September 17th, 2013
09:59 PM ET

Rick Warren on guns, God and son's tragic death

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

Lake Forest, California (CNN) — In his first interview since his son's suicide in April, famed pastor Rick Warren told CNN that he knew his son, Matthew, had bought a gun, dismissed rumors that Matthew was gay and said he doesn't blame God for the tragedy.

"I have cried every single day since Matthew died," Warren said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN.

"But that - that's actually a good thing. Grief is a good thing. It's the way we get through the transitions of life."

Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, founded Saddleback Church in Southern California in 1980, growing it from a small congregation to a multisite megachurch with some 20,000 weekly worshippers.

Warren is also author of the spiritual self-help guide “The Purpose Driven Life,” one of the best-selling books of all time, with more 36 million copies sold.

But even as the Warrens grew in prominence - attending conferences with presidents and prime ministers - their son Matthew struggled with borderline personality disorder and deep depression, they said during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

The Warrens said they are opening up about their son’s tragic death because they hope to end the stigma of mental illness and save another family from the pain they suffer.

They have slowly returned to the spotlight since grieving in private for five months.

MORE ON CNN: The five things you need to know about Rick Warren

The gun

Matthew Warren visited his parents on the night of April 5, just like so many nights before.

“I had made him dinner,” Kay Warren told CNN. “He laid his head down on the kitchen table and he just said ‘I'm so tired.’ He just said ‘I'm so tired.’”

After a hug from his dad, Matthew left his parents' house and went back to his own. He and his mom began texting, and the conversation veered toward suicide, Kay Warren said.

“I knew it was very desperate. And I also knew he – I knew he had a gun.”

Earlier, Matthew had told his parents he had illegally obtained a gun online - but if they called the police about the gun he would kill himself instantly.

Matthew Warren had tried to legally purchase a gun many times, his family said. Each time he was rebuffed because he had been forcibly admitted to a mental institution, a red flag on a California background check.

“We're grateful that the laws kept Matthew from getting the gun for as long as it did,” Rick Warren said.

When Matthew hit a roadblock buying a gun, he turned to other options.

"He was so desperate to end the pain,” Kay Warren said.

Ten days earlier, Matthew had tried to end his life by overdosing on pills, the Warrens said, one of several suicide attempts in his young life.

Matthew had begged his mother to help him die, Kay Warren said.

“I will do anything to help you live,” she recalls telling him, “but I will not help you take your life.”

The texting between Matthew and Kay Warren went on for hours on the night of April 5.

Then it stopped.

The Warrens headed to Matthew’s house. He did not come to the door. The lights were on, and they decided to leave, worried if they called the police Matthew would make good on his fatal promise.

The next morning they went back to his house. The lights were still on.

This time they called the police.

Rick and Kay Warren stood outside their son’s home sobbing in each others’ arms.

They knew.

A nod from a police officer who inspected Matthew's house confirmed the worst.

“I just hit the ground," Kay Warren said.

God's plan

Matthew had access to mental health care and all the love in the world but not even that could spare him, Rick Warren said.

“If love could have kept my child alive, he'd be alive today, because he was incredibly loved,” the pastor said.

The evangelical Christian said he doesn’t blame God for his son’s death.

“I never questioned my faith in God; I questioned God’s plan,” Rick Warren said. “God isn’t the blame for my son’s death. My son took his life. It was his choice.”

Kay Warren said the family’s faith and community support got them through the past five months. Condolence cards poured in from around the world; 30,000 by Saddleback Church’s count.

In their grief, Rick and Kay Warren said they turned to a familiar source, the Bible.

For Kay Warren, a verse from the New Testament brings comfort, she said. “It says our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory.”

She recites the verse when visiting her son’s grave.

"Matthew's body was broken. That gun broke his body and he was buried in brokenness. But he's going to be raised in glory.”

GALLERY: Rick Warren over the years


The Warrens said they struggle with anger that their son died using an illegally obtained firearm.

Before his death, Matthew told his parents he bought the gun online, but wouldn’t tell them from whom.

Investigators said the serial number was filed off when they recovered it from the scene. So far police have not been able to determine who sold Matthew Warren the gun.

“One of the hard things was forgiving the person who sold him the gun,” Rick Warren said. “Because I didn't want to forgive him.”

But the Warrens said their Christian faith, rooted in the belief that their own sins had been forgiven by Jesus, enabled them to forgive the person who sold the gun to their son.

“I don't want to be tied to that person emotionally for the rest of my life,” Kay Warren said.

Slightly more than half of Americans - 53% - think churches should do more to prevent suicide in America, according to a new poll by LifeWay Research, a Christian company based in Nashville.

Nearly half of evangelicals (48%) say people with serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be cured by Bible study and prayer alone. Sixty percent of Americans overall disagree.

The Warrens said Matthew had access to good health care, but the system sometimes puts obstacles between families and their mentally ill loved ones.

Kay Warren pointed to difficulty families have in getting mentally ill family members help because of laws on patient privacy.

“The right to privacy and that right to autonomy, it's a dance,” she said.
 “I don't have good answers. It's a dance. So we've got to do a better job with that.”

Because the Warrens are conservative Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, rumors circulated about Matthew's sexuality in the days after his death.

The Warrens dismissed those rumors in the CNN interview.

“Well, first, Matthew wasn't gay, " Rick Warren said, "but if he was, we would have loved him unconditionally anyway. It wouldn't have made one difference at all.”

The Warrens said they have tried to stay away from online criticism and the rumors surrounding Matthew’s death so they can focus on his legacy: raising awareness about mental illness.


Asked why they had not prioritized mental illness earlier, the Warrens said that they did not want to thrust their troubled son into the limelight.

“It was his story to tell,” Rick Warren said.

Now telling Matthew’s story falls to his parents.

They want the world to remember a young man who was “funny, quirky, ridiculously silly.”

On his headstone the family put “compassionate warrior.”

They have established the Matthew Warren Fund to honor his memory. Rick Warren said they will wait a year and then hope to use the funds to help those struggling with mental illness and their families.

The Warrens want to spread the word that even though their story had a tragic ending, “There’s hope,” Kay Warren said. “It’s so important that people know, no matter how desperate their despair, there is hope, and not to give up.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Death • Faith • Guns • Leaders • Violence

soundoff (1,411 Responses)
  1. Apple Bush

    I wonder if there is matter in the universe or multi-verse that is so different looking from what our physics allow that we don’t have the faculties to perceive it even exists.

    Following that line of thought, that matter could be right next to us and we don’t know it. That matter may be inside of us as we pass through it.

    I blind worm is not concerned about rainbows.

    September 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  2. Lionly Lamb

    GROW HEMP 4 FUEL – 95% Cleaner than Fossil Fuel / No C02 Emission


    September 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Lionly Lamb


    Why have today’s so-called Cancer Specialists that have been diagnosing cancerous cellular machineries all become taken in by the bio-molecular destructive powers of radiation..?

    Then these Cancer Specialists use Radiologists resorting to their chaotic destruction of simple microbiologic mechanisms all thru their many varied radioactive ways of bombarding the good along with the bad cellular structures with such “pulminating” radioactive destructive power that to bring it to scale within our celestial dimension it would be like trillions of spatial objects with equal earthen mass all bombarding our planetary solar system creating havoc and devastation within its radioactive wake… And still, the cancerous structures build on…

    Our most high tech yet still barbaric means of abating cancerous structures of molecular mechanisms is by radioactively destroying any wrongly built molecularly devised cancer-structured mechanizations that have gone astray should never have ever been used in the first place…

    We should instead utilize nature’s way to molecularly take apart thru time; the cancerous structured cells via the use of cannabinoid oils with varying strengths of THC (psychoactive) and CBD (non-psychoactive)… Hemp oils have been the cures for many sicknesses and ailments for thousands of years and in the 1930s it took one man’s passion to almost obliterate Cannabis from society which brought about our addictiveness upon all manners of petroleum oil based products… All these petroleum based products could all be made from the mighty Cannabis plants…

    In my mind’s eyes, I understand that any product made from crude oil brings about many of many of our illnesses due to the carcinogenic nature of all crude oil based products…

    It takes no rocket scientist to understand the carcinogenic properties of crude oil and it takes a chemist to understand the natural extracts of hemp seed oils could someday soon replace our carcinogenic addictions to crude oil and its harmful effects in our using it to run electric plants for our electrical needs and gas for cars… Any petroleum based fuels made from crude oil has a carcinogenic effect on practically all forms of Life…

    September 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Many of the chemicals in coffee are carcinogenic.

      September 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  4. Hell and destruction are never full

    All the A&A hate is rather a perverse form of pleasure. Per chance a bwain scan is in order.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • doobzz

      Perchance a speech therapist is in order.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      As is the pompous jacka$$es who constantly bloviate what god likes and dislkes

      September 19, 2013 at 4:10 am |
  5. Apple Bush

    Who among you wants to see the light and become an atheist tonight-taaa?

    September 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Hell and destruction are never full

      Did you see the Shulgin link I sent ya?? He's some kind of genius.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Hell and destruction are never full

      Why is a talking donkey hard to believe?? Who prohibits God from messing with the brain chemicals??

      September 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Step forward and believe-a my blessings. I can be trusted because I say so. Bless ya all, new atheists in a brave new world.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    Look man, I am just sick of Christmas. Can we at least try a new holiday?

    September 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • JT

      How 'bout just going back to Winter Solstice before the Christians stole it.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Just think how much nicer the Holidays would be without the holidays.

        September 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          without the "holydays" ?

          September 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  7. Extra Medium

    I am glad that the Warrens did NOT blame the NRA god for the illegal gun

    September 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  8. Lionly Lamb

    With and even without God or any of God's first born sons keeping with their continually ongoing building of celestially contained terrestrial creatures of evolutions abridgement toward humanism are their greatest endeavors known to science... One needs no God to survive but we need an understanding as to godly natures in order to have a social blueprint in order to come to terms and terminologies of just and rightful social behaviors... Sure humanities past natures and their rather subjective natures of godly issues were contemptuous in our now times emanating understandings and godlessness vs. godliness should be the main focusing issues around our societal plates... Real eyes realize real lies...

    September 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    I am a grown man with no time for childish stories about saviors and floods and magical gardens. My kids are grown anyway.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  10. Blind Man

    Prove to me colors exist.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • A person who can see

      What do you mean, colors exist?

      September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
      • Blind Man

        You know, you talk about color all the time, vibrant colors, bold and beautiful colors. Show me the colors.

        September 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • A person who can see

          Hmm.. how can I prove colors to you? You can't see, you are blind!

          September 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • Atheist

          Prove to me God exists.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Christian

          What do you mean prove? As in a picture or FB or twitter account or a CNN interview with Piers Morgan kind of proof?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • AE

          So if a blind man denies the existence of colors, the colors still exist for those who have sight. Right?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • Atheist

          Ah yes, that kind of proof, where I can physically see God!

          September 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • Christian

          hmm.. we can't see God with our physical eyes. You need to open your spiritual eyes, God is a spirit and he is inside those of us who have our spiritual eyes open to feel God's presence.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Come up with something for which God is necessary and sufficient.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • Atheist

          Are you saying that I am like the blind man who can't see colors and in his world colors are nonexistent?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • Christian

          Yes, you got it! That is exactly what it is!!!
          Just like how colors are nonexistent in the world of a blind man, God is nonexistent for an atheist.

          Unless we open our spiritual eyes we will never feel the presence of God in our lives.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • AE

          God is necessary and sufficient for imperfect creatures.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          While it is more than just unfortunate that some cannot see colors, or anything at all, that does not negate the fact that many can and that there are many independent, objective, factual and verifiable exercises and experiments that prove colors exist. The same cannot be said for proving the existence of any god. In fact, there is not a single independent, objective, factual and verifiable bit of evidence for any god.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Christian

          You seem really excited, like you made some sort of point.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Colors have existence and can be described to a blind man, can even be percieved by a blind man with some creative instrumentation. That's an advanatage something that's real has, it's at least not impossible to demonstrate it.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • AmazingG

          1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
          that saved a wretch like me!
          I once was lost, but now am found;
          was blind, but now I see.

          2. 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
          and grace my fears relieved;
          how precious did that grace appear
          the hour I first believed.

          3. Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
          I have already come;
          'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
          and grace will lead me home.

          4. The Lord has promised good to me,
          his word my hope secures;
          he will my shield and portion be,
          as long as life endures.

          5. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
          and mortal life shall cease,
          I shall possess, within the veil,
          a life of joy and peace.

          6. When we've been there ten thousand years,
          bright shining as the sun,
          we've no less days to sing God's praise
          than when we first begun.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • God bless the child...

          Teach me to live, that I may dread
          the grave as little as my bed.
          Teach me to die, that so I may
          rise glorious at the judgment day.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ AGrace

          It's sad that you're convinced you're a wretch that needs to worship a deity so it won't send you to its perpetual crematorium.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • AGrace

          The man who wrote that lyric was a slave trader. The song is about him changing his ways. He really felt he was wretched, but God changed him.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          A blind man can tell that colors exist by simple experimentation. For example, he might carry some possession around that has various colors on it. People who describe it to him will describe it the same way. In fact, with clever questioning, he could tell whether or not certain people were color blind simply going by previously collected data from other individuals.

          The same can't be said of god believers. They disagree so much that it's to the degree we would except for invisible and undetectable things or beings. Colors are detectable by all sorts of instruments, and the study of colors in light led to our understanding of the atom, the electron, and quantum mechanics. God is completely invisible and undetectable and therefore, irrelevant. It is only the various believers that nonbelievers need worry about; nonbelievers never need worry about the god itself.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Obvious'Logic

          * A scientist says earth hurls through space at great speed; to you it seems motionless.

          * A doctor says a mark on your body is cancer; to you it feels harmless.

          * An electrician says a wire is dangerously live; to you it looks dead.

          * A mechanic says your car needs oil immediately; you don’t think it’s necessary.

          * A soldier says an area is sown with land-mines; you can’t see any.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Hell and destruction are never full

      Seen one white light, you've seen em all.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Hell and destruction are never full

      Does a blind man see stars when you whack him on the back of the head??

      September 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Close your eyes, put on a blindfold, whack yourself on the head and get back to us.

        September 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • doobzz

        I have an aluminum bat you can use.

        September 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Oh, ooooohhh, ye ol' bat out of hell rears its ugly head, again.

          September 19, 2013 at 6:33 am |
      • RC

        Now THAT was funny! Still laughing........

        September 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  11. Hell and destruction are never full

    sam stone sayz,
    "AE: that was another bullspit non answer

    if god knows i am going to choose B, and god cannot be wrong, there is no way i can choose A"

    Why do you say that?? Maybe time isn't even what you think it is.

    September 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • doobzz

      Well, we all know you're not as witty as you think you are.

      September 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      logic class tough on you, hell?

      September 19, 2013 at 4:12 am |
  12. Ungodly Discipline

    AE, since you made it a point to say that God can't be proved on a blog, please tell us where god can be proved.

    September 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      In the pudding?

      September 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        That's the kind of proof they are supposed to give back to Caesar...

        September 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • AE

      My point was supposed to be that I really can't prove God exists to someone who doesn't honestly want to know God on this message board.

      I believe if you humbly and honestly seek God He will give you all the evidence you need to do know Him.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        I honestly sought God for nearly 30 years, I prayed daily, read the bible daily and not just the gospels but cover to cover several times in my life. I have prayed likely millions of times and almost always for God's will to be done, so I can only assume, if there is a God, that he wanted me to become an atheist. He apparently showed me through my study and research I thought I was doing for him, that every single organized religion on the planet is a total and absolute lie and are riding on the backs of the poor like the blood drunk harlot from Revelation who will be consumed by the wild beast. Organized religion is a cancer on society. If there is a God he would not be found in any of these Churches and so called holy places and the Christ of the gospels would wreak havoc on the Christian religions of today if he actually returned. He would whip and throw these fake self righteous posers out on their ears and kick over their plates full of the money being extorted from the poor and the uneducated. It's to bad that the Jesus of the bible isn't coming back because I wouldn't mind watching these sycophants get their clocks cleaned.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Some organized religion is as you have described. They will have their clocks cleaned, depart from me you workers of iniquity I never knew you.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
        • AE

          I was an atheist most of my life. I thought the same things about organized religion. I hated it. And then I started to learn about some people that were doing good that were not just another example of religious hypocrisy. I started looking at my own life, and saw where I was hypocritical, self-righteous and full of it – just like I accused other people.

          Today, I am part of a group that is helping the poor. Not riding on their back. And I have seen some amazing things take place that really point to God's helping us.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          @AE – I know there are many good Christians who truly believe their message and do good works based on the good things in the bible. There are also many good Muslims who truly believe their message and do good works based on the good things in the Koran. However, there are also good atheists doing good things for no other reason than they want to help someone and understand that the felling you get from helping others is the reward and worth doing it regardless of some heavenly reward.

          I am not saying all Christians or Muslims or Hindus are bad people. I am saying that every single religion has been used at some point to manipulate, extort and control humans in this sick power struggle over who's invisible fairy is real. This coupled with the fact that you can be a kind, generous, healthy and loving atheist, I see no upside for being religious.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          felling = feeling...

          September 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • AE

          That's why I follow Jesus Christ, and not a religion.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          You are the first person I've ever heard of who sought God for that long without finding him.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Robert Brown

          Hello, I'm doobzz. I sought god in the same way for fifty years. Now you know two.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "You are the first person I've ever heard of who sought God for that long without finding him." I seriously doubt that. I know many atheists who came to their atheism only through an earnest study of the bible.

          I think the old Saturday morning kids PSA's said it best "The More you Know!!!"

          As for AE's cop out that they don't follow religion, they just follow Jesus, is a lame attempt at being superior and does no more to prove the veracity of the bible. In fact all the religions claiming some copyright on truth and Jesus to me show that Jesus isn't really real, for if the Jesus of the bible was watching what things are being done in his name he would be far more furious with organized religion than he was with the temple money changers and merchants. The fact that nothing is done to discredit these completely phony religions using Jesus to fleece their flock further emphasizes the reality that he was not divine and is not coming back.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I know a person who attended church for few years, heard the word preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and fell under conviction. The alter call was given and he went forward burdened with his sin & prayed for forgiveness & salvation. He got up from praying still burdened, it didn't work. Later he told another believer how he was still burdened and lost. The believer asked him if he trusted Christ to do what he promised. The person prayed again trusting the promises Jesus has made & his burdened was lifted. He got up born again praising God & has been a strong Christian for many years.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Doobzz & Just,

          Your experiences are shocking to me. Have you folks heard any good preaching? Read or listened to any good bible teaching or commentary?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Robert Brown

          "Your experiences are shocking to me. Have you folks heard any good preaching? Read or listened to any good bible teaching or commentary?"

          Have you ever considered how condescending and arrogant those questions are to someone who spent fifty years sincerely seeking the Christian god?

          September 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Of course, the fault for not finding god lies with the seeker or the quality of the shamans encountered. We wouldn't dare conclude that what is being sought doesn't actually exist, and those that claim otherwise are mentally ill, liars or both.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          None of you have responded to the crux of my argument, that you do not need to be a Christian to be a good, generous, healthy and well balanced human who loves their fellow humans, has empathy and compassion. All any of you have basically said is "I know some people who experienced Christ and they are still Christian!" and "There are lot's of good Christians!" to which I have agreed. But that isn't the point is it, it's the premise posited by many Christians that somehow we NEED to be Christians to be good people. That is the total lie that is so prevalent on these boards and elsewhere.

          You say many Christians are good, so you should be a Christian. But many atheists are good, so that reasoning is pointless.

          You say only the followers of Christ will have some special place with God. You have yet to prove that there is a God or any experiences after death, so that reasoning is pointless.

          You say the bible is an ancient work of divine scripture that will benefit mankind. The same can be said of half a dozen other ancient writings from the Koran to the Bhagavad Gita, so that reasoning is pointless.

          Until you can PROVE your God and your Bible as truly divine, your good works are no better than anyone else doing good works. I will remain an atheist till that day, and I know you think that day is fast approaching, but let me remind you, first century Christians believed the same, and that was nearly 2000 years ago... i'm not holding my breath. In fact I am out smelling the roses near the beach in beautiful California at this very moment.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Altar calls are feel gud fake. A Baptist pharisee dreamt it up. Funny Finney.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Doobzz, I sincerely apologize for causing you to think that. A lot is lost communicating in just so many written words. I really had no intention to question the sincerity of your search. Just trying, poorly, to understand. I don't think I would have had that much persistence before I gave up. Sorry.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          " Have you folks heard any good preaching? Read or listened to any good bible teaching or commentary?"

          I was raised in a family of ministers and became one myself for more than a decade in Ohio. I have had many a congregant come up to me after one of my sermons telling me I spoke to them and changed their lives and they felt the power of God in the message. I myself have felt that power and believed it to be Gods power. It was not until years later that I found you get the same exact adrenaline rush and physical high just being on stage as I performed on stage and getting an applause and ovation in a local production of Pirates of Penzance.

          The power is from within, not form God. It's chemical and biological.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          All humans are capable of doing good things & bad things. Doing good without God is vanity & vexation of spirit. I don't think you can find the proof you want by that method because you can't know the persons motivation. The people were doing what God told them to do. He didn't accept their doing because their hearts were far from him.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • AE

          To me that sounds like you are describing ego, not God.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Robert Brown

          Thank you. I accept your apology, of course. I appreciate that you respect my journey as sincere and don't dismiss it simply because we disagree.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • Hell and destruction are never full

          Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

          So Paul tried to pay up. Is that a reason to hate him??

          September 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Whoa now. I completely misunderstood. I thought you were saying you sought God for 30 yrs & never found. If you were preaching for 10 you must've at the very least thought you had found God at some point. Or, did you get up & start preaching knowing the whole time you really didn't believe?

          September 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "If you were preaching for 10 you must've at the very least thought you had found God at some point."

          Well of course, though looking back I can recall the moment I thought "this is it, this is the fulfillment of all that I have been taught and have learned" as I was being groomed for service, and I attributed any success I had with God blessing my life. However, after going through a marriage where some in the congregation were telling me I should ask someone about casting out demons from my admittedly moody wife, I got help. Professional help, for my wife and myself, and I went back to school, though by then I had moved to California. What a different air, everything. I think all those in my neighborhood in a suburb of Ohio felt was a sense of predestined finality of a grey and lifeless existence. After leaving those bug infested summers and mud splattered slush of winter, the whining, backbiting, rumor mills of a congregation full of jockeying Saints, all trying to both judge and show charity to the judged, in some sick form of Yahtzee where they keep scores and mark off their required achievements to get to heaven... "did you hear Sam and Ginny just sent $5,000 to the Church fund raiser? They are so generous..." " I agree, though you know Sam works at that Car dealership and sold Wendy a car that broke down the very next day... a total scam" "*shock* "Well I never!"

          No sir, clear skies, beautiful beaches, year round 65-72 degree weather, a wife who loves and appreciates me, an incredible four year old daughter, great neighbors, dozens of humanist friends and co-workers, I am where I was meant to be, I have no doubts.

          September 19, 2013 at 12:49 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          @ Just the Facts

          I have long enjoyed your comments, but my respect for you has grown immensely. First three decades of my life spent in a similar fashion.

          Great post.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:01 am |
        • S-3B Viking

          ...and I feel for the Robert Brown's of the world who can't comprehend that one could be a believer, especially a pastor, and then reject God...there is always got to be some reason (i.e. Satan; you never were a "real" Christian," etc.)...the cognitive dissonance is just too much.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • Answer

        Heaven forbid that anyone should find out that "Thor" is the only god out there.

        What the religious losers want is to keep themselves wrapped up in their mindset that it is jeebus. Dumb freaks.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
      • GodFreeNow

        I believe if you humbly seek anything you will find what you're looking for. That's why we have the scientific method so we can test our ideas and distinguish between what we want to believe and reality.

        Humbly seek reality and you will also find that. Once you do, test it. You will find that it can always be verified.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • AE

          I'm very skeptical minded and have tested my faith in God.

          Not every thing can be proved by "the scientific method". I can't imagine trying to scientifically prove to my girlfriend that I love her. Love is greater than "the scientific method".

          September 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Interesting. How did you test your faith in God without testing God?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • AE

          Faith, defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

          I started putting my faith into God. My life is the test. It has improved.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          But then when fortune reverses on you will that be God testing your faith?

          September 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
        • AE

          I expect trials and difficulties in life. God helps me through them and that helps my faith grow.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm |

        • Nothing grows for the Wicked
          they reap only
          what they sow

          September 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Jesus encourages us to try him, take my yoke upon you & learn of me for I am meek & lowly...

          September 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • GodFreeNow

          @AE, If it's real, you can use the scientific method to test it.

          For example, you could have an agreed upon list of qualifications regarding what love is. You could then test, validate and correct your test based on your findings. You can also test the underpinnings of what love is, and how that chemical mechanism manifests itself in your life.

          I suspect you fear giving up god and embracing reason, because you feel it will strip the color and meaning from life. On the contrary, when I let go of god and embraced reality, it was like my eyes being opened to an amazing, new existence full of possiblity, joy and peace. This is an experience that doesn't rely on mystical imagination or people to make the experience more special for me. It doesn't require faith, and it always returns exactly what I invest. It is complete and whole. How does your god stack up to that?

          September 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • AE

          Love is greater to me than what you describe it as.

          I am not afraid of "giving up god". And I do embrace reason.

          That is great you had a great experience in giving up god. Good for you.

          I still will place my trust and confidence in God. That is an experience that doesn't rely on mystical imagination or people to make the experience more special for me. It requires my faith, which is placing my trust and confidence in someone or something. So instead of placing my faith in what you say, I will place my faith in God.

          God is greater and more gracious than anything you have described. And in my experience, nothing stacks up to that.

          September 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
      • sam stone

        so, AE comes up with the classic you-have-to-believe-in-order-to-believe schtick. brilliant!

        September 19, 2013 at 4:15 am |
    • Jesus toast


      September 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Thought Purification

      you can't go to heaven unless you die, so you can't prove anything; enjoy your life while you can, worry about god later.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      AE only claims to have evidence for his god until you ask for it, then he claims it is a feeling you have to get by wanting god to exist for a while. Then, if you still don't believe like he does, you should want to for a little longer....just want for AE to be right until you feel he is right, and then you'll get that feeling like he does, like he really wants god to exist, and then you'll be too afraid to say that he doesn't exist, and then you'll feel like lying to people and saying that you have evidence for god when you really don't, like he does, now.

      September 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • AE

        Your words, not mine.

        September 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Athy

          Seems to accurately describe you, AE.

          September 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • AE

          Of course you would say that.

          There are 5 or 6 regular posters on here that act hostile toward Christians. And they like to insist they know why and what I believe, hence "your words, not mine".

          Thank God there are some reasonable atheists that post on here. They have paid me compliments in the past. I appreciate that.

          September 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • Brother Maynard

          AE sez:
          " ... there are some reasonable atheists that post on here. They have paid me compliments in the past. I appreciate that."
          God sez
          "... there are some reasonable humans that post on here. They have paid me compliments in the past. I appreciate that."

          September 19, 2013 at 8:24 am |
        • HotAirAce

          So give as your words. And your evidence.

          September 19, 2013 at 8:27 am |
  13. Paul Rainwater

    Religious beliefs should be respected? That's why I started the Monty Python Silly Walk Church of Prosperity, please go to my website and donate and your seed faith donation will come back with a hundredfold return PRAISE JESUS! What these ignorant self righteous religious fanatics fail to understand is the intense psychological and emotional damage they do to their own children in the name of GOD... as this pious buffoon sits there wringing his hands TAKING NO RESPONSIBILITY in his SON'S DEATH (myself being raised in a family with such CHRISTIAN Emotional and psycho babble ABUSIVE telling me I'm a sinner and going to hell repeatedly as a emotionally vulnerable child) take some responsibility for how your boy turned out and why he wanted to kill himself.

    September 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  14. Apple Bush

    Sometimes I stay on the blog too long. When the Christians are engaged in debate, there is no better entertainment though.

    September 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      There are other web sites I stay on too long too though. I won't mention the names.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Sometimes I stay out in the sun too long and your god "Ra" burns my orifices.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Sometimes I leave the strap on too long and pass out.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • RC

        Didn't know wearing a strap-on could make you pass out. Are you sure you got it on right?

        September 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  15. Thought Purification

    why do people think this couple is role model?

    September 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      One tiny hole that is; zero
      Large porous spaces
      Grass and critters. Critters crawling by; Crawling
      Tiny little holes; giant tiny holes
      One narrative of all perception; the position doesn’t change
      You are right there

      September 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • JT

      A lot of people find Abraham a role model, one who was going to slay his son because a voice in his head told him to do so.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Nice right? 3 major religions launched by an infanticidal maniac. Smart Christians.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
  16. Apple Bush

    I have been close to death two times in my life. God did not enter my mind. I just hoped I survived.

    September 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Thought Purification

      People are God and Earth is heaven, if you believe them, enjoy.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Sorry TP. People are human animals and the Earth is a rock in space.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • Thought Purification

          why not see glass half full, not costing you anything extra?

          September 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
        • doobzz

          Costing nothing but your intellect.

          September 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      TP, I see the glass full. I don't know what your issue is.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
  17. Robert Brown

    Do you believe there could be such a thing as God? Do you want to find out?

    September 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No to the first, so no need to answer the second.

      September 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • AE

      I think most people on here are looking for an idol. Or just trying to prove themselves right.

      You really can't prove God exists or God doesn't exist on this message board.

      But you can come here and talk about God. (Or talk about the god that doesn't exist). We're all talking about God here!

      September 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        "You really can't prove God exists or God doesn't exist on this message board."

        AE, where can you prove God exists?

        September 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
        • AE

          If you honestly want to know God, you can seek Him in your life.

          I didn't find God on a message board, but I suppose it is possible. I wish you the best on your search.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          AE, Do you really think that everyone is as needy as you? Your ridiculous presumptions about idols etc. If there were a god, it would be evident. It's not evident. If a god exists it was pre-Big Bang. I know that invalidates all religions and your imaginings, but really – if you had evidence you would provide it, just as you demand evidence for Warren's son's sexuality.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
        • AE

          It is evident that there are 5 to 7 people who post on this site that are looking for something more in their life.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Just checking to see if anyone is actually seeking. I've posted this or something similar a few times. So far no seekers. They either reply as apple did or say that something is possible but definitely not the Christian God.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        "You really can't prove God exists or God doesn't exist on this message board."

        AE, where can you prove God exists??

        September 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • Thought Purification

          in funerals.

          September 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        "Or just trying to prove themselves right."

        What's your goal on this blog then? Does AE stand for another evangelist?

        September 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
        • AE

          I'm here to talk about God.

          AE= After Effects (computer program I use a lot)

          September 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          To do that you need to establish that there is a god. Back to the evidence again.

          September 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
        • RC

          @AE Thought that was the drugs. Or are those side effects. I get so confused......

          September 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Doris

      No, certainly not the Abrahamic God. I suppose if someone claiming to be him called and was in the area, I might check my schedule, but I'm not about to meet up with him at some fast-food joint.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm genuinely curious, Robert, why some people believe there is a God. If there is a God, I'm curious as to whether it might be interested in us and why. If there is a God and it wants to be friends, well, it's welcome to come over for a bit of gumbo and beer.

      September 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Curiosity is a start and yes he would to be your friend & sup with you.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
        • Robert Brown


          September 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
        • sam stone

          if curiousity is a start, robbie, why have you not questioned the existence of god? i suspect you have not questioned the nature of god, either. tell me the truth, robbie, it won't go any further.....you follow what your parents taught you and never looked back, right?

          September 19, 2013 at 4:32 am |
      • Robert Brown

        I think people believe for lots of reasons, the most convincing is a personal experience or experiences that they attribute to God. I think if someone who is interested, seeks God & experiences God, they will have faith.

        September 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • doobzz

      "Do you believe there could be such a thing as God?"

      There might be some other life form or being, but I don't see any evidence of it yet.

      "Do you want to find out?"

      Spent fifty years trying, I'd rather spend the rest of my life enjoying reality.

      September 18, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      Since you have never seriously considered the alternative, robbie, why should we care about your parroting? Come up with some logic and then we can talk.

      September 19, 2013 at 4:22 am |
  18. Apple Bush

    What a dude forced into a Christian lifestyle is really thinking:

    This shaggy dog was prowling the bar and spattin’ out pussy hair like sunflower seeds.
    I have taken that walk with him.
    He never said much…that you could remember anyway. Not much difference in the pour either.

    September 18, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  19. Apple bush

    Double dose,
    shouldn’t ought to do it

    Tell myself I got to have it
    But do I really crave it?

    Gotta have drugs, gonna have drugs

    Is addiction just a brain fuck
    Or a physical attraction

    You wanna get your own junk
    Or find out my reaction

    Gotta have drugs, gonna have drugs

    Man I get ills, I need pills
    I got the paper; call for delivery

    Blow your own mind
    doubt what you find

    Gotta have drugs, gonna have drugs

    Put the bottle down fool, pill popping fuck

    September 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      sam, if you read this, use the style of the "Pixies".

      September 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • sam

        I give it a nine. I can dance to it.

        September 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • Apple Bush


          September 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "Ten days earlier, Matthew had tried to end his life by overdosing on pills, the Warrens said, one of several suicide attempts in his young life."


      September 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • doobzz

        He probably played Grand Theft Auto, too.

        September 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I bet he had a ten speed!

        September 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        not me

        September 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.