September 17th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

Rick Warren opens up about son's suicide in exclusive interview

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

Lake Forest, California (CNN) - Rick and Kay Warren stood outside their son's home, sobbing in each other's arms.

They knew.

They had talked Matthew, 27, off the ledge many times. But not this time.

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

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

On April 5, Matthew Warren killed himself with a gun after a lifelong battle with mental illness.

“The day that I had feared might happen one day, since he had been born, and the day that I had prayed would never happen … happened,” Rick Warren told CNN's Piers Morgan in an exclusive interview.

For the first time since Matthew Warren's death on April 5, Rick and Kay Warren are speaking out about his troubled life, how the tragedy changed their faith and their new mission to draw attention to mental illness.

The full interview aired Tuesday night on CNN’s "Piers Morgan Live" at 9 pm ET.

In 1980, Rick and Kay Warren founded Saddleback Church,  now one of the largest in America, in Orange County, California. Twelve years later, Warren published "The Purpose Driven Life," a runaway best-seller that catapulted the pastor into stardom.

At the same time, though, their son Matthew Warren struggled with borderline personality disorder and deep depression for much of his life, the Warrens told CNN.

He had a loving family and access to mental health care, but not even that could spare him, they said.

Matthew was a young man with a "tender heart and tortured mind," Rick Warren said.

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

The Warrens also spoke during the interview about how their son's death has affected their Christian faith.

GALLERY: Rick Warren over the years

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

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

Evangelicals and other Americans appear to disagree, however, about using religion to overcome mental illness, according to the LifeWay poll, which surveyed some 1,000 Americans and was released on Monday.

Nearly half of evangelicals, 48%, say that 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 want to spread the word that even though their story had a tragic ending, “there’s hope,” Kay Warren said during the interview with CNN.

“It’s so important that people know, no matter how desperate their despair, there is hope, and not to give up.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Death

soundoff (1,210 Responses)
  1. MennoKnight

    Quote by Rick Warren:
    “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

    September 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • sam

      Oh no, don't fear or hate them. Just make sure they know over and over how unacceptable their llifestylel is in God's eyes. That won't harm a thing.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • MennoKnight

        Some behaviors are self destructive. It is wrong and unloving to tell somebody who is being self destructive that their behavior is self destructive.
        I don't hate or fear anybody. When I was a young man in high school I was the only Christian in my class of 50 students. I was a jock (hockey, track, ect...) who went onto play NCA College Hockey (worst player on a very good team).
        I was the only guy who was nice to loan g.ay guy in class. I was mocked for it, I was made fun for it, and he was safe around me. I did not condone his "ga.yne.ss" but with me he was safe. When I was around he did not get beat up by the other jocks.
        I was accused of being a "g.ay lover" because I was kind to him (I wished in hind sight I could say I was his friend, but I was still to much an immature teenager to do that).
        Now that mocking did not stick because all the other jocks knew I also would not date any of the girls in high school because I did not want the se.xual temptations and I refused to view po.rn or drink alcohol or do drugs (mainly roids like many of the others were doing). I was a Jesus Freak.

        I am still the same now as I was then, but society now says I am "afraid or hate" gay people because I don't condone the life choice.
        In high school (20 years ago) I was accused of being the "ga.y lover" now I am "hom.oph.obic."
        If anything I am the gentler and kinder than in high school because I care even less what society thinks.

        According to a CBC online article in 2012 gay men make up 4% of society yet they make up 40% of STD's. The same gay man lives on average 8 years less than the average het.eros.ex.ual male.
        Married males who are married to only one woman for life live on average 4 years longer than the average man.

        God's ways protect us from ourselves and from our animalistic nature.

        And hom.ose.xua.lity is just one of many small examples.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • sam

          Great, your response is to come up with ways being gay is supposedly harmful. It's all bullshit.

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

          You have a cussing problem. When you cuss, nobody can have a conversation with you.
          What about the logic that some choices are more harmful than other choices?
          Some choices have greater negative consistences than other choices. That is simply a fact that you are ignoring.

          The guidelines for living in the New Testament increase quality of life. Not following those guidelines decreases your quality of life. That is one logical reason why Christians should not choose a gay lifestyle.

          September 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  2. david greenberg

    Nearly half of evangelicals, 48%, say that people with serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be cured by Bible study and prayer alone.

    who is going to clear these morons of their mental illness?

    September 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I say we "hospitalize" them. Are ya with me?

      September 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • jsd

      Moron like you can be healed too. Jesus loves sinners and morons like you. You are so blinded by being a moron that you refused to believe that God and only God can heal any kind of sickness..

      September 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • doobzz

        "You are so blinded by being a moron that you refused to believe that God and only God can heal any kind of sickness.."

        Have you ever taken medicine of any kind, even aspirin? Ever put a bandage on a cut? Have you been vaccinated for anything?

        Why would you do that if your god and only your god cures illness? Oh, ye of little faith!

        September 17, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • WhatintheWorld

        Spewing insults like a true christard.

        Healing the sickness he created? Causing suffering only to heal it but not in all cases? Why not prevent the sickness in the first place? Is he a sado-masochist? Does he thrive on suffering, anguish and sadness?

        Sorry, not a god worthy of my or anyone's praise.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Shecky

    It's really sad how some of you people are so hateful toward a man of faith who has just tragically lost his son.
    Where is your soul? You people are really cruel and hateful.

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

      He didn't lose his son. His church drove him to suicide. Stick to the facts.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Skeptic Al

        Right. The son was treated with state of the art medicine and some of the world's greatest psychiatrist's available, but the Church's influence was greater than that.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • doobzz

          Keeping mentally ill patients on a medical protocol is notoriously difficult. People tend to think of taking medication to regulate mental illness as akin to taking an antibiotic to cure an infection. In reality, it's more like a diabetic taking insulin to regulate a wonky pancreas. Sometimes you can lessen or go off the medication, but often you can't.

          A father who preaches about a powerful, vengeful overlord and praying illness away to a vulnerable son, especially a father who knows how to manipulate millions of dollars from gullible people, could very well have greater influence than a mere psychiatrist.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "It's really sad how some of you people are so hateful toward a man of faith who has just tragically lost his son."
      If he wanted to grieve in peace, he should have stayed out of the spotlight. He is a divisive man that uses his position as a "man of faith" and his delusion to cause untold harm on society. He deserves every bit of criticism he gets.

      You said, "Where is your soul?"
      What soul are you talking about? The Kia Soul?

      You said, "You people are really cruel and hateful."
      Pointing out how absurd religious beliefs are isn't hate.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  4. Jennifer

    My family has been through exactly the same thing as Pastor Warren's family. We lived in fear for a long time that my sister would take her life, and our fears came to pass. My sister took her life when she was 49 years old. We were not regular church goers, although my sister did turn to religion a few times to help her with her illness. From my considerable experience with bipolar disorder, I can tell you that it has nothing to do with religion or the lack of religion. Reasons 1 through 1000 are mental illness, mental illness, mental illness, mental illness, mental illness, .... It strikes people in all walks of life. Its torture for the person with bipolar and his/her family. Everyone wants to find someone to blame, but blaming others is a function of the mental illness itself, and it only makes the problem worse. We need to stop trying to find an outside force to blame for bipolar disorder and start treating it as a serious illness.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  5. Italmn

    Rick Warren son was struggling with being Gay. That was never going to be something that was acceptable by any means with the Warren Family. All of us here in Southern California knew what was going on with his son. There was allot of talk and hush, hush going on. Too bad he just didn't let his son be who he was instead of shaming him and the ultimate price cost him his life in the end. And they say " I"m A Christian ". That's exactly what is wrong with people today. Religion is used for sacrifice and bloodshed. No matter what or who ! The Muslims are the same way too.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      No, he was struggling with having an azzhat prlck of a father who bullied him into kiIIng himself.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Golem

      It's the Church's fault that Rick's son did what he did and no imaginary man in the sky can change that fact.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Skeptic Al

        FACT: no atheist has ever committed suicide.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • Argh

          Pure nonsense.....

          September 17, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
        • Argh

          Francis Bacon for one, brilliant post modern artist, vocal atheist offed himself...

          September 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
        • GUEST

          My father was an atheist and killed himself. So your point is invalid.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • I've changed

          I believe your little jest may not be understood by certain folks that lack a certain level of critical thinking and a minimal sense of humour.

          September 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  6. prayer

    How's that prayer thing working for ya Ricky?

    September 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Honey

      No matter what you think of his beliefs, to insult a man over the loss of his son is beyond crude and petty and small and sad.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Rex

      I'd say it's working pretty well for him. Probably greatly helped him get through this tragedy that you so callously mock him about.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • Golem

        What it should have done is make him realize that christian churches are a tax free scam and of no use at all to intelligent people with free will as opposed to the mindless sheep who can't think for themselves. It's made Rick a rich man.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Confused

      Wow...no one deserves to lose a child. Not even you.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Roger that

      Low indeed.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Golem

      Thanks for having the guts to say it. The "church" has ruined too many lives as it is.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
      • Honey

        He said it anonymously behind a keyboard on the internet. That's not guts. Also, while I may agree with his sentiment, it is not guts to say it in such a crass, insulting way–especially after a fellow human being, religious or not, just lost his son. It is cowardice and a cheap shot.

        September 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  7. Bill Deacon

    Here doobz. I can't find our thread::

    An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness. Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a "science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics," made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated," The Times of London notes.

    Liberty Counsel Cultural Affairs Analyst Matt Barber raised the warning that such cases will be seen more and more in America, too. "We know that what's happening in Europe and what's happening in Canada offers us a window into the future of what will happen here in the United States," he said. "The hate crimes laws and employment seexual orientation laws such as ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act here in the United States, have been the precursor to the more oppressive hate speech laws," Barber explained. "Make no mistake, those laws we have now for hate crimes and the more present danger with ENDA, these laws are the precursor in the U. S. for the same kind of criminalization of Christianity that's happening in the U. K.," Barber said.
    – See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/barber-gays-want-imprison-christians#sthash.6Y7zwH8J.dpuf

    A sobering Guardian article on March 3, 2003 reports 300,000 mentally ill people to be held in US prisons. The US Bureau of Justice reports that an estimated 16% of the two million prisoners in the US are mentally ill, "often because there is nowhere else for them to go. So serious is the problem that one jail in Los Angeles has become in effect the biggest mental instiitution in the country".

    You do the math.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Do you think that "right wing watch" might be a slightly biased source?
      You'd do better to reference Dawkins' "Gerin Oil" polemic.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        I consider almost any source biased Doc. The fact that it might be biased doesn't mean it isn't accurate. This isn't a scholarly piece. It's a set of sources that substantiate a point. Even if the reporting is false, you should understand that there are people, who most would not consider extremist, who are seeing these same trends.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Do you consider the Times of London or the Guardian biased?

        September 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  8. DMJ


    September 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

      Caps lock off, please.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Old crazy people are funny

      September 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • QS

      This comment is the perfect illustration of why religion should NEVER be used to address mental health issues!

      September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • dmj

        I may not be a computer expert, but I know the bible pretty well, so scroll to dmj and you will see my message back to you

        September 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • QS

          Your reply is irrelevant since many other mentally ill people have also "known the bible".

          September 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
      • dmj

        My mental health doesn't spew hate.

        September 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • dmj

          P.S. And my Lord doesn't either. Just remember as you get ready to take your last breath, reach out and Him for forgiveness and see His miracle. I'm serious... Remember

          September 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • WhatintheWorld

      or, most likely, you are experiencing confirmatory bias where you actively seek out what confirms your preconceived beliefs and filter out all competing, and contradictory, observations.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care


      You know that there are NO prophesies that have been fulfilled right?

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

        Wrong. Read another place I sent them. There are more!

        September 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Golem

      Does the tooth fairy talk to you too?

      September 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  9. Strong Tower

    Hello chuckt,

    For the attacks against Christianity the Anti-Christian can point out anywhere in the scripture where Christ says go kill his name. Instead the Anti-Christian points to followers real and fake followers as the real Christ, however it is like saying the moon does not shine so bright so the sun most be sun must be like that as well even though the moon only reflects a part of the light from the sun as it is with a Christian only reflects Christ and is not Christ himself. Some reflect Christ better than others while others reflect Christ hardly at all.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • WhatintheWorld

      The egomaniacal blood-thirsty tyrant of the OT condoned, in fact, ordered genocide, mass murder and killing. The son reflects this. In fact, given the christard mental gymnastics, the son is the father but in reality they are three. Or one.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  10. david esmay

    Who cares what this POS has to say or thinks about any subject?

    September 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      People who comment on articles about him.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Rex

      Evidently you? You clicked on the story and bothered to post a comment. Just sayin'......

      September 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  11. PJ

    Evangelicals are no better than the Al Quaeda. They would practice the same techniques of justice if they could get away with it. Fortunately in America, they cannot.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • blf83

      Agreed! They are as intolerant and as guilt-giving – and, frankly rarely really forgiving – despite their claims.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics."
      – Robert Heinlein

      September 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Are you talking about hom0oseexuals again Doc?

        September 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Since when has s3xual orientation been a sect, cult or religion or have those of a different s3xual orientation done any of the things in the above quote? How many Hail Marys are you going to do as penance for bearing false witness?

          September 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger group. Although in past it was mostly used to refer to religious groups, it has since expanded and in modern culture can refer to any organization that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          OK, you got me on a technicality. Now, what about the more substantive actions? Seems to me, over several centuries, religion has done all and the LGBT has done none. Go ahead, educate us on how evil the LGBT "sect" is. Authoritative and credible references, hopefully better than what believers provide as evidence for the existence for their god(s), would be greatly appreciated.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          I'm only saying that Doc's statement is accurate. All groups are capable of extremism in support of their ideology. You and he act as if only groups you oppose would stoop to such methods. But the truth is, as Heinlein points out, any group will ultimately use any tactic that elevates it over it's opponent.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Please explain how "Are you talking about hom0oseexuals again Doc?" equates to "I'm only saying that Doc's statement is accurate." Wouldn't it have been simpler and more honest to say "I agree."? But no, you just had to cast aspersions on your favorite whipping boy. Is this part of your overall goal to deflect attention away from the RCC's continued protection of pedophile priests and those covering up criminal activity within the RCC?

          September 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I take silence as an admission of guilt, Billy D.

          September 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • Bobby

      When you make such ludicrous statements, it's very difficult for adults to take you seriously. Regardless of how you feel about evangelicals, do you sincerely believe that they are "no better than the Al Quaeda"? So you think that evangelicals would form a terrorist organization trying to kill those who disagree with them, "if they could get away with it"? So why don't you think they "could get away with it"? No guns or bombs? If you're going to claim that your statement is sensible, I don't care to communicate with you further.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • WhatintheWorld

        I do believe they would kill. They cannot get away with it because, as of now, the government is not overrun with religious kooks. If that ever happens, looking at you all you Rick Santorum lovers, watch out for the evangelical death squads.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Bobby

          OK, since when have al Quaeda and other religious terrorist groups been restrained by the possibility of not being able to "get away with it"? I seem to recall that suicide attacks are what they're really into. So you're claiming that evangelical Christian terrorist organizations would be out there going on suicide missions, committing mass shootings against "infidels" and strapping suicide bombs to themselves, if only they could "get away with it"? That's nonsensical. Keep talking, you just make those who are enemies of Christianity look more and more ridiculous.

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

          Nonsensical? That is what people said prior to Al Qaeda coming on the scene.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          No it isn't

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

      You're a mental case...get back in your bunker.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  12. chuckt

    People want to blame Christianity for casuing bad things to happen. Understand our government even says we are not a Christian society. We move a little closer everyday to getting Christianity outlawed, but society seems to be getting worse. Liberals seem to think they are saving this country by removing Christianity. I guess we can look to these people for some moral compass....Hmmmm what is their source of what's right and wrong? Is there absolute truth in a liberals mind? What do they use to measure truth?

    September 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Steph

      Well, I guess praying didn't help (as it never does). Liberals don't need an ancient text for our moral compass. We use our critical thinking skills and know right from wrong instead of praying and praying for something that's not going to happen.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
      • mandym

        How do you know praying 'never' helps? Is that from personal experience, or just presumption? I am not being mean when I ask you this. I just want to know.

        No worries if you don't want to answer.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • Steph

          Well, this is a perfect example of prayer not working. Don't you think every family who has a sick loved one who they prayed over still remained sick or died?

          It would be a more interesting question to show me where prayer did work.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          o The John Templeton Foundation funded a 10 year, $2.4 million dollar study involving 1,800 cardiac patients to measure the effectiveness of intecessory prayer.
          The patients were broken into three groups. Two were prayed for; the third was not. Half the patients who received the prayers were told that they were being prayed for; half were told that they might or might not receive prayers.
          Analyzing complications in the 30 days after the operations, the researchers found no differences between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not.
          Over the longer term, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
          A 1997 study at the University of New Mexico, involving 40 alcoholics in rehabilitation, found that the men and women who knew they were being prayed for actually fared worse.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • n8r0n

          First of all, intelligent critical thinkers generally know that there isn't an invisible space god listening to you mumble to yourself. Without him, praying is kind of pointless. I'm sorry that for most of the population, whether or not the various religions throughout human history are reality, or mythology, is a difficult question. It's not for me, just as the question of the existence of Santa Claus doesn't tax my reasoning skills.

          If you want something more concrete, social scientists do conduct studies on such things. There is no known correlation, for example, between parents who pray, and their children who recover from diseases (or psychological problems like this).

          Therefore, I would conclude that it doesn't help.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        So because the Bible is wrong and I'm not a liberal I'm doomed? I guess I need to turn myself in then and trust in the benevolence of people like you to take care of me. Whew! That was close

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

        Steph, is "no" ever an appropriate answer? It is not a comforting answer to many I am sure but I do believe the ways and plans of God are beyond our understanding and there may be many reasons he does not respond the way we want.

        September 17, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
        • I've changed

          Has god ever responded-to anything?Be honest...If you cite an example,then you may have to explain how you know his intention,and why it was not,all of a sudden non-mysterious.

          September 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Rett

          I would never presume to know God's intentions beyond what I think the He reveals about his intention in the Bible. There are a few very striking occurences in my life that I am confident were divine intervention....but of course i can not PROVE it was not coincidence any more than someone can prove that it was.

          September 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      What was the "source" of "right and wrong" before Christianity?

      There have been more atrocities committed in the name of God than for any other reason in all of human history.

      Religion has had its time and now that time is over.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • RandyB12

        This "pastors" teachings have contributed to the imprisonment, persecution, and sanctioned murder of gay people in countries like Uganda. There is some karmic balance associated with his son's mental illness and the hatemongering that is so counter to Christ's own ethic of love, sacrifice, and acceptance of "sinners".

        September 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The US government has said from its very inception that America is not a Christian nation.
      (see the preamble to the Treaty of Tripoli)
      Concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
      We instinctively do that which is least painful. Children do that which is least painful to themselves. Maturity comes when we are able to put aside our own immediate comfort and do that which is least painful for the group. Were it not for our ability to reason this out and cooperate, our species would not survive.
      Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this.
      It takes a mighty big stick to beat the selfishness out of us! Historically, it has been a God sized stick capable to inflicting unimaginable devastation in this life and the hereafter.
      Sociological evolution is leading us away from religion not because Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc are negative in and of themselves, but becuase they are necessarily divisive.
      In the 21st century we have numerous examples of irreligious governments running successful societies, like Ja/pan, Switzerland and my home, Canada.
      Some of our elected officials may be religious, but we expect them to act as Humanists, not religionists.
      Ultimately, to survive we must reject tribalism.

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

      There is a big difference between 'removing christianity from this country' and reducing/eliminating the way so called Christians use the law to enforce their Christian, religious belief system on people who do not believe the same way.

      I suppose if I thought I had a god given right to impose my will on others, then I might take affront to any attempt to eliminate that 'right'.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  13. libertyadamson

    My heart goes out to the Warrens.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

      Then how are you going to pump your own blood?

      September 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  14. Carla

    I'm not sure that I know if there is free will in the mentally ill. If your mind is twisted and wounded – how can your will be free? Perhaps the death of his son is a lesson that only he and his wife can learn and come to understand. Perhaps the journey of their son's soul was over. Maybe they will learn deeper spiritual truths beyond what their bible teaches – beyond the box that they have their God in. It's too soon to know what the outcome of this event will come to mean. You don't have to believe in God, the Universe, or spiritual beings for them to exist. You don't have to believe in anything. I wish them comfort and healing and all they need to overcome such a tragedy.

    September 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  15. mandym

    Wow! So much hate toward 'religion'. Please know that Jesus didn't like 'religion' either. In fact, he came on earth to fight the religious because they had it so backwards. He was a radical for his time. He challenged all of the rules and regulations the religious types had put in to place. They didn't get it. They didn't get the simple act of love.

    Regardless of your beliefs, or 'un-beliefs' for all of you atheists out there, let's just look at the simple fact that this man lost his son. His child. His baby. And he and his wife are heartbroken. For once can we all empathize, instead of diving into the typical accusation and mud-slinging that is such an nasty epidemic on the internet. It's so easy to hide behind a computer.
    I mean it is so predictable and sad. Please don't be a conformist. Learn how to love people in spite of their beliefs or actions that YOU as an individual don't like. That is what Jesus did. He didn't hate those who didn't agree with him. I'm not sure where we learned to hate and accuse others, especially in trial, but my goodness it is absolutely INSANE.

    Break the mold! I suggest trying – just once – saying something empathetic and positive instead of caving into the evil of hate and poison spewing. There is so much more to you than that!

    Pastor Warren, my heart aches for you. I lost my uncle to suicide. I experienced first hand how awful, how shocking, suicide is. I can't wait for the day that you are reunited with your son. I am so thankful for God's grace and love. I am so thankful for his forgiveness that ensures that you will see your son again, and that his earthly death was not that last chapter.

    Much love!

    September 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Fish

      Awesome words of wisdom

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


      You said, "I suggest trying – just once – saying something empathetic and positive instead of caving into the evil of hate and poison spewing."
      You, just like a lot of the believers here, confuse pointing out the absurdity of religious beliefs, with hate for the believer. Most often there is no hate. Incredulity at the boundless ignorance, sure, but no hate.

      Rick Warren wasn't interviewed because he was "just a man". There are thousands of people who lose loved ones to suicide and very few get interviewed. Warren was given a platform because he is considered a religious authority. He elected to seek the spotlight. In his capacity as that religious authority, and based on his delusional beliefs, he's done grave harm to society. He doesn't deserve, nor will he get a pass for his delusional beliefs, just because he lost a child.

      If he wanted to grieve in peace, he should have stayed home.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Atheist FOREVER

      Jesus was a man, and nothing more. No matter how much wisdom or kindness he may have shown, he was just a man, just like you and I. Nothing more. Christianity is nothing more than one of the last remaining practiced forms of mythology. It is for the weak minded who refuse or are incapable of owning their own life, taking responsibility for themselves. They would instead prefer to "pawn off" that responsibility on invisible spirits, and to blame the hardships on life on "the devil".

      September 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  16. Ian

    Praying is dangerous for the people who turn to the metaphysical to fix real problems. Also, it's a good thing that it DOESN'T work because the terrorists that many Americans are praying to die are praying for those same Americans to die!

    September 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • mason

      Harvard Medical School study shows prayer not effective, no prayer best

      September 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm |

      Godless Vagabond
      So those prayers are offsetting. That could explain why they don't work.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  17. Danko Ramone

    "Nearly half of evangelicals, 48%, say that people with serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can be cured by Bible study and prayer alone."

    THAT is absolutely terrifying, and on par with Scientology.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  18. Lenny Pincus

    Half of evangelicals think you can pray mental illness away?

    September 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Hate this Imbecile

      So the Jesus Freak could not "pray" his son cured? What sort of eediot thinks that way. Like Billy Graham was working for the bad guys, so is this buffoon.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
      • Alex

        to: "Hate this Imbecile"

        Oh please. Your opinion is as important as the fart I just produced. You hate yourself, that's why you're so angry at everything. You are so silly and insignificant, that I'm going to skip dinner tonight to punish myself for wasting time on commenting.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • johnh1625

        Nice. Are you even human?

        September 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • Honey

        Grow up.

        He DID seek medical help for his son. In fact, that's his whole point is trying to do away with the stigma of mental illness and encouraging people to pray, yes, but to do so ALONGSIDE seeking medical help.

        I don't agree with the man's religious beliefs, but make sure you actually understand his position and the story before blindly insulting him and his loss as a human being, religious or not, just because of that belief.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • chuckt

      Sorry Lenny, but your argument doesnt hold water. Prayer is the start and by your calculation then every evangelical christian thinks they can run in traffic and not get hit. Our life here is short compared to eternity. Beliveing is your choice and not God's. Rick and his wife are hurting and yes I'm sure they are screaming out to God why. Too bad this article makes it look like Rick is turning his back on God. That's not the case at all. Everyone wants to see a crash so they can say "See I told you so".

      September 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ian

      I would guess more than that!

      September 17, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  19. Jeanne

    I'm as far as one can get philosophically, from the Warrens,but we do share something. Twenty years ago, my talented, handsome son committed suicide after having tried several times-once with a bullet in chest that he barely survived.Other guys openly admired and wanted to be like him, he was always the center of the crowd.Women wanted to be with him. An outstanding athlete,he had a brilliant record in a chosen profession & a bright future in a new one just begun. But there WAS no Hope. Even when one sees all the signs & understands& does all they can do, When they have tried every possible way for years (He did receive therapy/counseling etc after the initial attempt with a gun.) and then you hear from that person that they are going to kill themselves-you have No Hope.Everyone around him tried-all those who loved him tried.You cannot have an adult committed against their will UNTIL they have done something. On a beautiful sunny day in the fall, 20 years ago, he opened the trunk of his car and showed me a new gun he had bought.When I saw it I knew.When he said "I wont make the same mistake twice", his friends knew.We enlisted a psychiatrist an MD, friends who had experience in mental illness/crisis treatment to no avail.He didn't drink, never used drugs & in fact, the proposed use of drugs to alleviate the deep depression was a huge stumbling block.He would'nt even try them.Period.He wanted.l.A statement made by one friend "I'm going to call the police" elicited the reply, "Then they will do it for me."To this day, we, all of us, who knew & loved him, go over every conversation, every action& still-No Answer. His reason? "There's too much pain.I cant stand it anymore"One person in an effort to do something,anything did call the police.So, every anniversary of his death, & many times in between,we remember also, that we were not the only ones who lost a loved one that day & parts of all of us went with him forever. I'm not at all religious, but I will never condemn or scorn anyone for finding a way that allows them to still exist after this happens.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Madtown

      Sorry Jeanne. Hope you are at peace, or are heading in that direction.

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

      Sorry Jeanne. And thanks for sharing.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:02 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.