Steven Waldman Interviews Rick Warren

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose of Christmas," spoke with Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman at the offices of our partner, The Wall Street Journal.

Continued from page 5

No I’m not. In fact I’m convinced that that’s what I’m supposed to bring to them. I think when a lot of times we say, “God why don’t you do something about all the suffering in the world” and he’s saying “I’m asking you the same question. Why aren’t you doing something about it? You think I put you on earth just to live for yourself? Do you think I put you on earth just to be a fat cat? You know get all you can, can all you get sit on the can and spoil the rest?”

You know, life is not about the acquisition of things. The greatest things in life are not things. I do struggle. of course. One of the things I wish somebody had taught me is that I could put my faith in Christ, or I could develop my relationship with Christ and still have doubts. I didn’t know that. For a long time, I thought I had to figure out every answer to every question before I stepped across the line and said, I’d like to develop a relationship with God. Well, now I’ve been a pastor for 30years. I’ve been walking with Jesus Christ for over 40 years. And I still have doubts. I mean, I read the Bible and go “whoa, why did God say that? “ If I had been God I wouldn’t have done that.” And, and, you should be glad I’m not God.

Can you give me an example?

Well yea, I mean there’s a lot of times of slaughters in the Bible and rules that don’t seem to make sense and things that just don’t seem to me, to be logical. But on the other hand, there’s a sense of humility in me that says, me trying to understand God is like an ant trying to understand the internet. I don’t have the brain capacity. If I could understand why God does what he does, he wouldn’t be God. I’d be God.

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Mother Teresa, who is thought of as one of the most pious, deeply Christian people who’s lived, had what she called a “dark night of the soul” too. Have you ever had that?

Oh absolutely. All the time.

What do you mean ‘all the time’?

Well I’ve never doubted God. But I’ve doubted why God does certain things. To me, it takes more faith to be an atheist. Sorry, I don’t have enough faith to believe in atheism….

[At this point, the tape lost a brief portion of the interview. In it, Warren says he’s keeping a list of questions for God, one of which was why He made people capable of having babies long before they’re capable of raising them]

What’s the first question [you’d ask God]?

I think my first question would be the question of suffering. I think it’s the unanswerable question. I know why there’s evil in the world. I don’t understand why so much suffering happens to so many innocent people.

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Steven Waldman
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