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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Vanessa, Alexandra Kerry; Interview With Rick Warren
Aired November 22, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive: John Kerry's daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry, in their first interview since the election.
And then, Reverend Rick Warren. His huge best-seller, "The Purpose-Driven Life," has sold more than 20 million copies through 38 printings, and he's launched a worldwide phenomenon. What is the purpose-driven life? And can non-Christians lead one? Reverend Rick Warren. He'll take your calls, too. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We begin tonight for the first two segments with two of our favorite people, the Kerry sisters. Vanessa is in London. She is the daughter of John Kerry and his first wife, Julia Thorne. She's on leave, by the way, from Harvard Medical School and is a Fulbright scholar in London.
And in New York is Alexandra -- Alex Kerry. Also, the daughter of John and Julia, has a graduate degree from the American Film Institute. She is a filmmaker and actress. We thank them both. This is their first interview since the election.
How tough was it for you? We'll start with Vanessa.
VANESSA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: It was an interesting evening, certainly. And it was sad. But I have to be very honest. I really felt just the greatest sadness for all the people we'd met along the trail, who had given up their hopes, who had given up their prayers, their real desire for change. When you see somebody and you have someone cry on your shoulder and say, "I do not know what I am going to do if your dad does not get elected," it's kind of hard not to think about them as the evening passes, and for everybody who volunteered. It was -- the effort, the time, I think it's just hard that you suddenly go different ways.
KING: Alex, when we had those exit polls that turned out to be wrong, but you saw them in the afternoon. What was that like for you? And then were you up and then down?
ALEXANDRA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: There was a moment of excitement, but I think we have learned from my father, in the sense that you don't -- you hold your breath until the end. So everybody was waiting and really waiting to see what was going to happen with the rest of the votes. My dad was doing satellite up until the last minute through the night. We were doing radio calls. Vanessa did some television. So everyone was really working until the late hours of the night.
KING: Did it feel, Alex, like somewhat of a roller coaster?
A. KERRY: The entire experience? Or just that night?
KING: Just that night.
A. KERRY: Yeah. There was a roller coaster. I mean, the whole campaign had been a roller coaster. I hear my sister laughing in my ear. So she obviously thinks I'm underestimating what happened. I definitely ...
V. KERRY: I'm in agreement with you.
A. KERRY: Yeah, I mean, you know, it's definitely -- you just didn't know what was happening, and it's just one day that you worked so hard for, and I think we concentrated so much on the process of the experience, about reaching out to people and talking to people that it was mostly a surprise that it all comes down to this 24-hour period.
KING: Now, Vanessa, what are you shaking your head about?
V. KERRY: I guess, you know -- is it a roller coaster? It is. It's an incredible experience, though. And I think that you live these great emotions. There are moments of just extraordinary joy. And I remember being in Bloomer, Wisconsin standing on a stage with fireworks going and these huge crowds and just feeling so proud of dad and so proud of what I felt was happening in the country. And then, you know, you have these other moments when you are so tired and you're so exhausted and you are staring at a health econ book, and you know you can't read another sentence. And you are trying to fight for something you believe in, and you're thinking, "I can't take another step, I can't do this." But you want to, and you do, and then you find yourself waking up a week after it's all over saying, "What just happened and where am I and what's next?"
And it's just been an incredible journey and one that I am so thankful for. It was amazing to have this time with my family. I'm actually going to see Andre tonight, which is really nice, and it just -- you -- I just learned not to take a single thing for granted, and I think it just is extraordinary. And I'm so, so proud of my father, my step-mother, my sister, all of us. And of this country for what we created as a country for the number of people who voted.
I mean, it's extraordinary when you look at the numbers who went out to vote, and I think that that gave me a great deal of encouragement and excitement.
KING: Alex, was there a moment when you knew that your dad had lost?
A. KERRY: Not until my uncle came in the next morning and said that he was going to concede. I am not sure how much I slept that night, but I went to bed at 3 a.m., and we were still hopeful. And since the beginning of this campaign, my father and John Edwards said that they were going to count every vote, which they are still doing, out of respect for the people that they made promises to, and so I think we were still going to fight until the last minute.
And Vanessa alluded to this earlier, but they're still fighting. Not, maybe, in the sense of an active campaign for the presidency, but in terms of fighting for people, and I think it's so important.
I mean, I'm in New York right now, which is in an obvious state of mourning, and I think it's so important that people realize that there is hope, and if we move on with that hope and still believe that there's a fight to be had that even though it might not be in the structure of the presidential race, that people still need to respect what they believed in and what we believed in and to please push forward and move on. So there was that losing moment, and of course, the speech, which was incredibly moving. And I think he did such a good job at that, where you -- it spins by you -- I mean, I use film terms because I'm a filmmaker, but it's sort of like this reel of the entire year going through with the voice-over of his speech, and I think that was a very powerful moment. But my dad got up the next day and kept working, and that's what's important, I think.
KING: Vanessa, is there at all a woulda-shoulda-coulda about it? Have you had moments when you said, "Maybe an extra day in Ohio or maybe we should have done this?"
V. KERRY: No. I mean, was the outcome what we wanted? No. But the truth is that I think the most important thing and the place that we have all come to, and I think came to pretty quickly, is that there are a huge number -- there are millions of Americans that gave out the hope and belief in us and fought alongside us and were a part of something incredible. And I think we created something incredible as a Democratic group, as a platform, as an effort to make a change in the country, and I think we did change this country. And I think we will continue to, and I know that my father is not going to stop fighting.
You know, he is back in the Senate now, and he is going to be doing work on health care, and he is going to be doing work for the American people across the board. For him, he is still carrying this story, he is still carrying that hope. We are as a family.
And I think for me, and I think I speak for my sister when I say this, there are so many young people who got involved in this process for the first time, and I think it's important that even if they cast their vote for our father or whoever they cast their vote for, they continue to keep their idealism and their real beliefs that they can be a part of change. Because that's what this is about.
I, for one, am actually still incredibly idealistic, and I still can credibly or very strongly believe that you have to keep fighting for what you believe in, because it's only when you stop that you've truly lost. And I just -- you know, I am looking forward to the next months and even years ahead. I might be doing it through a health policy angle, but that's what's important to me and that's how I keep fighting. And I think we're all going to pick our battles and keep going forward.
KING: Alex, what about the stories about the inner fighting -- "Newsweek" ran that long story about people were saying this and blaming your stepmother, and how do you react to all of that?
A. KERRY: I didn't actually read that article, and it's a hard one for me. I'm not going to -- the campaign is over, and I am now coming back into my own being, in a sense, and representing my own opinions in some sense, but I also feel I am here representing my dad. And I think that the press has a great challenge ahead of them in the next four years, in terms of really looking at how they affect the world and how they speak their truth, and I think that I'm sure there are mistakes that we made on our campaign, but I think it's very important to be responsible to actually what really happens and what didn't happen, and I think it's very dangerous when you start to believe everything you read.
After experiencing something historical, I have now been able to look at -- to juxtapose what goes into print and what one actually experiences, and it was very interesting for me. I think I would second what my sister said earlier about looking at the could'ves and the should'ves in the past, and it's so important not to do that. I mean, philosophically in life it's so important not to do that, and I think in the case of the campaign it's so important not to do that.
Everyone worked together, they worked positively, and they worked for one cause. And I think it was very unified.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with some more moments with Vanessa Kerry and Alexandra Kerry on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, and then Rick Warren, author of the runaway best-seller, "The Purpose- Driven Life." Right back with the Kerry sisters after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We owe so much to our families. They're here with us today. They were with us every single step of the way. They sustained us. They went out on their own and they multiplied our campaign all across this country. No one did this more with grace and with courage and candor that I love than my wife, Teresa. And I thank her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Vanessa Kerry is in London. Alexandra Kerry is in New York. Vanessa, would you want to go through it again? Would you want your dad to try again?
V. KERRY: I have to say, I think despite the outcome, this was the most incredible experience I've had to date in many, many ways. It was a real honor and a real privilege to be a part of this campaign, to meet the people, to hear the stories, to work with everyone. I for one, just to address sort of the last question, we're so proud of everybody on this campaign for how hard they fought, for fighting for what they believe in. And I think that everybody I watched be a part of this, I thought they did extraordinary jobs. And whether it's my family or people involved in this campaign, and I personally would do it again in a heartbeat.
Do I need a rest? Yes. But it was really an incredible experience, and I thank this country, and I thank everybody I worked with for helping to be a part of it.
KING: Alex, were you with your dad when he called President Bush?
A. KERRY: No, I was not. I wasn't with him then.
KING: How did he take it personally when you were together? You know, the first time you saw him the next morning?
A. KERRY: That's a good question. To tell you the truth, it's all a little bit of a blur to me now. He dealt with the whole thing with the most incredible dignity and honor. I don't think I ever would have been able to do that, or imagine such a moment or task, but it's the same person that I saw throughout the entire campaign. And it's so interesting. I think I said this the last time we were on the show, you grow up with someone and you know their strengths, you know their attributes and you know their potential, and I was constantly surprised by this person who is my father, in terms of his leadership and his dignity throughout the process. Not because I didn't expect it, but because he always upped the ante and it was always -- you know, he was getting better and better and better throughout the entire process, and I think that that really, in a way, came together with that incredible sense of leadership and incredible sense of dignity on that final day on November 3rd.
And he just -- I can't say it enough, that he just kept working and that he's still working for the country.
KING: Vanessa, I know that your father had prostate cancer. Your mom, a very private person, completed a course for cancer treatment. Have you spoken to Elizabeth Edwards, and what do you hear?
V. KERRY: I talked to Kate quite a bit in the beginning of all of that, and you know, I certainly try to continue to lend my support. It is never a fun position to be in, and I just -- our prayers are with them, and we will be there fighting alongside them through all this. And I -- if there is ever a woman who has a great deal of strength and a great deal of fight and a great deal of just hope and courage, it is Elizabeth Edwards, and I feel very confident that she is going to come through this with flying colors, and she certainly has all of our thoughts and prayers.
KING: What, Alex, didn't you like about the campaign? You can't like everything. We know you were exhilarated. We know you liked the people. What didn't you like about a presidential political campaign?
A. KERRY: I always get this question, so I should be well- practiced in it. I -- you know, the hours, being removed from your normal life, your friends, having a life at all. It's very grueling. It's very taxing. It's like a constant performance. Not in the sense that you are being someone other than yourself, but that you are constantly on. And for someone who enjoys some private time, that was definitely a challenge for me, personally.
KING: Vanessa, is there any bitterness over some of the things that occurred? There always is in campaigns. The swift boat issue and that kind of thing. Do you bear any lingering anger?
V. KERRY: No. I mean, to be honest, I bear some frustration at the outcome, and sort of, you know, maybe I would say that's it. But there's one lesson I learned from my father through this. And I learned actually a lot -- well, no, not one, I learned a lot of lessons from my father, and we talked about this and I said to him -- I wanted to tell him sort of privately what I had learned just from watching who he was through this process.
But one of the things I learned is that when you fight for something you believe in and you tell the truth and you do your best, you can always hold your head up high and no one can take that away from you. And I think that -- I feel that my father, as my sister said, just fought with the greatest dignity. This whole campaign did. And I -- you know, when you're a part of something you really believe in and you're a part of something that's so much bigger than you -- and it never was about my father, it was never about us. This was always about the American people, and returning hope, and bringing them help, and created a change that really fought for this country.
And I think that, for example, this president said when he won that he wants to really unite this country and bring together all the 53 million that voted -- or the 56 million that voted for my father, you know, along with the 59 who voted for him, and I think I hope he does that, because that's what this was about, about uniting this country and creating a better future.
And I'd like to see that happen, and I think that's a part of what we tried to create. And so for me, when you are a part of something like that, it's hard not to feel proud and to hold your head up high and to look forward and to know that you're going to keep fighting in maybe a different way, but constantly going forward to continue to achieve what you'd hoped for.
KING: Alex, you working on a film now?
A. KERRY: I am. I am. I'm working on a documentary from the campaign, and one of the things that my sister just said -- it made me think about the fact that ultimately in a campaign the goal is to win, but one of the things that I learned was that I never realized that there is very important aspects of the process that you learn about and that you see. I mean, there are 10 million more people who voted in this election, that were ignited, that were motivated, than in previous elections. There are many people that I met along the trail who came up to me and said, "I am a 54-year-old woman. I have never voted in my life. This is my first election."
I can't tell you how many people I met who said that to me, and I think those are very important things to look at where the Democratic Party is right now, who is motivated, how they were motivated, the things that grew out of this experience. And I just wanted to add that on to my sister, and I think ... KING: Well said.
A. KERRY: ... hopefully, you know, the documentary -- I mean, I don't mean this in the sense of serving myself, I'm just saying that some of that story I think is part of my experience, and hopefully will be seen in the film. And I think it's important that people look at that part of the process, also.
KING: When it's all done, you'll come back. We salute you both. Continued good luck and good health.
A. KERRY: Yes. Thank you.
KING: Nice seeing you. Vanessa Kerry in London ...
V. KERRY: Thank you.
KING: Alexandra Kerry in New York.
A. KERRY: Thank you.
KING: We thank them both for this exclusive first interview since the election.
Rick Warren has written one of the hottest books in years. It's "The Purpose-Driven Life." He is next. Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE," Rick Warren.
Long time no see, it's good to have him back. The founding pastor of the Saddle Back Church in California. Author of the number one "New York Times" best seller "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?"
Publisher's Weekly, by the way there you see it's cover, reports that "The Purpose Driven Life," get this, is the best-selling hard cover non-fiction book in American history. It's been translated into 30 languages.
Does that shock you?
REV. RICK WARREN, AUTHOR: Yes. Nobody's more surprised than me, Larry.
KING: What led to writing it?
WARREN: I just think, as I speak with people, there's a fundamental need. It's like, this is the basic question of life. Why am I here? Why am I here?
Actually it comes out in three questions. Existence, why am I alive? It comes out in purpose, what is my purpose? And it comes out in significance, does my life matter?
I think everybody at some point kind of lays their head down on the pillow and goes, what's this all about?
KING: Did it take off right away?
WARREN: Yes, it did. It actually -- we actually pre-sold half a million copies before it hit the market.
KING: Was it originally considered the Christian book sales?
WARREN: Yes, that's a big surprise too, is that -- is I -- you know, I'm a pastor. And so I thought I was writing for church members, Christians, things like that.
This book has enormous cross-over and everybody's reading it.
KING: Like the country hit that becomes pop.
WARREN: Yes, exactly. Like those rock or pop or something like that.
KING: Does that mean that a Jew, a Muslim, an agnostic, an atheist could benefit from this book?
WARREN: If that's the question, sure. Anybody can benefit from it. In fact, the other day, I heard about a story of a lady who was at a little league, she was Jewish and the lady sitting next to her was Muslim. The Jewish lady was reading "Purpose Driven Life," and the other lady next to her said, what are you reading? She said, I'm reading "Purpose Driven Life," She said, I'd like to read it to. She said, well, take mine, I'll get another copy. And I thought, OK, here's a Christian pastor writing a book that a Jewish lady is passing on to a Muslim lady. OK.
KING: It is not, you have said, a how-to book this, right. What is it?
WARREN: Well, it's not self-help. Self-help...
KING: It's lessons, though.
WARREN: It is lessons. It's helpful. The bottom line, if I were to hold up an invention and I were to say, what's the purpose of this? You'd never seen it before. You wouldn't know what its purpose is. The only way you'd know the purpose is to either ask the inventor, who made it, the creator or you read an owner's manual. And I think the same thing's true with us. I think everybody wants to know their purpose in life. If you read most self-help books they fundamentally will say things like, make up your purpose. Figure out your purpose. Look for your purpose. And the big one is, look within. It's kind of like, trust the force, Luke. You know, look within. When I looked within, I didn't like what I saw. You know, I just got confused. The truth is, I didn't create me, so I can't tell me what my purpose is.
KING: How do you know who created you?
WARREN: Well, I believe God created me. KING: You believe that. How do you know it?
WARREN: Well, you know, I have to say that I first accepted it on faith. And then I went through a doubting period where I really doubted, do I really believe in God? And then now, first my own personal relationship, the experiences I've had, and then seeing it happen in literally tens of thousands of other lives.
KING: Why do you believe that God is a Christian God?
Why isn't he a Jimmy God (ph) or Muslim God or Jewish God or just God?
WARREN: Well, the question, the bottom line is this -- every religion is mutually exclusive. The problem today, Larry, is not unbelief. The problem is today everyone wants to believe everything. They want to believe it all. I want to believe in reincarnation and heaven. Those are mutually exclusive things. I want to believe in Elvis, and I want to believe in Jesus, those are mutually exclusive. And the truth is, it is all matter of faith. At some point you have to step.
KING: There's a leap.
WARREN: There is a leap of faith. And I just wish somebody had told me when I was younger that I could have doubts and still believe. This is a big deal. That I didn't have to have all my doubts resolved to believe. I have to say there's a story in the Bible where Jesus is walking down the street, and a guy comes up to him, he's got a daughter who's sick. And Jesus goes -- he goes, I need you to heal my daughter. And Jesus said, do you believe I can heal her? And he goes, I want to believe. Help me with my doubt. And Jesus goes, that's good enough, and he heals his girl. So, to even say to God, OK, God I want to believe. You know what, I've been a pastor now, Larry, for 25 years. There's still things in the bible I can't figure out. I look at them and go, why in the world did God do that? You know, it doesn't make sense.
KING: The question (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Why do you believe that bible, why not that bible or that bible?
WARREN: Well, first, there are historical evidences for the text. The bible itself is the most historically attested book in history. This is true. You can take this in any encyclopedia. For instance, you know, we base a lot of our things -- we read Shakespeare today. Did you know that there's not a single original manuscript of Shakespeare in exist, not one. They're all copies of copies of copies, same thing with Plato, same thing with Socrates. But when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1948, they found that the text that we had been using and the text they found in the Dead Sea Scrolls were a thousand years older, and they were identical. And so I believe in that. I believe it because it's textually -- there's historical records. Like when the bible says there was a Jericho, well, they find it.
KING: Let me get a break, then we'll find out what to do with the "Purpose Driven Life." How you can attain it. We'll be right back with Rick Warren on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Rick Warren, who worked with Billy Graham this weekend.
KING: What did you do?
WARREN: An amazing thing. He's been in the Rose Bowl for four days, about 350,000 people came out to see him.
KING: I had a lovely letter from him. He's a great guy.
WARREN: Oh, he's -- you know, it just shows, Larry, people are still -- there's a hunger for meaning. There's a hunger for meaning in our nation. And I saw people of all religious backgrounds and no religious backgrounds coming, filling that stadium.
KING: What did you do?
WARREN: Well, I just helped behind the scenes. Pretty much just helped behind the scenes. Billy Graham's been a mentor for me for a long time. He's taught me a lot. He would be one of my spiritual fathers. Peter Drucker (ph) is a mentor, and Billy Graham has been a mentor, both of them to me for years.
And I just wanted to be there at this historic time and help him out.
KING: All right, you have -- there are some critics of you.
KING: One accused you of commercializing Christianity. "Time" magazine article quoted fundamental Bible church pastor Dennis Costello (ph) who said, "the purpose-driven ministry is a marketing strategy. We believe the Bible tells us to present the word of God without packaging it for contemporary cultural context."
WARREN: Yeah, yeah.
KING: How do you respond to that?
WARREN: Well, first place, I don't even know this church. I mean, you know, you can find a critic anywhere. But I liked what "The New York Times" said about me. It said, you know, marketers create a message in order to market. Warren creates tools in order to create a message, in order to propel a message. And that's it.
If you talked about getting the message out, I'm going to use every way possible. Because I really do believe that we have a positive message. There's a lot of negativity in the world. I mean, we've been through this election, the nation's divided. And I just think that the positive message that you're not an accident. I don't believe anybody's an accident. I believe that everything on this Earth has a purpose. Every rock, every tree, and every human being. If your heart's beating, you've got a purpose.
Now, there may be accidental parents. OK? But I don't think there are accidental kids. I think that there is a God. And I think that that God even takes into account our mistakes, our errors.
KING: Is he judging you too?
WARREN: Even our sins. God sets the rules. But God also forgives. And that's what the whole good news is about. The good news is that heaven is a perfect place. And that means only perfect people get to go there. Well, I stopped batting 1,000 a long time ago. Like, year one.
KING: That means nobody's there.
WARREN: Nobody's going to make it on their own effort. It's kind of like -- a lot of people think God grades on a curve. That if, you know, your good things on this side, and your bad things -- well, you know, you kind of -- but the truth is, God is perfect. And if you've got the Titanic and you got a criminal and you've got Mother Teresa, they're both going to sink with it, because the Titanic's sinking. And the human predicament is nobody's perfect. Not me, not you, not the pope.
So God sent a savior to be perfect for us. I tell a story of a guy who took his three kids to a carnival for his birthday, took his son and three sons -- three kids. And at every carnival ride, he'd give his son a ticket, and he'd give his three friends a ticket. And he'd go to the next ride, give his son a ticket, give his three friends a ticket.
On about the fourth little ride, he looks down and he sees a fourth hand, a little kid out there he's never seen before. He said, "who are you?" And the guy goes, "I'm your son's new friend." And he said, "this kid said that if I was his friend, his dad would give me a ticket."
And I was actually in China, had a state dinner in Tiananmen Square in Peoples' Hall, and was there with a well-known communist official who has been in the government for over 50 years. And I was telling this story to him. And I said, you know -- he'd told me, he said, he had a brain tumor and he was dying of cancer.
And I said, you know, my father is dying of cancer right now. He's passed away now, he said, but he's not afraid to die, because he knows he's made his sense. He got his ticket. I said, God has a ticket for you, you heavenly father's ticket for you. You can't buy it. You can't earn it. You can't pay for it. The only way you get it is by being a friend of his son. He said, "I want one of those tickets," by the way, he said, "I want one of those tickets." And he became a believer.
KING: Let's talk about the -- are you concerned about the evangelical right, which is very politically motivated?
KING: One example we might give of it, Bob Jones' letter to President Bush after the election. "God has graciously granted America, though she doesn't deserve it, a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ." Isn't that bad for the nation?
WARREN: Yeah, there's a lot of things that are said in the name of Christianity, not just in the past but right now, that I'd like to totally disavow. And I would just say, that's not me.
In the first place, a lot of the people don't understand, there's a difference between the religious right and evangelicals. And between evangelicals and main-line believers and Catholics. In this election, Catholics and evangelicals found that they had a lot more in common than not in common. And a lot of those are the things about, they don't want the society going vulgarized, you know, where it's getting coarser and coarser.
But evangelicals, the word evangelical comes from the Greek word that means good news. That's what it means. So when you hear bad news, that's not really evangelical. Good news is -- it comes from uvengelia (ph), the Greek word means good news.
Evangelicals basically believe three things. They believe the Bible is the word of God. They believe that Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be, that he was the son of God, and that he proved it by being raised from the dead. And they believe that it is our job to spread the good news to other people.
Now, we do not believe in coercion. We do believe in persuasion. And that's why I'm a pastor. In other words, I believe that everybody ought to hear the good news, that your past can be forgiven, God has a purpose for living, and you can have a home in heaven. That's good news.
KING: You believe in sin?
WARREN: Of course I do. I do it all the time.
KING: Is a gay person a sinner?
WARREN: I think a gay person is a sinner just like I'm a sinner. I don't think...
KING: No different from your sin?
WARREN: Oh, I think the worst sin is pride. In fact, the Bible says it. The Bible says that pride is the worst sin. It is, as the Bible says, it's the sin that got Satan kicked out of heaven. It's the sin that caused Nebuchadnezzar to lose his kingdom, and King Herod and a bunch of others. Pride goes before destruction.
Because pride is basically saying, I. I'm in charge. The middle letter of pride is I, and the middle letter of sin is I. And the bottom line is, you know, we've been seeing this stuff about the basketball, you know, all that thing...
KING: I wanted to ask you about that.
WARREN: OK, well, one of the things about that is we're in a narcissistic culture, that basically says, it's all about me. I need to do what I want to do, I want to have what I want to have, I want to be what I want to be. It's very self-centered culture. And that's why I think one of the things about the took that took off, it's kind of a slap in the face, because the first line of the book says, "it's not about you."
Now, I don't know a self-help book in the world that starts with, "it's not about you." But every other book on self-help will basically say, it's all about you. It's all about your needs, your dreams, your desires.
And kids who are acting out like in these brawls and stuff like that, they're just portraying the value of our society, which says, I have to think of me first.
KING: Is organized religion part of the problem?
WARREN: Well, it certainly can be. I think anything organized can get -- at our church, we have disorganized religion. I'm not that organized.
But a lot of things, again, are done in the name of religion...
KING: You're damn right.
WARREN: ... that are not -- have -- don't have anything to do with Jesus Christ. OK? And don't have anything to do with faith, or forgiveness, or all these other things in life.
You know, everybody's life is driven by something. That's why I called this book "The Purpose-Driven Life." Some people are driven by fear. You know people like this. They are driven by the opinions of others. They live for the expectations of their parent, or husband, or boyfriend, or something like that.
Some people are driven by worry. They're driven by guilt. They're driven by shame. Some people are driven by loneliness. And I don't think God wants any of our lives to be driven by these things. I think the bottom line is that we were put on Earth for a purpose.
Part of that purpose is to know God, and then part of that purpose is to help other people.
KING: We're going to take a break and come back, take some calls for Rick Warren. The book, "The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" -- publisher's weekly reports, it's the best-selling hard-cover non-fiction book in American history. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Before we take some calls for Rick Warren, last time he was with us was when Pat Boone was on talking about praying for his grandson.
WARREN: For Ryan Corbin, yes. He's a member of my church.
KING: Give me an update.
WARREN: Actually, Ryan is going to get to come home for Thanksgiving. And I'm happy to announce he'll be home for Christmas too. He's been in a special facility, working on physical therapy. He's making progress. I talked to Pat and Shirley yesterday, actually saw them at the Billy Graham Crusade. And they were giving me an update. And I just would like to thank all of the viewers who said their prayers and sent their wishes and condolences or encouragement, notes, to the Corbins and to the Boones.
KING: Will he ever be all right, all right?
WARREN: You know, I don't know. I don't know, Larry. That's our desire. That's our hope. But again, it goes back to this: There is a purpose in everything. Even behind our pain, there is a purpose. And God's purpose for our life is always greater than the pain we go through.
One of the things that happens is, I don't believe God ever wastes a hurt. That God doesn't create bad. OK? I don't think God created -- caused Ryan's problem at all. I think we live in a fallen world where we make choices, and most of the problems I bring on myself. They're not God's. God didn't cause them.
KING: What about a typhoon?
WARREN: Well, there are natural disasters, there is no doubt about that.
KING: It has to be God, then.
WARREN: Well, God set up the universe that creates both light and dark. I mean, we could have all sunshine, but all sunshine and no rain makes a desert. And so there has to be storms. And so there have to be different things.
And yes, people get hurt. And you know what, I don't know that there's an answer to the why question. That's the one that we all ask. OK? When something happens like a typhoon or a hurricane, why did this happen? Some of those things I think it's kind of like an ant trying to understand the Internet. I don't have the brain capacity to understand why God does the things he does.
KING: Isn't it though a cop-out? To say -- it's easy to say, I believe in God, I firmly believe he is my lord, he is my master, I believe -- and when a typhoon comes out, it's too -- it's beyond me. Well, if that's beyond you, why can you believe in him?
WARREN: Well, I don't think -- that's a great question, by the way. I don't think it's a cop-out to say, I believe that God is in control in that he has also given us free will. The first question I was asked after 9/11 was, OK, where was God? And my answer, where was God when all this happened? He's where he's always been -- and that is in the hearts of the people who were there doing the rescuing, doing the caring. It was a great opportunity. Even good came out of that terrible, terrible tragedy, in that there was heroism, and character grew.
KING: Does it annoy you that the people flying the plane also believed in him?
WARREN: Well, yeah, and obviously, I don't believe in that God. In fact, a lot of times people say...
KING: But they did.
WARREN: Yeah. A lot of times people say to me, well, I don't believe in God. And whenever I hear that, I always have two immediate questions. First, it doesn't shock me. OK? My first question is, OK, tell me the kind of God you don't believe in. Because I may not believe in him either. And they'll say, well, I don't believe in a God who, you know, sins, da da da. And I say, well, I don't either.
Then the second question I ask is, what interests me is not why you don't -- that you don't believe in God, but why you don't believe in God? And I'll often ask -- I was just with a university student from Brazil recently. And he said, I don't believe in God. And I said, OK. You know, that's, you know, we're all basing our life on something.
But let me ask you this. I said, would you have to make changes in your lifestyle if you believed in the God of the Bible that Jewish people and Christians worship, Jehova God? Would you have to make some lifestyle changes? He said, yeah. I said, well, then really the question is not, do you believe in God, but are you willing to make the changes?
KING: Let's take a call. Victoria, British Columbia, for Rick Warren, hello.
CALLER: Hello, good evening. Mr. -- Reverend Warren, I'm enjoying your show. If you live your life in kindness and goodness and in consideration -- I'm an agnostic, by the way, not an atheist, agnostic -- and you know when you're being good and you know when you're being bad, why do you need to recognize a book that I think was written by men thousands of years ago to control? But that's beside the point. I really would like to hear your opinion on...
WARREN: That's a great question. Let me ask you a question. What do you do -- you said you know when you're doing right and you know when you're doing wrong. Is that what you said?
WARREN: OK, let me ask you, what do you do with your guilt when you know you're doing wrong? CALLER: If I really know that -- if I've been really bad to somebody, I will actually try and go back and apologize to them. Unless I'm in a car, of course, which is a little difficult when you get angry with somebody. I try not to judge. But I always -- I like to treat others as I want to be treated myself.
WARREN: Yeah, that's a...
CALLER: I was brought up with my mother...
KING: How about not being judgmental?
WARREN: Yeah. Well, obviously, Jesus said, judge not lest you be judged. And of course, you know, Larry, it's kind of like on a continuum. Let's say Hitler is at a zero, and Mother Teresa is at 100. OK? Where am I going to put myself? OK, I might put myself, OK, I'm at a 20. OK? I'm not as good as some people. In fact, I am certain there are a lot of people who are better than me. You know, more moral, or more kind, more loving than I am. And there are a lot of people who are worse than me, I would say, OK?
But as it goes back to -- I don't believe God grades on a curve. It's like the bottom line is, even Mother Teresa has done things wrong. And so we all need a savior.
KING: All you need is one law, right, do unto others? You don't need another law.
WARREN: Jesus summarized -- this is a good question. Jesus -- a guy came to Jesus one time and said, what's the most important commandment? And he said, OK, I'm going to summarize the whole thing in two sentences. Here's the whole Bible. Old Testament, New Testament. All the law and the prophets, this is cliff notes on the Bible. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
Now, that's it. That's what Jesus said. Which is, OK, first I've got to get to know and love God, and second, I've got to get to know and love other people. If I do that, you've got it made.
KING: Russell Springs -- Russell Springs, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: Yes, first of all, I would just like to say that Rick, you had an outstanding book. And my question to you is, are you going to write another one? And if so, when?
WARREN: $60,000 question.
KING: "Purpose-Driven Life II."
WARREN: I am going to write another book. I'm not going to write it this year. It's actually going to be -- well, this book is on what on Earth are we here for? This next book is going to be on asking -- dealing with the question, what are you doing with what you've been given? Because I believe that we all fundamentally -- everything we have is a gift. I believe, because I believe in God, I believe that everything I have -- my life is a gift.
KING: It's very Eastern philosophy.
WARREN: It's all a gift. And so we're stewards. We're stewards.
And by the way, there's truth in every religion. Christians believe that there's truth in every religion. But we just believe that there's one savior. We believe we can learn truth -- I've learned a lot of truth from different religions. Because they all have a portion of the truth. I just believe there is one savior, Jesus Christ.
KING: We'll be back with more of Rick Warren. The book is "The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" More after this.
KING: We're back with extraordinary, Rick Warren. Toronto, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I would like to ask the reverend if he believes that non-Christians can get into heaven and be with God when they die.
WARREN: My question would be this, who gets to make the rules?
Does god have a right to decide who gets into his place?
And I would say, my opinion really doesn't matter. I would say this, and I would say this humbly. Jesus said this -- he said, I am the way and the truth and the life. And nobody comes to the father except through me. Now, you know what, that's a pretty radical statement when you think about it.
KING: A little pompous too.
WARREN: It is if it's not true. The bottom line is, I'm betting my life on that verse. See this, Larry, is the fundamental issue.
KING: So, what you're saying the jew is not going to heaven?
WARREN: I'm saying nobody's going to heaven, except people who go to heaven God's way. And I don't get to make the rules. I don't go to heaven, you don't go to heaven.
KING: What if John leads a perfect life. He adopts the golden rule all the days of his life. Except he doesn't accept Christ.
WARREN: First, I object to the premise. He can't lead a perfect life.
KING: He leads a 99 percent. Phil, he's a 30 percent life, except he believes in Christ.
WARREN: And I live a 10 percent life.
KING: Phil goes to heaven and John doesn't, under those rules? Bad rule then.
WARREN: The rule is grace. You have to do the almost impossible to go to hell. You have to reject the love of Jesus Christ.
And why would anybody reject that?
KING: Why is it so crowded down there?
WARREN: Why would anybody reject the love of Jesus? He's done everything possible. You saw the Mel Gibson movie. Jesus stretches out his hands out on the cross, I love you this much. It's like, I'm doing everything possible. I'm doing everything possible so that you don't have to go to hell. So that you don't have to depend on your own efforts. Because it is my grace. The message of the evangelical, the message of the bible is not judgment. The message is grace. Is that, I don't deserve it, but I get to go if I trust him.
KING: New Market, Ontario, last call. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Reverend Warren. I just wanted to ask what inspired you to write the book, and how long did it take you to write it?
WARREN: Well, I'd have to say, God and the needs of people inspired me to write the book. It took me about seven months. And between December of 19 -- excuse me 2001 and July of 2002, I spent 12 hours a day in a little room writing. I'd get up at about 4:30 in the morning and work to 5:00 the next day. And I only spoke twice in my church, I did Christmas and Easter, and really focused on the book.
KING: Did you have a publisher?
WARREN: Yes. Yes, I did.
KING: You had that set before?
WARREN: Had it all set. Because I'd written books before. I wrote a book called "The Purpose Driven Church," which was well known among pastors. It sold a million copies.
KING: This one certainly...
WARREN: This went international. Thank you, Larry. You're great.
KING: Rick Warren, the founding pastor, Saddle Back Church, that's in Orange County. Finally, a thought -- our thoughts and prayers with the great Doris Day on the passing of her Terry Melcher. He lost a long battle with cancer on Friday at age 62. He was a force in music since the early 1960s, recording surf rock hits with the Ripcords. Producing the folk rock classics, "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds. And co-writing the Beach Boy's last no. 1 hit, "Cocomo," in the late '80s. He produced TV series for his mom and he oversaw businesses and charities for her, including the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Where donations are being accepted in Terry Melcher's name. Back in a moment to talk about tomorrow night. We'll miss you Terry. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
Tomorrow night, Bill Maher makes his, I guess, semiannual -- he's here twice a year. With his comments on the passing scene. It's always great to see him. Bill Maher, will be with us tomorrow night.
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