April 9, 2007 issue - Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filledâas befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK's invitation, they met in Warren's office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow....
For my part, Theresa, I can never understand why the media, in any of it's myriad forms, tries to meddle with this subject. I have not seen, ever, the conclusion arrived at, that,'The God of the Bible; He is Lord'; nor in any of the 'quests for historical Jesus'; 'We have determined that this Jesus, is the Son of the Living God.'
And the God of the Bible, is the only God that they are referencing. No other God, of any other belief, is taken seriously enough to earnestly search out, except out of curiosity. Could you imagine the shockwave, if the conclusions that I enumerated above, were reached by any form of media?
Regarding the recent articles from Newsweek such as "Is God real"?
God is as real as the earth upon which we stand, which He created. And He loves us more than we could ever imagine, for we are His children.
Was Jesus the Son of God? He was, is, and always will be the Son of God and the Savior for all those who choose to accept Him. His love knows no limits and it will go on for all eternity. His love does not recognize national boundaries or the color of a personâs skin, nor does He recognize political parties or any of the other many ways we divide ourselves. For Jesus loves every single person with a love so amazing and so complete that for over 2,000 years, millions have followed Him and millions more will continue to do so.
Is Jesus the Son of God? There can be only one answer to such a question, and that answer is a resounding and absolute -yes. And no amount of debate will ever change that fact. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and the Savior of our World. He gave His all for us and one day He will return. Be ready.
Howard, Incredible. I actually heard that debate between Bahnsen and the atheist, several years ago. I still have the CD somewhere around here. I picked up his tribute to Van Til, 'Readings and Analysis'. The only problem with that debate, as with this one, (other than the fact that, at this one, we would probably have been better off if we would have had no representation) is that once the opposing side said, 'We are not saying that we can prove there is no God, we are only saying that we don't have sufficient evidence'; what can we really say? All we can do is look all around, and tell him with a sympathetic smile, 'It's everywhere; you just haven't been given eyes to see it.' Then... 'give him a defense for the hope that is in us.' The best that he can do is give us 'natural atheism'; which is just as invalid as the other way around.
I agree with you, Leebird! So that's our Christian scholar for today: Rick Warren! He couldn't argue his way out of a paperbag! He had a chance to shut the mouths of atheists up, but he so dreadfully failed. I would take on Harris in a formal, public debate in a heartbeat - and I do not have a Phd! Where have all the Greg Bahnsen's of the world gone? Now Bahnsen vs. Harris - Harris would be crying "uncle" after the first minute of the debate!
So that's our representation, huh? One man who doesn't know what he's talking about, speaking to another man who doesn't know what he's listening for. Mr. Warren doesn't seem to understand that he is supposed to believe in a religion of revelation; and he is trying to convince a man who doesn't seem to understand that he is essentially saying, 'If I can't perceive Him, He doesn't exist.' I can't even come up with an analogy for this one.
Firstly, How can any man who believes in a God who is spirit convince a man who believes only in the physical and material universe that such a spiritual God exists?
If a man cannot see God's creative handiwork in things physical, how can he be expected to see God himself in that which is spiritual?
"---When I consider--- thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" Psalms 8:3, 4
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." Psalms 14:1
Secondly, I don't think that Rick Warrens arguments were in the least bit convincing.
Thirdly, Rick Warren evidently lumped all religions together in opposition to atheism, saying to Sam Harris, "When there are 96 percent believers in the world?" Should he not have put only Christianity in opposition to it?
Many so-called religions are really only different forms of atheism,
One preacher has made a very insightful observation that Satan loves religion, not atheism, and loves to "join churches". Could it be that in the Purpose Driven Apostasy that Gods will allow Satan to give Atheists a religion they will embrace?
One that allows them of course to keep intact their hatred of the blood, the cross, the Bible (false translations of course will be okay) and especially their hatred of the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are born again of the Holy Spirit and follow Him too.
I'm rooting for the atheist in this debate! I think it would be much easier for an honest atheist who looks at the gospel to come under conviction. They're already realistic enough to look at the world as it is - I don't know who Harris is, but if you look at atheism from Bertrand Russel to Albert Camus, these guys confront the total depravity of man head-on. Someone like Rick Warren has turned his religion into a big financial empire with book sales and stuff. It would be very hard for him to repent and preach the true gospel.