      So, since science can't explain everything, we should believe in an invisible powerful magical being in the sky?

      September 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • ME II

      @D,
      Science does not explain everything. No one is claiming that.

      It does however explain many things that have been, and in some cases still are, attributed to some god(s).

      September 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  17. Darwin was right

    Here are the many ways that belief in Christ, the Bible, and spirits and angels has 'helped' us over the last 2000 years:
    *
    1) St. Augustine proclaimed that the correct Christian doctine of disease shall be that "demons cause disease." SCIENCE fortunately refutes this nutty theory and discovers that disease is caused by germs, biochemical imbalances, and genetic defects.
    *
    2) Christian authorities proclaim the BLACK PLAGUE is 'punishment for our sins'. SCIENCE discovers that plague is due to a microbe called Yersinia pestis, spread by the bite of fleas.
    *
    3) Martin Luther, in response to the question of what causes severe birth defects in children, preaches that these arise when a woman sleeps with a demon instead of her husband. SCIENCE refutes the popular demon theory by explaining that birth defects arise from genetic defects and/or improperly expressed genes during gestation.
    *
    4) Thousands of Christian preachers in Southern churches believe and preachput to their congregations that Black people are little better than mon keys and God has made them especially suited for slavery and that the Bible supports slavery.
    *
    It don't think you can look at this record of Christians OPPOSING science and reason and human rights, and believe that Christianity has brought us a better life.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • CP in FL

      Well said!

      September 16, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • NCT

        Of course go further:
        Science said the world was flat. Proved wrong when they sailed around the world.
        Science said the sky was all there was. Proved wrong when telescopes were invented and now they could see other planets.
        Science said nobody could fly. Proved wrong by the Wright Brothers.

        September 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Religion said that the world was flat.
          Religion said that the sky was all there was. Telescopes were one of the first things invented by science as we know it – and some planets are visible without them.
          Da Vinci visualized flying machines at the birth of modern science.

          September 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          In fact christianity said that the universe was geocentric despite contrary evidence.

          September 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • steelerguin

      Darwin, That argument is incredibley lame. I guarantee you that Yersinia was not yet discovered in the dark ages. It's simple minded to compare what was thought to be correct many hundreds of years ago with what is known today. I bet people will be laughing at us in 400 to 500 years from now for our "ridiculous and simple" theories.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Truth

      Would you kindly provide links to back up these claims, especially to number 4. Names, and churches please. Thanks.

      September 16, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • D

      Because power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even those that did not believe have caused human travesty and suffering. Those that claimed disease was the devil's work were ignorant that diseases were relative to one's personal environment, experience what have you. Those that made it law fit to the statement above. Contrary to belief by many atheists Christians support and encourage science. In fact some of pastors out there study much more than just Biblical disciplines

      September 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • PB

      You obviously cherry picked your analysis of Christian perspectives. have you actually done any research into scientific, moral, spiritual, etc. positive influences of Christians, or are you just completely ignorant-I'll just give you one example, sir Isac Newton.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Don't forget that there have been major advances in our knowledge since the times of Newton – Big Bang, DNA, etc. which undercut the biblical myth of creation which in turn removes the credibility of the Genesis story.

        September 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  18. JIM

    well, back to work. I apologize for anyone i have offended with a spelling error or to, and the failure to capitalize the first letters in my sentences.
    but seriously, find out a little bit more about a man like Rick Warren before you lump him in with some failed mega-pastors of the past, and conclude he's just another egotistical, greedy con-man. but more importantly, maybe actually read his book, and open your heart and mind.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Apple Bush

      "two" not "to"

      September 16, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      • JIM

        thanks again- have a great day. or a grate day. whichever.

        September 16, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  19. Anti-Theist

    When you create your own darkest moments to "learn from" then you are stupid to begin with.

    September 16, 2013 at 11:22 am |
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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.