CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Rick Warren

Aired December 29, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, finding faith and purpose this holiday season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR RICK WARREN, EVANGELICAL PASTOR AND AUTHOR: Well there's so much bad news in the world we need good news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: America's pastor, Rick Warren, joins me for the extraordinary hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: People say well I fell out of love. Well that's your choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Pastor Warren talks religion, reason and what America needs now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: The good life isn't good enough. What you need is the better life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: From the election and economy to same sex marriage and more and the issues that really matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: Why do we have to change the Constitution? It's a flawed document. It was made my men.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: What does God mean to you? This is "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." Good evening and happy holidays. And welcome to this special "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT," Joining me, one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world. He's Rick Warren and he's America's pastor. And tonight we're going to talk about faith, family, politics, sins, the questions of the church and state and much, much more. Pastor Warren is the author of the best-selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life." And I welcome him back. Welcome to you, Rick.

WARREN: Thank you, Piers. It's good to be with you.

MORGAN: what is the purpose of Christmas?

WARREN: Well the angels and the story of the first Christmas said three things. And those three statements say the three purposes of Christmas. They are celebration, salvation and reconciliation. The first thing the angel said was I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all people.

By the way, Christmas isn't for just Christians. It says it's for all people, good news of great joy. It's a time to party. And I love it that in the Northern Hemisphere Christmas comes at the darkest part of the year, kind of brightens up everything, lightens everything. It's there's so much bad news in the world we need good news. So the first purpose is celebration. I bring you good news of great joy. It's legitimate to have parties.

Then it says for unto you is born this day a savior who is Christ the Lord. And we all need saving, saving from our sins, saving from ourselves, saving from our weaknesses, but there's a lot of other salvations too. A lot of people need to be saved out of their finances. They need a financial salvation, or they need a relational salvation or they need a physical salvation from an illness, something like that. So it's a time to really look to God for salvation.

And then the third it says, you will have peace on earth, good will toward men. That's the reconciliation. And you know as well as I do that a lot of times people go home for holidays it's anything but reconciliation, and a lot of bad relationships. It's a time for forgiveness. It's a time for reconciliation, a time to restore harmony. So I tell people. I say have fun. Look to God and get right with your friends and neighbors.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: That's the purpose of Christmas.

MORGAN: It's interesting you said it's hope to everybody.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: It's a misconception I think that it's only for Christians.

WARREN: Well it says for all people. In fact, this Christmas my message is actually called For All People. When I started Saddleback Church, we were a lily white, Angelo suburban church in 1980. I started it. Today our church speaks 67 languages.

MORGAN: Really. WARREN: Yes. We are literally united nations.

MORGAN: And do you get people from all religions?

WARREN: oh, of course, every background, every religion, every race. It literally is Heinz 57 variety.

MORGAN: How do you tally then the Christian -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - scriptures and teaching -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - with say a Muslim, -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - or a Jew or whoever it may be?

WARREN: Well we're an overtly Christian church. We're an evangelical church. I believe Jesus is who he said he was, the son of God, but we welcome all people of all persuasions and we say check us out. When Jesus went out to start his ministry the very first phrase he said, he's walking along on the Jordan River and John the Baptist has a couple of guys following him . And he says there goes the Lamb of God. And he says, go follow him.

And Andrew and John asked the very first public question of Jesus. They said where are you going, Lord? And here are Jesus' first words. Come and see. That's about as little of a commitment as you can ask. Just check us out. So we say to people, you don't have to sing anything, sign anything, sacrifice anything. Just check us out.

MORGAN: America is going through a slight down drop, if you like, in attendance in churches. One in five of the U.S. public are now religiously unaffiliated. One in three of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, a more worrying statistic I would think.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: Now to put it in perspective, still way ahead of most other countries, certainly in the Western world, in Britain for example be far worse statistics than that. So America remains a very religious country. But why do you think it's on decline?

WARREN: Well I think there are three different factors. One factor is the actual number of atheists in the country has pretty much remained the same since 1950, but they're simply more vocal. And that is true.

Second, some of the surveys out there that are asking questions are asking the wrong questions. I think there was a Pew survey that said about, asked a question about Protestantism. And then there was a big article, in fact it was the cover of Newsweek Magazine said the decline and fall of Christian America. And it said Protestants in America have dropped precipitously.

Well, of course they have. I don't know a single person who calls themselves Protestant.

MORGAN: Right, there yes.

WARREN: Yes. And so sometimes the question may be wrong, but I think also I think during the last decade the term evangelical became not a theological term but a political term. And a lot of people were turned off by the politics. And they say well everyone knew that President George Bush was an "evangelical," so oh then you must be in favor of the Gulf War. Or you must be in favor of this.

And so it got co-opted as a political term. And anytime you do that you're going to have divisions.

MORGAN: But that is why - and I think the separation of church and state is so important because George Bush when he was president certainly used his faith and evangelical adherence to almost turn the conflict in Iraq and then Afghanistan into a kind of holy war. And I thought that was a very dangerous thing for an American president to do and reinforce why I believe you've got to separate church and state.

WARREN: Yes. Well I think you're right in that, but let me give a counterpoint. He also used his faith to authorize the greatest single health bill in history to for people with AIDs. PEPFAR, which was the president's emergency plan for AIDs relief was a $15 billion bill. In the last 10 years I've been in 165 countries, and I have people who say my husband is alive because of President Bush. He literally saved hundreds of thousands of people.

MORGAN: I'm a Catholic. And my big issue with Catholicism, for example, - I've got issues with religion. And I'm not the most devout Catholic you'll ever meet, but I was raised as a pretty devout Catholic. I can't equate what the Pope says, for example, about contraception, particularly condoms in Africa. I can't see how it doesn't cost millions of lives to not be able to say, as the Pope, the Holy Father, where there are so many Catholics in Africa, look, there are two uses for condoms. One is for the prevention of conception.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: And the other is prevention of disease. And If you're using it if for prevention of disease, then I endorse it.

WARREN: Well I would side with you on that. I'm not a Catholic. I do defend the right of Catholics to believe what they want to believe. And what I have found in our working with people around the world to for instance reduce AIDs, and my wife and I have -

MORGAN: Because you campaign a lot on AIDs.

WARREN: Oh yes. My wife and I have a foundation called Acts of Mercy, which has given millions of dollars to people with HIV/AIDs. And what we do is we work with people as far as they can go. I don't have a problem with contraceptives, but I'll work with Catholics to stop aids as far as they can go. I'll work with gays as far as they can go. I'll work with anybody as far as they can go.

So I don't insist that they change their fundamental view in order to say where do we have common ground? So I may not agree pretty good on that issue. I am an evangelical. I don't have a problem with contraception, but I do believe that those have a view, for instance of a Jewish person who says we don't eat pork, fine. I support you in your conviction. Don't eat pork. And I don't think you should be forced to eat pork or even sell it.

MORGAN: But you see you're one of those evangelicals I would say that where you use pretty moderate language when you discuss these kind of things and you appear to be more tolerant, although I will come to some of the things you said to me in our previous interview and set you up on them to challenge that a bit, but certainly when you talk to somebody like Joel Osteen, who I like very much and respect very much, but he will start talking about, sin and sinners and all the rest of it.

We're in a modern age where if you start to use that kind of language you brand sections of the community sinners because you believe that's what the Bible has told you to say. You are demonizing these people. And I find that hard to deal with, by all means don't agree. Everyone is entitled to their view. I don't like the demonizing.

WARREN: Yes. Well I happen to as I read scripture our sin is real. There's no doubt about it. And I believe that everyone has sin in their lives, but I believe the scripture tells me to focus on my own sin and to focus on loving you. A lot of times we get that reversed. I'm always focused on your sin and loving myself. And so I find myself -

MORGAN: If you were focused on my sin you would be a lot older looking than you are. In fact I don't entirely believe that.

WARREN: Well I have a harder on - I have a harder time with myself. Years ago the "London Times" did a survey, a contest. And they said write an essay on what's wrong with the world. G. K. Chesterton famously wrote that letter which just had two words on it, "I am."

MORGAN: Yes.

WARREN: and so when I wrote the book, "Purpose Driven Life," the first sentence of it is it's not about you. I actually was trying to think of the most counterculture statement I could think of because everything in our culture teaches us it's all about you. Every advertisement says we do it all for you. It's all about you. And it was almost like kind of a little slap in the face that said it's not about you.

And 2hat was interesting is when I wrote that I had no idea how many times I personally was going to be tested on that sentence for the rest of my life. Sometimes I have to say that five, ten times a day. If I get criticized I say it's not about you, if I get praised, it's not about you, if I have a major problem, or a delay or a [very], it's not about you. I just have to say it over, and over and over.

MORGAN: Do you like the extraordinary position of responsibility you now have for yourself?

WARREN: I don't say that I like it, but I try to use it. And actually I try to use it. It's what I call the stewardship of affluence and the stewardship of influence. When I wrote this book, "Purpose Driven Life," and it became the best-selling book in American history, and it became the most translated book in the world, 137 languages after the Bible, that brought an enormous amount of money and an enormous amount of attention.

Honestly, Piers, it scared me. It scared me because I didn't' want to be a celebrity. It's why I never put our services on television. I didn't want to be a celebrity. And so I had to start praying about the stewardship of affluence and the stewardship of influence.

When you write the best-selling book in American history it's tens of millions of dollars. I could have gone and bought an Island -

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: - and retired and had people serve me iced tea with little umbrellas in it the rest of my life, but when you write a book and the first sentence is It's not about you, you have got to figure the money is not for you. That was actually the easy part, giving it away. The harder part was what you're talking about. What do you do with the - not the affluence, but the influence?

And one day I found a passage in the Bible that changed my life. It's Psalm 72. It's written by Solomon, the son of David. Solomon was at this time the wisest man in the world, the wealthiest man, the King of Israel at its apex of power. And in that passage he says, God, I want you to make me famous.

It sounds like the most self-centered prayer you can imagine. I want you to give me influence, give me power, give me - spread the fame of my name to every country, until you read the motivation behind it. And in it he says so that the king may support the widow and orphan, defend the defenseless, release the depressed and prisoners. Today he'd talk about all the margin. See he says care for the immigrant.

And out of that passage it came to me the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. The reason I've been silent in the media most of the last four years, I was overseas in little villages nobody ever heard of. And I was literally trying to help people who nobody ever heard of. The purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no Influence.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I want to come back and talk to about sex and marriage, -

WARREN: Okay.

MORGAN: - sin and how many lustful thoughts you have on an hourly basis.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN: All married problems come down to one of five areas, money, sex, in-laws, communication and children, When Kay and I got married we went five for five in the first month.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: And it our marriage was down, dooby doo, down, down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Pastor Rick Warren talking about something many married couples can relate to. He joins me again. So I sort of worked out the permutations in which they were money, sex, in-laws, communication and children, -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - all to go down in the same month.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: It seems pretty dramatic.

WARREN: Well a Gallup poll shows that the number one cause of divorce is money. And of course, during this last four or five years in economic recession as a pastor I've had to deal with a lot of marriages under enormous stress when either one or both are out of work. It puts additional stress on everybody.

MORGAN: It really does, doesn't it, I think more than anything because people lose their sense of purpose if they haven't got a job, for example, their sense of identity, -

WARREN: [We truth starts in it].

MORGAN: - their sense of self-worth, all those things, their pride. There's nothing worse than being unemployed in terms of your pride.

WARREN: One of the things I try to teach people is that your value has nothing to do with your valuables, that your self-worth has nothing to do with your net worth, and that the greatest things in life aren't things. They're not things. And when we - well anything we put in our lives before God actually becomes an idol. And it could be a good thing, but it also creates enormous insecurity.

How do you know when there's something in your life that's not God that's number one in your life. There's a symbol. It's worry. Worry - worry says, I'm assuming responsibility God never intended me to have.

MORGAN: When you see Americans rushing out in their millions to play the lottery, the Powerball, whatever it may be, desperate to try to win an amount of money that would change their lives, -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: Is it healthy?

WARREN: Well, no, it's not healthy. And the book of Proverbs multiple says that it is foolish to try to do get rich quick schemes. And that's really what Vegas is all about, get rich quick, or Powerball or anything like that.

MORGAN: But if somebody wins a lot of money, say they win a quarter of a billion dollars or something, -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - and they then devote a large chunk of that to helping needy people, people less fortunate than themselves, does that balance it out?

WARREN: Well the studies show no, it doesn't. The studies show that people who actually win the lottery it doesn't really usually change their life for the better because you still have the same problems that you had all along. And money can't solve those problems.

What money does, money gives us opportunity. So if I have more money I've got more opportunity. That's a good thing. I'm not against people - I want people to prosper. But it's not the end all that - what we think we want is the good life. And the good life is looking good, feeling good, and having the goods.

The problem is I've talked to a lot of people and my church is filled with people who have those three things. They're white collar workers. And they look good, they feel good, they have the goods. And a lot of books have come out recently and said if I'm so successful why do I feel like a fake? And the reason is because the good life isn't good enough. What you need is the better life. And I think that's what Jesus offers.

And when I was a little kid, my parents served me strained spinach. Now I thought that was really tasty. Today, I think parents should be in prison for child abuse for serving that because it's pretty nasty stuff, but I thought strained spinach was really good until when I got a little bit older they fed me Chef Boyardee SpaghettiOs. And I thought now we've hit the good time. And I thought Chef Boyardee was great until I discovered as a teenager, In-N-Out Burger.

Now I often tell people you're living a good life. And but If there was a better life, wouldn't you want to know about it? See I'm not one of those pastors or preachers who say I'm trying to scare you out of hell and into heaven. I say you need the Lord in your life, not because you're going to die tonight, but because you've got to live tomorrow. You've got to life tomorrow. And you need not the better life. You need the good life. You need the better life.

MORGAN: You and your wife, Kay, have been married 37 years, very long and successful marriage.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: Have you had big problems in that marriage if you're honest?

WARREN: Oh absolutely. In fact our problems actually started on the honeymoon. And we had a very unusual courtship. I took my wife out on our first date and eight days later we were engaged, before we even had a second date. And then at the end of that, and we were going to college together. At the end of that year, she moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work at an inner city African-American church. I moved to Nagasaki, Japan to teach English. Our entire courtship we were apart. It was by letters.

So when we actually got married it was like we knew we were in love with each other and we felt like God had put us together, but it was like, and who are you? And my wife and I are the exact opposite in every detail of our DNA except our commitment to each other and the Lord. And the thing that made us last is we closed the escape hatch, locked the key, and threw it away said divorce is not an option for us. We're going to make this thing work if it kills us. And there were times it nearly did.

At one point I ended up in the hospital from depression over our marriage problems. Kay thought she was having a nervous breakdown. And we went to a counselor, a Christian counselor. At that time, I was working at a college and I was making $800 a month and my counseling bill was $100 a week. We racked up a $1,500 counseling bill. And I look back now and say was it worth it?

Are you kidding me? I'd pay $1 million for what I've got today. My wife's my best friend. I know some very famous people, but I'd rather spend time with my wife than anybody else. I've often thought I should do a commercial called MasterCard, priceless, saved my marriage, priceless.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: So when people tell me and say I can't afford marriage counseling, I say well you can't afford not. How much is your marriage worth?

MORGAN: Do people give up on marriage too early these days?

WARREN: I think so. And they -

MORGAN: they don't fight enough for It.

WARREN: Well and then the problem is you're an imperfect person. And you're going to marry an imperfect person, and so two imperfect people cannot create a perfect relationship. What happens is we often people, our mate, to fulfill in us in our lives something that only God can fulfill. And you're going to be disappointed. No person could possibly meet all your needs.

MORGAN: But what happens if you marry quite young? Say you're in your early 20s. And everyone knows you change a lot in the next decade.

WARREN: Of course you do.

MORGAN: And you get to your mid 30s and you think I don't want to spend the rest of my life with somebody that I'm -

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: - completely incompatible with, -

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: - I'm not in love with.

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: What do you do?

WARREN: Well first thing let me say before people get married opposites attract, okay? It's what makes you interesting is you're different from that person.

MORGAN: if you know in your heart it's just dead.

WARREN: Well before you get married opposites attract. After you get married opposites attack. And the very thing that interested you now becomes an irritation. And about six months into the marriage, all the things you thought were really cool you're now going can't you be a little bit more like me?

Now, here are the things that I've learned. Love is a choice. It is a choice. You love who you choose to love. And so when people say I fell in love, they make it sound like it's falling in a ditch, like I had no control over it. You had no control over attraction. You do have control over choice.

And so once you've chosen, people say well I fell out of the love. Well that's your choice. That's your choice. You can choose to work on it. And here's what I notice, Piers. The greater the differences in a marriage, the more powerful the marriage becomes if they will work at it. The very thing that drives you apart, if you'll work on it, you will learn the most from that person they will learn that from you.

MORGAN: Hold that - hold that thought. I want to take a break. I want back and ask you my trademark question.

WARREN: All right.

MORGAN: You keyed it up nicely. How many times have you been properly in love?

WARREN: Okay.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Right now with America's pastor, Rick Warren. So 2e left our viewers on a cliffhanger there, right? How many times have you been properly in love in your life?

WARREN: Well probably within my teenage years I fell in love every week.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: That doesn't really count.

WARREN: I bet I fell in love two to three times. And actually each girl I fell in love with and the next one was better suited for me than the one before, until I found Kay. And she was the best suited of all. Given the right situation, you can fall in love with anybody. You can put two people on the right island, put in the right circumstances, you could fall in love with anybody.

It takes more than love to make a marriage work. And just because you fell in love with somebody doesn't mean you should marry them. There are a lot of other factors involved.

MORGAN: But when you had said when you fall in love with a woman, it feels completely natural.

WARREN: Oh it's not only natural, it's euphoric.

MORGAN: Right.

WARREN: There is a euphoric attitude. It doesn't stay.

MORGAN: So why do you have such a problem with a man -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - who quite naturally falls in love -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - with another man, -

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: - or a woman with another woman? Why can you not allow them to have that euphoria that you have with all the rights that go with that kind of relationship?

WARREN: Great question. The Bible says you can love anybody. There is nothing in the Bible that says a man can't love a man. In fact, there are many examples of men loving men in scripture. The Bible says you just can't have sex with everybody.

I can't have - I have fallen in love with lots of different women, doesn't mean I should have sex with them. So what's often framed as a love issue is not the issue. You can love - in fact I'm commanded to love everybody. I as a believer in Jesus Christ I am not allowed to hate anybody. I'm not allowed to disrespect anybody. I am commanded -- in fact, Jesus said if you don't love everybody, you don't really love me. So it's not a love issue.

MORGAN: You see but you say you're a tolerant man. And I don't dispute that. And yet last time I interviewed you, you got into a bit of hot water with a lot of the gay community, because you said that the reason you were opposed to gay marriage, for example, is that not everything that's natural...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- like gay -- a gay attraction...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- is good for you.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: And you -- you compared it to arsenic.

WARREN: Can I pull that back?

MORGAN: Yes.

WARREN: I'd like to pull both of that, because, you know, to say -- I stand by the statement that not everything natural is good for me. But the illustration, I think, was stupid. I pull it back. I -- I disavow it. It was a dumb thing to say.

MORGAN: But you -- you realized afterward how...

WARREN: Well, it was -- it sounded offensive. And that's -- this is an issue. We -- there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with somebody. There is something wrong with being offensive.

MORGAN: That -- that's my point about it...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- is that I think that I have complete respect, having been brought up a Catholic.

WARREN: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: Many Catholics, you know, are anti-contraception...

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: They're anti-abortion.

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: They're anti-gay marriage. I've got no problem with respecting their views.

WARREN: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: But the moment I start hearing the kind of rhetoric that Kirk Cameron, the "Growing Pains" star, came out with on this show...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- we talked about, you know, a gay lifestyle being sort of the abomination of the world, I get very angry, because I think, I'm not gay. But if I'm gay and I'm listening to this, I'm thinking, who the hell are you...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- to tell me that I'm the abomination of the world?

People would look at you as one of these great -- and you're one of the (INAUDIBLE) most influential men in the world for your -- your teachings and the books and so on.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: And they're looking to you for guidance at a time when America in particular is going through an incredibly fast sea change in attitudes on many things. Now what are you going to do, in your gilded ivory tower of responsibility...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- and influence, as you see more and more American states...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- supporting and voting and making legal gay marriage?

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: Are you going to continue saying to people that come to your congregation...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- it is just wrong?

WARREN: Well...

MORGAN: Or could you see a time when you may say, you know something, America has changed, I'm prepared to change?

WARREN: I don't see that happening, because I have a world view based on scripture that remains unchanged.

Opinion changes. Popular opinion changes all the time. What was popular in the 18th century isn't popular in the 19th, the 20th, the 24th.

If -- if you build your life on popular opinion, you're on shifting sands because things change. In fact, science changes. Nothing is more worthless than a -- than a science textbook from the '50s...

MORGAN: But what -- but what shouldn't change from the original Constitution of America, surely...

WARREN: Well, my...

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: -- but my faith isn't based on the Constitution, it's based on...

MORGAN: I get that.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: But what I would say about America...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- in terms of its populism, as you put it...

WARREN: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: -- is that actually what it is, it's about fairness and equality. I went to see "Lincoln"---

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- the movie, a few weeks ago.

WARREN: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: And it was a riveting movie.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: Daniel Day-Lewis is brilliant as Lincoln. But of course, it's all about how he fought, in his last few months as president, to get slavery abolished.

WARREN: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: And there were millions of Americans who thought slavery was perfectly acceptable...

WARREN: Right.

MORGAN: -- who were outraged at what he was doing.

What he was doing was not trying to make something popular for the moment... WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: -- he knew instinctively it was just wrong, unfair, unequal.

WARREN: And why did he know that? Because it's in the Bible.

MORGAN: Right. But we have a...

WARREN: No, it's in the Bible. He...

MORGAN: Right.

WARREN: He was building it on biblical truth. He was going, the -- the Bible says that -- that we -- every man should be free.

MORGAN: Right. But you don't think every man should be free and equal.

WARREN: No, I believe every man -- of course we're free. And of course we're equal. If (INAUDIBLE)...

MORGAN: What does being free mean?

WARREN: No, no, nobody -- you can love anybody you want to in our freedom...

MORGAN: Right.

WARREN: (INAUDIBLE) freedom.

MORGAN: But you don't think a gay man or woman should be free to be married, like a straight man or woman.

WARREN: Well, what I'm -- what I...

MORGAN: So what is freedom?

WARREN: Yes. What I oppose is redefining a term. Now, let me explain this. You know, the Jews, there's a group called Jews for Jesus. And -- and Jewish people don't like Jews for Jesus, because they say wait a minute, you don't get to redefine a term. If you believe in Jesus, you're not really a Jew.

MORGAN: But if you don't (INAUDIBLE)...

WARREN: Wait a minute. Let me...

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: -- let me...

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: -- make my point here.

MORGAN: OK.

WARREN: Is that if -- if a mean -- a word means a certain thing, and it's not -- and it's not my word and all of a sudden I say, well, I'm that, is that fair?

MORGAN: You...

WARREN: Is that right?

MORGAN: So you wouldn't have amended anything to the Constitution?

WARREN: I'm -- I'm not sure what you're saying.

MORGAN: Why would you ever have an amendment to anything in the Constitution if you can't change the original wording or meaning?

Surely, the point of all the amendments is that they are moving with the times...

WARREN: OK. Well, let's take...

MORGAN: -- recognizing...

WARREN: OK.

MORGAN: -- the...

WARREN: OK.

MORGAN: -- certain words, phrases, meanings were just plain not right for the (INAUDIBLE)...

WARREN: Well, now you're talking about the two different understandings of the Constitution right now. There are strict constructionists who say it means what it means what it means.

MORGAN: Um-hmm.

WARREN: And there are those who say, no, it means what I want it to mean today.

MORGAN: But the mere fact that you've had amendments to the American Constitution...

WARREN: Oh, of course there are. But that's...

MORGAN: -- means that people...

WARREN: -- not what we're talking about here.

MORGAN: -- people -- well, it's about the principle...

WARREN: You're mixing metaphors (INAUDIBLE)...

MORGAN: Not really. I'm talking about the principle of changing your mind and being able to move with the times, which is what all the amendments to the Constitution were basically about.

WARREN: Well, you know -- you know why we have to change the Constitution? It's a flawed document. It was made by men.

(CROSSTALK)

WARREN: (INAUDIBLE) the Bible was made by God, not by men, and it doesn't change.

MORGAN: But you and I know the Bible is, in many places a flawed document.

WARREN: No. I don't agree with that.

MORGAN: You think everything in the Bible is completely accurate?

WARREN: I think the Bible is true; not everything in the Bible that is explained in the Bible does the Bible commend.

For instance, there's rape in the Bible. The Bible's clearly against rape.

In fact, if you open the Bible, you'll find more rape, murder, incest, all kinds of problems. Why? Because the Bible always tells the truth.

You know, why does it say Holy on the Bible? Because it's -- see, any other book, if it was writing about these great people in the past, it would tend to gloss over their sins.

MORGAN: But we discuss (INAUDIBLE) Bible says if you commit adultery, you're going to be stoned to death.

WARREN: That's -- that is a, as we said before, that's a civil law for the nation of Israel.

MORGAN: But it's still an element of the Bible that is flawed.

WARREN: Well, evidently, for that generation, that's their -- that's their commandment.

MORGAN: Exactly my point. Exactly that (INAUDIBLE) Constitution.

WARREN: But it's not one of the moral laws.

MORGAN: No, but it's still in the Bible, and it's flawed.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) the Bible and the Constitution were well intentioned, but they are basically inherently flawed.

WARREN: What I believe --

MORGAN: Hence the need to amend it.

My point to you about gay rights, for example, it's time for an amendment to the Bible.

WARREN: No. What I --

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) a new Bible.

WARREN: Not a chance. What I -- what I believe is flawed is human opinion because it constantly changes. In fact, we do it every eight years in America. We have a -- we have a change in opinion; what was -- what was hot is now not.

And I willingly admit -- willingly admit that I base my world view on the Bible, which I believe is true, and truth -- my definition of truth is if it's new, it's not true. If it was true 1,000 years ago, it'll be true 1,000 years from today. Opinion changes, but truth doesn't.

MORGAN: We're going to agree to disagree on that.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: We're going to come back. We're going to talk about children.

WARREN: You know what I like though, I like -- Piers, we need more of this kind of talk.

MORGAN: I agree. I agree.

WARREN: We need --

MORGAN: The debate should always be respectful. It's the moment - and by the way, it applies to politics, too.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: The moment it becomes disrespectful and discourteous and then rude and then poisonous, you never achieve anything.

WARREN: But you know what, let's go to this -- the gay issue. I don't see many people willing to debate it. It's either my way or nothing. I don't see anybody willing to actually talk about it.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's talk about children and charity when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Right back with Pastor Warren. Christmas for many people is an incredibly joyous experience. But for many people, it's an incredibly depressing, sad, lonely time. How do you try and change the fact that Christmas becomes this crystallization for many people of all that's terrible in their lives? WARREN: Right. When you attach any holiday to a memory, that's either good or bad, and if you attach it to good memories, of course you're going to tend to repeat those. If you -- if Christmas for you brings up a time of strife, conflict, I'm not with my family; we're divorced or we're separated or whatever, of course -- and we know that that's a very depressing time.

My suggestion is that people develop a new habit, create a new habit, and attach it to the holiday instead of continuing to look backwards.

When I was 3 years old, I asked my mother, "Why do we have Christmas?" And my mom said, "Well, it's Jesus' birthday." Well, as a 3-year old, my mind was, "Then why don't we have a birthday party?"

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: And I said, "We could have cake and Kool-Aid and" -- literally, I said, and an - we get (INAUDIBLE) ladder and angels could come down and be with us.

That year, we started a birthday party for Jesus.

This year we will do that for the 55th time in my life.

MORGAN: Really?

WARREN: It is a tradition we call Birthday Party for Jesus. We actually do it on Christmas Eve, and what we do is we all -- the family all gathers, whoever is there that particular year, and we go all around the room. And it is our family tradition to do two things.

First, everybody shares one thing they're thankful for in the last year. But they can go on as long as they want to. And it's a time of very meaningful sharing. And then we say one thing I want to give God or give Jesus for His birthday this year. And we share that.

Then we sing -- we literally sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus; the youngest kid in the family blows out a candle. We have an angel food cake, not devil's food --

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: -- and we have -- and we actually have a birthday party for Jesus. That has become something that our family looks forward to every year.

Now it's funny, because when the kids were little, when we were little, the sharing was short and quick and laughter and a lot of giggles. As we got older, it got more meaningful. Now that I have grandkids, it's short and fun again like that.

But I think you can create a habit or a tradition, create a new tradition to overcome the negativity that is in the past.

MORGAN: You give away 90 percent of all your income. WARREN: Yes, actually, we raise it every year. We -- when Kay and I got married 37 years ago, we started giving 10 percent away. That's called the tithe. Then at the end of our first year of marriage, we gave away 11.

At the end of our second, 12; and every year we would raise it.

When I'd get a bonus or have a raise, we'd raise it three or 4 percent. On the years that the cupboard was bare and we were barely making it, we'd raise it a quarter of a percent, because I really wanted to be more generous every year.

Piers, every time I give, it breaks the grip of materialism in my life. Materialism is all about getting -- get, get, get, get, get. Get all you can; can all you get. Sit on the can and spoil the rest.

Giving is the antidote to materialism. Giving makes my heart grow bigger. It makes me more like Jesus. There's a verse in the Bible, most famous verse, says, "God so loved the world that He gave." You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving.

So now we've raised it every year, and actually this last year we raised it again. We now give away 91 percent and live on 9.

Now I've played this game with God for 37 years. God says, you give to me and I'll give to you and we'll see who wins.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: I've lost for 37 years.

MORGAN: Do you know how much you're worth?

WARREN: No. No, I don't. I know that we're constantly giving it away. We have three different charities. One is called Acts of Mercy, which helps those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, which my wife leads, and also helps orphans and vulnerable women and children around the world.

We have another charity called Training Leaders, where we train leaders in villages around the world.

And then the third one is called The Peace Plan, which is promote reconciliation, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, educate the next generation.

I would say this to everybody who's watching. It's not a sin to be wealthy. It's a sin to die wealthy.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: OK? In other words, money is a tool, and you -- it can be used for good or for bad. Money is neither good nor bad, but it can used -- be used for good or be used for bad.

Bill Gates told me one time, he said, "Rick, use money to save time." That's a brilliant idea, because you see, I only have 168 hours a week. We all have the exact same amount of time. We don't have the same amount of money. We all have the same amount of time.

Once I spend that time, I'm never getting it back. You can always get more money. So if you use money to save time, that's a valuable investment of money.

MORGAN: OK. Let's take another break. Let's come back and talk about your diminishing status, I mean physically. You're wasting away.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: And, apparently, so are 15,000 other people.

WARREN: Yeah.

MORGAN: I want to talk to you about all this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MEHMET OZ: And you're making it part of your mission to take care of temple of the soul. And that is not a place where as physicians we have commonly gone; we go to church; we don't speak about our bodies in church. This gives us an opportunity to change that equation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Dr. Oz talking at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, and Rick Warren's back with me now. He's an impressive guy, isn't he?

WARREN: He is.

MORGAN: Dr. Oz. I liked him. I liked interviewing him. But you've lost 60 pounds ...

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: ... with this diet program called --

WARREN: I've got 40 more to go, though.

MORGAN: Right, it's obviously working very well - it's called the Daniel Plan.

WARREN: Yes.

MORGAN: And you and the church have been doing this together, 15,000 people have signed up, participants have shed -- this is incredible -- a combined total of 250,000 pounds.

How do you combine diet with prayer? WARREN: Well, it's funny how this thing started, Piers.

About a year ago -- first place, I've never cared about how I look. I didn't care how I looked, and I was blessed with enormous energy. So I never really paid attention.

We baptize in our church after every service. Once a month, I baptize. And about a year ago I was doing a baptism, and we do it the old-fashioned way. We actually put people under the water. So I literally lift people underwater, and lift them out.

On this day, I had 867 people to baptize.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: Now, that's a lot of people. It took me about four hours.

On about number 500 that I had lowered into the water, put them -- I had a -- I had a thought. It wasn't a very spiritual thought. It wasn't a pastor thought. It was, man, we're all overweight.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: We're all fat. Then I thought, but I'm fat, and I can't expect other people to get in shape if I'm out of shape.

So the next morning on -- at church, I got up and I said, "You guys, I need to repent." I said, I have -- I've only gained two or three pounds a year, but I've been your pastor for 32 years. So I need to lose 90 pounds.

MORGAN: So give me the bullet points of how it works.

WARREN: OK. Well, I went out and I got three doctors, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman, and they put together a plan. I said, "Whip me into shape," and so they -- and Oz said, you got to know your height, your weight, your waist, your cholesterol, and I don't remember what, blood pressure.

We took about 20 doctors at our church, set up booths for a month and let people take those numbers. We opened a website called danielplan.com, where they could follow it. I thought maybe 200 people would sign up -- show up. Twelve thousand, on my memory, signed up. And as you pointed out, we've now lost over 250,000 pounds. I'm looking for the day that our church says we've lost the equivalent of a jumbo jetliner.

MORGAN: So what are the key things you have to do with this diet?

WARREN: The number one thing -- you know, of course, diets are diets and health plans are health plans. There's a lot of similarities. But the number one thing on this, we do it in community. Most people don't understand that Saddleback is not the Sunday service. Any time a journalist comes to Saddleback, they come to the service, they come on a weekend, they see 20,000 people. They think that's it.

No, no, that's the tip of the iceberg. The real church happens during the week in 6,000 small groups. We're the only church in America that has more people in Bible study than on Sunday. 20,000 come on Sunday; 32,000 in small groups. These 6,000 small groups go from Santa Monica to Carlsbad. Every one of them, we asked, has a health champion. And they are the encourager of the Daniel Plan to encourage people--

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But what have you -- what have you stopped eating? Or what have you done --

WARREN: Oh, it was real simple. I cut out all whites, white carbohydrates; real simple.

MORGAN: No bread, no pasta --

WARREN: No.

MORGAN: No rice.

WARREN: Yes, which was hard for me because they don't call me Pasta Rick for nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: OK? That was my favorite.

MORGAN: Ba-boom!

WARREN: Ba-boom!

(LAUGHTER)

WARREN: So I cut out all white stuff. I personally cut out dairy, OK. I eat a lean protein, vegetables, and a little bit of fruit.

MORGAN: You drink alcohol?

WARREN: No. I never have, so -- no, never have.

MORGAN: Never had (INAUDIBLE) nip, not even at Christmas?

WARREN: Never have.

MORGAN: Wow.

WARREN: Never have. Never smoked, either.

MORGAN: Just when I thought we had so much in common, Pastor.

Let's take a final break. I want to have your final thoughts on this holiday when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back for a final thought from Pastor Rick Warren. He's also the author of "The Purpose of Christmas."

So we've got millions of people watching around the world, literally, in 200 places around the world, who want to know really what they should be thinking, that is out of just gorging themselves on turkey and fine wine. What would you say?

WARREN: Well, the message of Christmas is that that babe in the manger didn't stay a babe in the manger. He grew up; he lived a sinless life. He died on the cross. He rose again. And because of that, we can have a new purpose in our lives; we can have peace in our lives. We can have power in our lives.

I say you can have your past forgiven; you can have a purpose for living; you can have a home in heaven. And it's all by grace. If -- suppose that you, Piers, gave me a Christmas gift and I stuck it over in the corner. And the next year, you go, "Hey, Rick, how did you like my gift?"

And I go, "Oh, uh, oh, I just got too busy to open it." You'd be offended. And yet many people celebrate Christmas after Christmas after Christmas and never open God's gift. The gift of Christmas is grace. And that is no matter who I am, what I've done, where I've gone, there is forgiveness available.

I can have my past forgiven, a purpose for living and a home in heaven. And it is a free gift. I receive it by grace. There's a verse in the Bible that says, "To those who believe and receive, to them he gave the right to become children of God." And that's what I think it's all about, believing and receiving.

MORGAN: Pastor Rick, happy holidays.

WARREN: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: It's been a real pleasure.

WARREN: Merry Christmas.

MORGAN: And that's all for us. Merry Christmas.