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December 4th, 2013
07:20 PM ET

Rick Warren on coping with tragedy: "A lot of people try to make it sound like 'well everything that happens is God's will.' That's nonsense."

On a day which has seen the release of 911 calls placed while the Newtown school shooting was occuring, tonight at 9 "Piers Morgan Live" welcomes Rick Warren, a man all too familiar with the tragedy of losing a child as a result of firearms and mental health, two of the tenets that fueled the massacre on December 14th, 2012.

The well-known American evangelical Christian pastor lost his son to a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an emotional and heartbreaking end to a life defined by internal psychological battles.

Joining Morgan in a primetime interview, Warren reveals the ways in which he walks the complicated line between being spiritual and faithful, versus being blameful and accusatory:

"The first thing that we need to say is that God is grieving, too. Uh, a lot of people try to make it sound like 'well everything that happens is God's will.' That's nonsense. God allows everything, but God does not choose everything," he says, as a live audience listens in. "In a crisis, whether it's a tornado, a hurricane, a shooting or anything - we're either going to run to God, or we're going to run away from God. And probably about half as many do either, OK? Uh, I have found that running away from God doesn't bring comfort. When we look for explanations in the tragedies of life, we never find them."

As part of this evening's conversation, Warren reveals his child's suicide routinely causes him to cry, a daily "sign of strength" that he says has helped solidify his own character:

"The death of my own son has made me more sensitive. It's made me more compassionate," explains the senior pastor of Saddleback Church. "I can tear up pretty easily when I hear about somebody else, uh, going through and so my heart goes out to these people."

Watch the above clip above as Warren talks about the grieving period after tragedy, and for the full interview, tune in to CNN tonight at 9.
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  1. Mister Peebles

    Here's what makes sense: stop believing in fairy tales, antequated allegories, and magical deities.

    Things happen as a matter of cause and effect. No supreme being is directing the show. That means we are better off helping ourselves before deferring to "God", "Allah", "Buddha", etc.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Debbie Dominy

    Please forgo giving Rick Warren anymore sympathy or publicity. It is extremely heartbreaking that his son felt his only recourse was to end his life. To feel as though his life was so unworthy, but he did. And Matthew felt that way – because of his father & mother. Matthew was gay – he WAS NOT "mentally ill" as his 'parents' like to say. He was gay – and they drove him to his grave because of the torment and shame they laid on him, daily. Please do not feel sorry or sympathy for this man and woman – they about as well had been holding the gun to his head, for what they did to him. They made him feel like a nothing, like he was unworthy – and "sick".
    The sick ones? His parents – for not accepting and loving him as he was. Instead of blame, shame and torment, making him believe he was "mentally ill". This story is heartbreaking, but not for the reasons some believe. It's heartbreaking because 2 parents chose to drive their son to his death, rather than loving him with open accepting arms. And they call themselves "Christians"? I call them the biggest hypocrites, and people so full of hate they would disgrace their own sons memory by telling everyone how 'mentally ill' Matthew was.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruno

      Baloney, Matthew wasn't gay. Another sick internet rumor invented by Warren haters.

      December 10, 2013 at 1:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mack

    On two separate interviews with lAdam Lanza's relative and Pastor Rick Warren I believe you have tried to lay the blame of the shootings at the feet of the president which is unconscionable ...put the blame where it's clearly lies on Congress and the NRA which has obstructed every attempt of this president t has tried within the law to do about gun violence and gun control in this country

    December 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mister Peebles

      Spot on. The knuckle dragging and intransigence is profoundly disturbing. It is as if people care more about their firearms than other people.

      December 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daniel

      Spot OFF. Every time somebody crazy gets a gun and shoots up a bunch of people, what do liberals do?

      -Do they try to enact mental health reform? No
      -Do they try to find ways to prosecute criminals for breaking the law? NO
      -Do they investigate the agencies that KNEW of the perpetrator's instability yet did nothing? NO

      Instead what do they do? Run and try to restrict gun access to those who already LAWFULLY have access to them and enact other policies against gun ownership that they KNOWINGLY ADMIT to be INEFFECTIVE.

      December 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Mister Peebles

        Do they try to enact mental health reform? No – We'd like to, but Republicans refuse to fund it. Since the Reagan era mental health facilities have been dramatically cut.

        Do they try to find ways to prosecute criminals for breaking the law? NO – Wrong, Criminals are prosecuted every day. Should straw buyers face jail time? Absolutely. More money is needed for the justice system.

        Do they investigate the agencies that KNEW of the perpetrator's instability yet did nothing? NO Wrong. Privacy laws prevent some doctors and therapists from divulging a patient's information. Republicans being the champion of privacy rights (including NOT registering firearms) you'll have to ask the conservative caucus about this one.

        Finally, have we ever tried uniform national gun control? I think given time, a good policy might work.

        December 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jen

    I watch both your show and Anderson Cooper's show almost every night. I began watching CNN nightly in December of last year, and I so respected the response of both and Anderson Cooper to the Sandy Hook massacre. I am an elementary school teacher in Connecticut and my world as a teacher and caretaker of young children changed forever on December 14th last year. I was incredibly disturbed to learn this morning that the Sandy Hook 911 calls would be released today. I feel strongly that they should NEVER be aired by any news media, not now, not ever. I was furious until Anderson Cooper and his guests discussed the value in releasing the tapes on his show tonight, but they all agreed that the tapes should NOT be aired. Anderson Cooper specifically stated that the tapes would not be aired on his program, and my admiration grew for him with that statement. At the very beginning of your show tonight, without warning for me to mute the TV or change the channel, I heard a desperate voice calling 911 for help at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I turned off the TV immediately and I will not be watching your show anytime soon. I had great respect for your bold fight to keep our children safe in the wake of such a horrific tragedy, but you and your producer clearly lacked the class and sensitivity that Anderson Cooper thought was so important in the journalism world. Shame on you Piers Morgan, shame on you. I can’t believe you actually played a Sandy Hook 911 call on television. You have lost a shocked and appalled, once dedicated viewer.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mark 5

    I am convinced people like Piers Morgan are mentally ill. This pastors son could just have easily killed himself by hanging himself with a rope. To believe that a gun made him do it shows irrational thinking and a disconnect to reality. Morgan needs professional help.

    December 5, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
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