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September 17th, 2013
10:24 AM ET

The five things you need to know about Rick Warren

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Best-selling author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren is one of the country's most influential Christian leaders.

But Warren and his wife, Kay, have nearly disappeared from public view since their son's suicide in April.

That changed Tuesday night, when Rick and Kay Warren spoke with CNN's Piers Morgan about the death of their son, how their faith has changed and their new mission in life.

Here are five things to know about the Warrens.

1. They lead the sixth largest church in the United States. 

Since its first public service on Easter in 1980, the Warrens' Saddleback Church has spread to eight campuses in Southern California as well as four international satellites and counts some 20,000 weekly worshippers.

That's makes it the sixth-largest in the United States, according to an annual tally kept by LifeWay Research, a Christian firm based in Nashville.

MORE ON CNN: Rick Warren speaks about his son's suicide

2. Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life," has sold more than 32 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. 

Published in 1992, Warren's spiritual self-help book has topped all four major best-seller lists, according to Warren's spokesman, making it one of the best-selling hardcover books in recent history.

The book reached national prominence in 2005, when hostage Ashley Smith convinced her captor to read portions of "Purpose Driven," after which he let her go.

"That really made Warren a household name," said Jeffery Sheler, author of the 2009 biography, "Prophet of Purpose: The Life of Rick Warren."

By 2005, nearly a quarter of Americans had read "The Purpose Driven Life," Christian researcher David Kinnaman told CNN last year. 

3. Warren is an evangelical.  

That means he falls on the conservative end of the spectrum, theologically.

Like other evangelicals, Warren believes he has a personal relationship with God, that Jesus is the only route to salvation, that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and that he has a duty to spread the gospel.

Warren also falls in line with most evangelical political beliefs, opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, for example. But he and Kay also encourage Christians to care about a broad range of causes, from fighting poverty to global warming.

4. Warren delivered the invocation at President Barack Obama's first inaugural. 

Obama took a lot of criticism for inviting Warren to pray at his first inaugural, mainly because Warren had encouraged his huge flock the year before to support Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.

But Obama defended his selection of Warren, saying that "part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."

For what it's worth, Warren has also caught flak for inviting Obama to Saddleback Church, over the objections of conservative evangelicals.

5. Rick and Kay Warren are extremely active in lots of social justice causes.

AIDS, poverty,  gun control it may actually be shorter to list causes that the Warrens have not dedicated time and energy to.

In 2005, Warren started traveling to Rwanda after an invitation from President Paul Kagame to help make the African nation become the first "purpose-driven country."

The pastor continues to visit Rwanda, preaching a message of reconciliation nearly a decade after the country's devastating genocide.

After his son's death, Warren has preached about using his pain and sorrow in service of others. He and Kay also say they have a new mission: shedding light on the toll of mental illness in the United States.

MORE ON CNN: Rick Warren returns to the spotlight

 

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Faith • Faith & Health • Media

soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. The ghost of Jim jones

    Here is the sixth thing I would like to know about Rick warren: how he sleeps at night knowing he has fleased millions out of their hard earned money.

    September 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Dippy

      Fleeced, not fleased.

      September 18, 2013 at 2:46 am |
  2. James

    There are three things you need to know about atheists:
    1. Queers
    2. Queers
    3. Queers

    To hell with 'em!

    September 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • billy wingartenson

      thats what hitler thought – he sent about 50,000 to the death camps. Seig heil to you.

      BTW WARrens son's suicide reminds me of an early live blog 20 years ago when kids were trying to prevent another kid from committing suicide

      Tne kid then said "my fathers a baptist minister, and disappearred from the conversation. your type effectively mass murderes about 4000 of the 8000 kids who commit suicide every year

      The local fire department will direct you to a hell proof suit.

      September 26, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  3. The REAL Church Lady

    The post by atheists on this site is appalling, but I will tell you this...better to be an atheist than to worship a false god.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  4. Learn English Fast!

    This old world

    Salty and the boys hook a tuna

    Sunset and a cold beer

    1. World: created by chaotic conditions and collision during the formation of our solar system.
    2. Salty: Cool dude with more wisdom than any preacher man.
    3. Tuna: Evolved and yummy.
    4. Sunset: (See 1)
    5. Cold Beer: Humans

    September 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  5. John P.sdfd

    WHY GUN CONTROL TO KILL CITIZENS I USA LATINO AMERICA EUROPE AND ASIA.

    QUE VAN A HACER CUANDO LES DESTRUYAN EL CEREBRO ORGANOS E IRRADIEN LOS OJOS DE SUS NIÑOS.

    CNN COMO SE VAN A DEFENDER?.

    CON QUE LES VAN A DISPARAR.......

    POLITICOS Y EJERCITOS ELIMINANDO ARMAS PARA QUE CUANDO SE CONOZCAN LOS CRIMENES HECHOS POR POLITICOS CON TECNOLOGIAS INVASIVAS

    ...LOS HABITANTES NO TENGAN CON QUE DEFENDERSE

    CON QUE LES VAN A DISPARAR...

    POR QUE EN LATINO AMERICA Y ESTADOS UNIDOS TENEMOS LEYES CONFICATORIAS DE DERECHOS EN PAISES DEMOCRATICOS O PROXIMAMENTE COMUNISTAS.

    WHY KILL CITIZENS TO GUN CONTROL I USA EUROPE LATIN AMERICA AND ASIA.

    WHEN GOING TO MAKE THEM DESTROY THE BRAIN EYES BODIES and radiate YOUR CHILDREN.

    CNN HOW WILL DEFEND?.

    WITH THEM GOING TO SHOOT .......

    POLITICAL AND ELIMINATING ARMY WEAPONS TO KNOW WHEN torches BY POLITICAL CRIMES WITH INVASIVE TECHNOLOGIES

    MIREN COMO TRADUCE GOOGLE EN CASOS DE ESTUDIOS DE LA RAZA HUMANA AGENCIAS DE INTELIGENCIA QUE PIDEN CAPACIDAD DE PROCESAMIENTO A LAS VILLAS DE GOOGLE Y CILICON VALLEY.

    POR QUE LO TRADUCE DE ESA MANERA?.

    TENDRAN QUE VER MILITARES NAZIS ESCAPADOR Y ENVIADOS A CAMPOS DE CONCENTRACION NAZIS Y MK ULTRA EN ESTO.

    September 17, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    What will happen if Cannabis were made legally available to the medically needy masses..?

    1. There would be a noticeable reduction in physical ailments leading to less doctor/pharmacologist visits reducing the payload for most people seeking carcinogenic drugs to relieve them of the physical pains… After all, are not most of today’s doctors nothing more than pharmacologists or medicinal pill pushers for the major pharmaceutical pill makers..? Instead of the major pharmaceutical companies manufacturing chemically manufactured pill knock-offs of the real drugs, why not let mankind’s social fabric regulate itself when it comes to self-medicating via the uses of THC lowered and CBD raised Cannabinoids in the Cannabis Herbs..?

    2. For today’s doctors who are nothing more than highly paid pharmacologists all working for big Pharmaceutical companies… Such doctors are receiving kickbacks from big pharmaceutical manufacturers and these doctors or pharmacologists should begin following along with an ever growing number of states which are now regulating the smoking of Cannabis and Hemp Oils and Tinctures not to mention Cannabis Beverages…

    3. With THC being the psychoactive ingredient and CBD being non-psychoactive molecule of the Cannabis Plant, its medicinal uses are now being used to treat such forms of epilepsies, multiple sclerosis and many other sicknesses via the uses of adding nature’s Cannabinoids into our body’s Receptive Endocannabinoid System…

    4. One can see that smoking the flowering part of the Cannabis plant may be of somewhat beneficial usages yet it should be of greater interests to the pharmacologists/family physician in their ways of regulating Cannabis Medicines for more ways than just smoking it… Many states here in the USA have legalized Cannabis usages for medicinal purposes and are just beginning to amass a pharmacological understanding of Cannabis’s percentile uses in high to low percentage rates of THC and CBD for pharmacological treatments to their clientele or patients…

    5. Cannabis in weighed and measured dosages of percentage amounts in known variations of Cannabinoids’ percentiles of THC and CBD could benefit many people with many ailments of physical and even mental abnormalities… One could almost wipe out our nation’s plague of alcoholism by replacing it with moderated grade levels of cannabis to be smoked by adults in order to relieve today’s alcoholic of his physically emotional dilemma created thru their abusiveness of alcoholic beverages… many alcoholics I know who smoke Cannabis would say they’d most likely quit drinking if Cannabis were made legal or even medically regulated to stem the tide of today’s alcoholism…

    6. As Cannabis becomes ever more useful for medicinal purposes, one should consider its beneficial uses outside of its pharmacological usages… I’ll start with the young seedling of Cannabis just a few days old which could be used much like the soybean youngling in many food effective ways such as for a grounded food additive in breads and cakes to increase its nutritional values… Science knows full well the beneficial nutrient levels in Cannabis seeds and its uses of a youngling cannabis plant…

    The farmers would also benefit in growing Cannabis… Part of their crop could be used to feed their livestock which would be not only beneficial to the livestock’s healthiness; it would mean that we who eat the meats would gain better health and possibly a longer life with less sickness… Cannabis instead of the non-nutritious bales of hay is the farmers’ better way…

    I can foresee a day to come where Cannabis Feed for all mankind’s Livestock Herds would greatly benefit civilization for feeding their livestock with Cannabis is not only nutritious for the farmer’s herds but for all the people who eat of the cannabis fed herd’s meat…

    September 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Even within the construction industries; the uses of the Cannabis Plants could benefit the cement industries thru their using ground up varying grades of the Cannabis plants stalks in the making of concrete and all manner of blocks from concrete/cement blocks to all forms of bricks… In order for construction grade Cannabis to be harvested, the farmers could utilize a low THC based cannabis plant with a high grade of CBD plants thereby easing the potential abusers of Cannabis from getting high…

      September 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  7. Sefora

    Very nicely written article! Kudos!!

    September 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  8. Ken Margo

    What Mr. Warren should do is call out the "pro life" repubs that are against reasonable gun control. Mr. Warren has first hand knowledge of the dangers loose guns have on our society and it's about time he use his influence to put a stop to the carnage.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  9. AE

    "If there is any good news that is truly good news for everybody, and not just for a few somebodies, it is this: God is greater and more generous than the best of those who profess to know and serve him. This is the radical nonconformity with the conventional wisdom that Jesus both proclaimed and exemplified, and alas, it cost him his life. Will we hope to fare any better, as disciples of his nonconformity?”
    Peter Gomes

    September 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      More worthless drivel.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Joey

      Who is Peter Gomes?

      September 17, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Wasn't he part of the monkeys?

        September 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • doobzz

          I loved his cover of "Your Auntie Grizelda"!

          September 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • AE

        A Harvard Baptist minister who preached that God's grace was available to all people, and not just to conservative evangelicals.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • Frank

          So, people need not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?

          September 17, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
        • AE

          Why would you say that?

          September 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Nope!

          September 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Hebrews

      Why are you quoting peter gomes and not what Jesus said about Salvation and the path to eternal life?

      September 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • Proverbs 30:6

        Some mortals unfortunately think their theology is more valid than what God says. They call that 'liberal' theology

        September 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Proverbs 5

          You said, "Some mortals unfortunately think their theology is more valid than what God says."
          Theology is the discussion of the fabric, the cut, the colors and patterns of the emperor's new clothes. Your imaginary creature is just as valid as anyone else's. Your theology is just as "correct" as that of anyone else, or as the theology as it pertains to the Tooth Fairy.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • Proverbs 30:5

          Looks like you got lost in the belief blog, Beauty & fashion blog is ==>way.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • AE

        It was in reference to Rick Warren's anti-hom.sxuality campaign.

        Nothing Jesus said supports it.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • Proverbs 30:6

          We all are sinners and need to repent of our sins and accept the plan of salvation as offered by Lord Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
        • AE

          Yes, Jesus' plan.

          Not the conservative republican American evangelical's plan.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • Proverbs 30:5

          All Christians are evangelicals. What do you mean not 'evangelical Christians'. If you call yourself a Christian you are called to evangelize.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • Proverbs 30:5

          Read Matthew 28

          September 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • AE

          If I just meant evangelical, I would have said evangelical.

          I specified this man's focus: conservative republican American evangelical

          Read John 13:34

          September 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "God is greater and more generous than the best of those who profess to know and serve him."

      What does that remind me of? Ah yes: "Allahu akbar".

      More proselytizing plat.itudes.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  10. Joey

    They left out the most important thing I want to know, and that is why should I watch this interview?

    September 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    Charlotte's Web – CBD for Epilepsy

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9qkYLtAhSQ&w=640&h=390]

    September 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Rick Warren's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Rick Warren?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Rick Warren has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Rick Warren
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Rick Warren's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Rick Warren's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Rick Warren just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      That was funny....like six years ago

      September 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I'm going to keep amusing you with this story for 2,000 years Bill, like those bronze age goat herders have done with your collection of laughable stories in your bible.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        and I even changed the name to Rick Warren just to amuse you. You are a tough crowd Bill.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    It never has, it doesn't now, and it never will. YOU come along and say that 2 + 2 = 5. I say it does not. You say it does, I say it equals 4. You say it doesn't – I say 2 + 2 ≠ 5. You say it does, I say it doesn't. The argument/war goes on for years.

    NOW you come along and say "Let's COMPROMISE!"

    Ya know what? 2 + 2 ≠ 5

    And ya know what else? Your "compromise" of 2 + 2 = 4½ doesn't work, either.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5 It doesn't, and I don't have to RESPECT your belief that it does. You're wrong, I'm SAYING you're wrong, I'm telling you to your FACE you're wrong, and if you teach it to your children, it should be considered child abuse. You're wrong, you should be shamed for believing it, and I'm willing to do it. I'm calling you an idiot and you are if you believe it.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    September 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • humbleme33

      Tell me again how you came from a single celled organism? When did an unsophisticated (lacking intelligent design) decide to split into two species to best combat evolutionairy changes in the atmosphere?

      September 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        The theory most scientists currently favor for the origins of life is called “abiogenesis,” the gradual emergence of life on Earth from non-living matter. To understand why it is thought that life arose on Earth from non-living matter, one has to understand some basic biochemistry. This is where you “talking snake crowd” have such a problem. You have to actually understand some very basic science, you can’t just rely on what you were taught at Sunday school as an eight year-old.

        All life is comprised of complex arrangements of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, all orchestrated by DNA and/or RNA. DNA/RNA and proteins are by far the most important components of a living organism, carrying out virtually every function in a cell. Fats and carbohydrates are generally simpler molecules and play critical, but subordinate roles in cells.

        DNA and RNA are made of five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil. They act as the cell’s “mission control,” orchestrating the cell’s activities. Proteins are made of 20 amino acids. They are the workhorse of the cell – the nails, wood, steel beams and machinery that make the cell run. It is the order of amino acids in a protein that determine its shape and, therefore what it does. This order and shape of proteins is itself dictated by the DNA through RNA.

        So, in short, life is made up of complex arrangements of:

        The five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil – arranged into DNA and/or RNA
        The twenty amino acids – that form all proteins, including enzymes and the other 100,000 or so proteins in a complex organism’s body.
        Carbohydrates – literally “water-carbon,” which include sugars and starches. These are much simpler elements than proteins or DNA/RNA and act as an energy source.
        Fats – also called lipids, these are important in constructing cell membranes.

        The simplest cells are prokaryotic cells. They exist today principally as bacteria. Stromatolites and other fossils from all over the planet suggest that, for the first billion years of life on earth, all life was simple, prokaryotic life. These cells consisted of a fatty cell membrane, like a balloon skin, with DNA/RNA, proteins, fats and carbohydrates on the inside. They had no nucleus. Cells with nuclei, called eukaryotic cells (which make up virtually all multi-cellular organisms) are much larger and more complex that prokaryotic cells and likely resulted from the early combining of prokaryotic cells.

        So, can a simple prokaryotic cell come into existence without the intervention of God, Allah, Shiva, Vishnu, Yahweh or any other divine/magic being?

        Beginning in the 1950s, scientists started trying to mimic the conditions on the early Earth to see whether some kind of “life-fairy” was necessary to get things started. In the most famous experiment of this era, the Miller-Urey experiment of 1952, Stanley Miller demonstrated that heating and running an electric spark through an atmosphere of water vapor, ammonia, methane and hydrogen for a few weeks resulted in these very simple molecules self-assembling into all 20 of the amino acids upon which life on Earth is based. This is a startling result. All 20 building blocks of proteins, which comprise over 99% of the cell’s functional structures, self-assembling without a magic wand from God, Shiva, Vishnu, Allah etc!

        The experiment was groundbreaking because it suggested that, under the perfectly natural conditions of early Earth, the building blocks of life can and will self-assemble. Indeed, it now seems that major volcanic eruptions 4 billion years ago would have created an even more diverse atmosphere than Miller used, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). When these were added to the mix in subsequent experiments, they have resulted in the creation of all 5 nucleotides, all 20 amino acids and basic fatty membranes and various carbohydrates. That is to say, with no magic/divine intervention, all life’s building blocks WILL self-assemble.

        But nails, wood, wiring and bricks a house do not make. Even the simplest life requires these building blocks to be arranged in very, very complex ways. In various experiments with various conditions, scientists have been able to create a wide range of cell-like structures of increasing complexity on the road toward a simple self-replicating organism. These creations are called protobionts or coacervates and if you “you tube” or google these terms, you will see many examples.

        This is still a far cry from a cell, but the important thing is that the experiments uniformly demonstrate that organic molecules have a natural tendency to clump together in increasingly complex ways under early Earth-like conditions. They are not being pushed into doing something “against their will”.

        Where it gets really suggestive is that scientists have been able to isolate what they believe to be some of the most primitive genes of Earth, by comparing the DNA of two organisms whose last common ancestor lived soon after the formation of the Earth. For such genes to be common to both such organisms, they must be very, very old. When these ancient genes produce amino acids, they are rich in the amino acids most common in the Miller-Urey and similar experiments! This suggests that these experiments do indeed reflect early Earth conditions and that life itself did arise under such conditions.

        The other important factor is that these impressive results have been achieved in laboratories over small periods of time. Imagine the whole Earth as the “Petri dish” and hundreds of millions of years as the timescale. Simple life gradually emerging from such a “soup” does not seem at all incredible, certainly not incredible enough that we in the USA have to give up and call the remaining gap in knowledge “God,” while our Indian colleagues do the same and attribute it all to the Lord Shiva.

        Scientist are also approaching it from the other side too, gradually stripping away at prokaryotic cells to see how stripped down they have to become for life to “stop,” while others continue to build up from coacervates and protobionts. The gap is narrowing as our knowledge continues its inexorable march.

        The Christian sky-fairy is being pinched out! There’s not a lot of room left for him now. The pincers of science are closing in from both sides, squeezing out the phantom of religion and ignorance. Soon, the two sides of the pincer will meet and this unnecessary holdover will have to flutter off and find another dark corner to settle in, where the penetrating light of science and knowledge has not yet shone. Fortunately, the weak, forgiving mind of the believer will always be there for him, acting as an eternal refuge from enlightenment and advancement.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        •  

          Godless Vagabond
          Dog, the length of that post will probably exceed the attention span of most believers. They can barely make it past "god did it."

          September 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • interesting

          Copied and pasted

          September 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • Sane Maind

          Romans 1:21 "..but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools... A big fat fool indid... By your name I can anticipate your doglexic response... You are a fool...

          September 18, 2013 at 12:59 am |
      • ReligionIsBS

        Who created god?

        September 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          and don't Christians change the subject fast when you ask them that one!

          and then they whine because you're persecuting them. LOLOL

          September 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • ReligionIsBS

          And I bet he read your explanation of evolutiion from a single celled organism and will continue to ask the question anyway.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • humbleme33

          No I wont be chaging the subject silly. No one created God because He always existed. The same question could be said where did the first piece of matter come from when did ex nihilo happen.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  14. Reality # 2

    And the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tentyh thing to know about the Warrens: They suffer from a severe case of the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion and in their case the flaws in the history and theology of Christianity

    September 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Oops, make the "tenth".

      September 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
      • Cosine

        Ok, that will not be complete without :)

        September 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Cosine

      3 B syndrome?- Yes!!!

      Born , Bred and Blessed to be a believer!

      September 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • humbleme33

      Enjoy your trip to "nothingness." I use to be you. Life has purpose and meaning because He made you. Everybody worships something. Only when you worship yourself it is never satisfying. Jesus died for you and it is your choice to understand they we all deserve hell but he has given you and me grace. His unmerited favor. Jesus was real. He was either a liar or lunatic. I challenge to read what he said and find who He is.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        you saying that Jesus "said" anything is mind numbingly stupid!

        the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • humbleme33

          This changes nothing. The Bible was orally transmitted until the second century. The fact is Jesus was real He said he was God. Humans are inherently evil and your heart needs to be changed. That is the truth. I relaize we could at this all day I dont want to win. I want you to win.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Rundvelt

          > This changes nothing.

          The only way this changes nothing is if you didn't bother to read his reply or you're a troll. To summarize, he's pointing out that the bible you are reading could in fact be wrong. I mean, the Gospel of Judas was left out, edited out by an overzealous priest in 180ad. Did God give him permission to edit out that section?

          > The Bible was orally transmitted until the second century.

          Play the game broken telephone. Seriously, play it. I challenge you to pass one message around for a day and not have any changes to the message. Let alone 200 years.

          > The fact is Jesus was real He said he was God.

          So says your bible. But then again, the Quran says Jesus wasn't God. Who shall we believe and how can we determine who is right and who is wrong?

          > Humans are inherently evil and your heart needs to be changed.

          If Humans are inherantly evil, we must have been made inherantly evil. Who's our creator again? And if God created man to be evil, doesn't that mean we can't judge the tree by the quality of the fruit it bears?

          > That is the truth.

          The truth is that you are not willing to think anything ill of your own belief. I will use your post to immunize undecided people to your obviously silly line of thinking. Even if you are a troll, your post serves a valid purpose.

          > I relaize we could at this all day I dont want to win. I want you to win.

          I don't think anyone wins by being gullible and accepting what they're told as fact.

          September 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
        • Sane Maind

          Here doggy doggy... To prove your insanity... You copy and paste werever example The Textual Corruption of the New Testament | Centanium
          centanium.com/2012/06/textual-corruption-of-new-testament/
          Jun 21, 2012 – The King James version of the New Testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the Church of England. This is trivial, I know, but ... There were (and still are) no original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we ...
          SEE WHAT I MEAN...

          September 18, 2013 at 1:11 am |
      • ReligionIsBS

        "Enjoy your trip to "nothingness." Thanks, you'll be going there too!

        "Life has purpose and meaning because He made you." – Proof, or you are lying

        "Everybody worships something." – No, i dont worship anything

        "Only when you worship yourself it is never satisfying." Why would I worship myself? That doesnt even make sense. Im not sure you know what worship means

        "Jesus died for you and it is your choice to understand they we all deserve hell but he has given you and me grace. His unmerited favor." Why am I able to do things your god cannot? Why did he have to kill his son to learn to forgive? I didnt have to do that. Whay an incompetant god you worship

        "Jesus was real." – proof, or you are lying

        "He was either a liar or lunatic." LOL

        " I challenge to read what he said and find who He is." I challenge you to find reason and stop being brainwashed

        September 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

        "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

        "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

        "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

        September 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • Rundvelt

        > Enjoy your trip to "nothingness."

        I won't enjoy it. I'm just not content to lie to myself and believe childish nonsense because reality isn't what I'd want it to be.

        > I use to be you.

        Intelligent and good looking?

        > Life has purpose and meaning because He made you.

        Actually, life has less meaning to an individual if he/she is not able to define it. The concept of being made and having a plan reduces the purpose of anyone's life.

        > Everybody worships something.

        Nope. You only think that because you're not able to consider not woshipping anything.

        > Only when you worship yourself it is never satisfying.

        Yeah, worshipping yourself would be pretty vain and shallow. Almost as vain and shallow as expecting things you created to worship and praise you.

        > Jesus died for you and it is your choice to understand they we all deserve hell but he has given you and me grace.

        Ok, let's review this pile of nonsense.

        The only reason why, at least, in Christianity, that we deserve hell is because God thinks, somehow, that even though I didn't exist, I should be punished for an act by another. Namely Adam and Eve. That's moronic.

        Second of all, it's even more stupid to suggest that this sin, even if it was transferred, could be removed from me by someone else dying. If I'm copable for a sin, then someone else dying has no effect on that.

        Thirdly, you have to consider the fact that God made Adam's mind knowing that he'd fail his test. Who created Adam? God. Who created the serpent? God. Who created the Tree? God. Who put all the balls into play? God.

        Who created sin? God.

        It's silly to argue that the creator of everything isn't the creator of something.

        > His unmerited favor. Jesus was real.

        Not sure what you're saying here, but I'll chalk it up to the normal hero mindset that christians have for Jesus. He's all things good!

        > He was either a liar or lunatic. I challenge to read what he said and find who He is.

        That's not the only possibilities actually.

        1) He could have been mistaken. People of faith make all sorts of mistakes. Look at the guy who sold all his possessions for the end of the world and it didn't happen. He's not a liar or a lunatic. Only a man who thought he was right.

        2) He could have been insane. As you state, he could have been nuts.

        3) He could have been a liar or a con artist. As you state again.

        4) He could have been geniune. Meaning he could have been telling the truth.

        However, you have to prove one of these possibilities, not merely assert that one is the case. I have read the bible several times and I find it unconvincing where once I did. The reason for that is simply... reason.

        September 17, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
        • Sane Maind

          "..... I have read the bible several times a...." Cheap boloney... I challenge you to read it once....

          September 18, 2013 at 1:16 am |
  15. Ted

    CNN, 3 articles about this awful, cheesy con artist televangelist/god fraud seller Rick Warren? Really? Come on, you can come up with more interesting content.

    As for his son's death, sad, sure, but Rick Warren is just one more person and we all experience troubles. Enough already. It's not worth a major blog post.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • humbleme33

      Really conartist? I definitely do not object to you decrying the 3 articles but calling people names shows where humanity lies.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Warren is a snake oil salesman!

        September 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "Really conartist? I definitely do not object to you decrying the 3 articles but calling people names shows where humanity lies."

      Starts by calling someone names, then in the next sentence bashes people who call others names! Welcome to religous stupidity!

      September 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Ted

      Yes, specifically, I said that Rick Warren is an awful, cheesy con artist televangelist/god fraud seller. And I meant it. So get off your high horse and stop supporting his tripe and his money collection that only results in him stuffing his already fat face.

      September 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  16. Sara

    This is more tedious than all the pope stories. At least the pope has some significant influence over maybe a third of Catholicisms 1.2 billion adherents worldwide. And almost every one in the world has heard of him and he regularly speaks on major issues and events. It still boring to see 10 stories in a row, but you can't argue the guy isn't a world player.

    On the other hand, I bet is most Americans have never even heard of Rick Warren unless they live in his part of California or some Texas or Arkansas wasteland where there's nothing to do but watch the religion station. Step outside the US and I imagine you'd have to ask thousands before you met anyone who'd heard of this guy. How does he warrant three stories?

    September 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Ted

      Sara, good comment and I agree. I think you posted it while I was writing the next one.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
      • Sara

        lol...yeah. I think we were mostly able to take one article, but THREE? Really???

        September 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Nothing to see here.

      It is merely yet another publicity vehicle for Piers Morgan's show.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Sane Maind

      Dear Sara...You probably live in the moon, never watch live tv... not even your first black president inauguration... warren pray in that ceremony invited personally by Mr. Obama. And one of the last election debate was in Warren church... Talking about des information... Get a life!!!!! That is way u read 5 think to know about Rick warren first So you don't look like an idiot when you post... Hahahaha

      September 18, 2013 at 1:28 am |
  17. Plop

    "3. Warren is an evangelical.

    That means he falls on the conservative end of the spectrum, theologically."

    Technically all Christians consider themselves "evangelical". It doesn't have anything to do with your political preference or American social customs you choose to embrace.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sara

      I believe the author meant Evangelical, not evangelical.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  18. Bootyfunk

    5. Rick and Kay Warren are extremely active in lots of social justice causes.

    yes, like working to keep same s.ex couples who are in love from getting married. rick warren is a T.U.R.D.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  19. #6

    6Things to know about Pastor Rick

    #6. He is also known as "America's Pastor"

    September 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • #7

      He is a typical So. Cal pastor he doesn't see the need to 'suit it n' boot it'

      Looks like he doesn't sport the flowery shirts anymore though!

      Welcome back Pastor! May those who are in pain, find healing and comfort in Almighty God through your message of hope!

      September 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Lassiter

      If he is known as "America's pastor", no wonder religion in this country is so screwed up.

      September 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    They seem like nice people, but 6. Rick and Kay Warren have built their lives around something that is most likely not real.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    •  

      Godless Vagabond
      Agreed. But if enough people believe it, it sort of takes on a "virtual" realism, at least to the believers. "Literal" realism is different.

      September 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
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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.