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Seeking Meaning in Aftermath of War

Aired April 20, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, seeking meaning in the aftermath of war. Can faith heal all?
Joining us, Deepak Chopra, spiritual adviser and author of bestsellers like "How to Know God"; John MacArthur, pastor of the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and a syndicated host; Rabbi Harold Kushner, bestselling author of "Living a Life That Matters"; Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of the international TV show "The Word in the World"; and Dr. Maher Hathout, a scholar of Islam and senior adviser, Muslim Public Affairs Council.

All that -- you phone calls, too -- next on LARRY KING LIVE.

This completes another week of doing this program seven nights a week. We're with you once again live, and phone calls will be included.

This is a very spiritual time. For Christians, of course, Easter. For the Jews, Passover. In Iraq, Shiite Muslims are reviving the annual religious pilgrimage to the holy sites of Karbala and Najaf. That was repressed, by the way, under Saddam Hussein.

So we begin with the obvious. We'll start with Deepak. Why despite all -- people like yourselves down through the centuries have killings gone on and on and on and usually in the name of God?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, AUTHOR, "HOW TO KNOW GOD": I think the experience of God, the messengers of God had the direct experience of God, and they were messengers of love. What we did is we forgot the message. We institutionalized the message.

We lost the experience of oneness, of the essential dignity of human existence, the sense of awe and mystery at the heart of existence, a reverence for life, which is the basis of all spiritual traditions.

KING: Rabbi, is war a failure of diplomacy?

RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER, AUTHOR, "LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS": Only in the sense that perfect diplomacy might have prevented it. But, no, I think war is largely the result of people with too many vivid memories held on to for too many generations.

I was thinking of this Wednesday and Thursday nights of Passover Seder that so much of the harm done in the world is because people cannot forget the harm that was done to them and they're looking for a chance to get even.

But, at Passover, when we remember what the Egyptians said to the Israelites, terrible things, murdering our babies, separating husbands and wives, oppressing us with cruelty, our prayer is not, God, give us a chance to get even with those Egyptians. Our prayer is you shall not oppress the stranger because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Our response to the suffering was to say, yes, we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. The more people can get hold of that perspective, to see the other person as a human being, and to say I don't want to inflict suffering any more than I'd want to inflict it on me, the less eager people will be to go to war.

KING: Dr. -- Reverend MacArthur, what did you think of the war in Iraq? Just war?

REV. JOHN MACARTHUR, GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH, SUN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA: Yes, I think -- it was a just war, I think, because a just war is a war of protection and a war of just retribution.

The war started when the terrorists flew into our towers and into our Pentagon and killed all those people. That started the war, a different kind of war, a different motif for a war, but a war.

And, in protection of our own nation and rendering justice against evildoers at the core of where the evil was coming from -- I believe it was a just car.

KING: Dr. Hathout, how would you respond?

REV. MAHER HATHOUT, SENIOR ADVISER, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Well, I think a couple of points. Number one, I don't think that we should single out religion to blame for war. After all, this previous century saw so many wars without religion invoked and...

KING: Except usually the people who fight at war always have God on their side.

HATHOUT: Yes, of course, but the...

KING: God's always involved some way or the other.

HATHOUT: Sure. In the -- it comes in handy. In the name of democracy, in the name of liberty, in the name of fraternity, we kill so many people. I have a problem with just war vis-a-vis modern war. I think modern war did exceed the lines of having a just war because so many innocent people are being killed.

Of course, about 9/11, which -- terrible as it is, but the war there in Iraq is not against those who committed 9/11. There was not a single Iraqi on the list of 9/11, and there is no connection really that is very clear up until now. So I think we should think more than once before we launch war against people -- modern war against people.

KING: Father Manning, the pope, I guess, was the most outspoken world leader against this war.

FATHER MICHAEL MANNING, HOST, "THE WORD IN THE WORLD": Very strong against the war. Very strong against...

KING: Spoke against it again today.

MANNING: ... against the preemptive aspect of war. When you start talking about a preemptive motive, where do you stop? There isn't any limit. Do we move into this country next and that country next? It really wasn't, as he saw it, a real just war.

KING: But, according to Reverend MacAthur then, when is war -- if war is never right, then you're always a passivist.

MANNING: Not necessarily never right. Not necessarily never right. But I think that, if you're looking at all the criteria for what a war is, you've really got to be very careful because there's so much to lose, and so we've got to be careful that we have the right authority...

CHOPRA: Certainly, Father Manning, you know, we have a problem with our very terminology -- the war on terrorism, the war on cancer, the war on corruption, the war on poverty. That terminology itself says we don't have creative solutions.

We do have creative solutions. They come from the spirit where we have intuition, insight, imagination, inspiration, creativity, meaning, purpose, understanding. This is the true religious experience.

When you say that we have to war, go against evil, you know, evil is just ignorance. Evil is a constricted sense of awareness, where there is greed, where there is aggression, where there is belligerence, where there is not sharing, where there is absence of love and compassion.

To dismiss the enemy has just evil is showing a lot of constricted awareness.

KING: But, Rabbi, there is evil, is there not, in the world? I mean we know it when we see it.

KUSHNER: Yes, there is evil, probably not as much as some people think. There are a lot of really bad people.

My position -- the position of my tradition would be that war is never good, but it's sometimes necessary. It is necessary further harm. It's necessary to prevent a Saddam Hussein or an Osama bin Laden from going out and killing more innocent people.

I grieve for those who died in the war in Iraq on both sides. They didn't deserve it. They died because there was a vicious, evil man at the head of the Iraqi government who was dedicated to killing people, and, in order to stop him, we had to put those lives at risk.

KING: Dr. Hathout, what other choice do they have, just let him...

HATHOUT: Well...

KING: ... continue to be what he was?

HATHOUT: No, of course not. And I think dictatorships should be prevented, not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It is -- it is a very malignant disease that -- we deal with it by not allowing it to be, and, once it happened, of course, we had...

KING: But once it happens, then what?

HATHOUT: Once it happens, it should be removed. The point is whether war is the only way to remove it or not.

We removed the Soviet empire without war. We dealt with dictators in Romania, in other places, in Czechoslovakia, without going to war.

I feel that the problem is whether we are trigger happy in certain cases or not. That's the point.

KING: Reverend MacArthur, is war a failure of faith?

MACARTHUR: Well, I don't know that it's directly a failure of faith. When you talk about faith, you have to...

KING: All faiths breach peace.

MACARTHUR: Yes, but you have to ask faith in what. I mean just to talk about faith as a generic commodity I'm not sure has any virtue. When we talk about faith as Christians, we're talking about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

KING: When you were here the last time, you said Christianity is the only way.


KING: Right? Meaning that Dr. Hathout and Rabbi Kushner both will go to hell if they do not believe as you do.

MACARTHUR: That is what the New Testament teaches.

KING: So you believe that?

Now, as long as that belief occurs, doesn't that cause friction? Doesn't that cause anger and hostility?

MACARTHUR: No, no. And that's a really great question, Larry. It doesn't cause anger because I don't have any anger toward Dr. Hathout or toward any of these gentlemen here.

HATHOUT: But they do have...

(CROSSTALK) MACARTHUR: Well, that's -- that's -- nice to hear you say that, but I don't feel that way at all. I don't have any anger toward a Muslim...

HATHOUT: But you're condemning them to hell.

CHOPRA: Yes, you don't have to.

MACARTHUR: I didn't that. I'm not condemning anyone to hell.

KING: No, you're saying God...

MACARTHUR: I'm telling you that's what the New Testament says.

CHOPRA: That's one interpretation. There are so many others. It's -- it -- that's not...

KING: But it's his interpretation.

MACARTHUR: Oh, but wait a minute. I'm not finished yet. I just want to tell you that the New Testament says that, apart from Jesus Christ, you spend eternity in hell. But I want all of you gentlemen to know and everybody else that that's not necessary because Christ offers forgiveness and salvation to all who come to him.

KING: All right. Let me get a break, and we'll pick right up. We'll be including your phone calls. Our subject tonight is religion and war.

Don't go away.


KING: Deepak Chopra was saying during the break that, as long as someone believes that their religion is the only way, you're always going to have conflict, right?

CHOPRA: Yes, indeed.

KING: Whether -- whether it's Reverend MacArthur or anyone who says their religion is the only one.

CHOPRA: Absolutely. If he keeps -- continues to say that and other people continue to say that, there's going to be war. I mean...

KING: But shouldn't you believe...


CHOPRA: ... awareness and experience...

KING: But shouldn't...

CHOPRA: ... our universality, not our separation.

KING: Shouldn't you believe your religion is the only way? After all, you believe it.

CHOPRA: It's the only way...


CHOPRA: It is the only way for me.

HATHOUT: It's best to give the other person the right to find his own highway.

MANNING: I have no problem with believing that Jesus is the way.

HATHOUT: I don't...


HATHOUT: I don't believe...


MANNING: Of course he is, but that -- that depends...

KING: So then I'm wrong if...

MANNING: Not at all. Not at all.


MANNING: Because I believe Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you...


CHOPRA: ... one speck of dust in a minor galaxy in the junkyard of infinity. It's a huge, magnificent, awesome universe. We shouldn't give God an ethnic background and a tribal identity, for God's sake.

KUSHNER: Larry, can I get into this?

KING: Yes. You sure may. Jump in.

KUSHNER: I believe that my religion is the best in the same way that I believe my wife is the most wonderful woman in the world, not as a statement of fact but as a statement of love and loyalty. That is it's a way of saying this is what I am committed to.

It's not a way of making a factual statement that I'm correct and everybody else is wrong because when you say that, you're -- as Deepak suggested, you're going to end up arguing with each other ad infinitum.

KING: But I'm a little lost. If Dr. MacArthur firmly believes -- if John MacArthur firmly believes something and you don't believe it, shouldn't he believe that you're wrong? I mean I'm doing mathematics here. CHOPRA: He can believe I'm wrong, but I should have the compassion and the understanding that he has a right to believe what he has a right to believe in. But, as soon as he starts condemning people who don't believe in the same thing...

Or at least, you know, for me, the essence of Christianity, the Sermon on the Mount, it's not about Jesus Christ. It's what he said, you know.

KING: Why are religions -- why are so many religious wars in our history, Father?

MANNING: Well, because I think...

KING: Your faith is one of them.

MANNING: I think people think God is all powerful, and, if you have God on your side and he's all powerful, you can do anything.

KING: And your faith had a period of time...

MANNING: Oh, the Crusade...

KING: ... where you killed people...


MANNING: ... of course.

KING: You killed people because they didn't believe the way you believed.

MANNING: And we've learned from that. That doesn't work. It doesn't work. We've got to be able to understand the presence of God in Muslims. We've got to understand the presence of God in all people, and they -- and reverence that presence and hold it -- God is moving in you, God is moving in the Muslims in a great way, and I need to say, hey, God, thank you for that, help me to learn from that, help me to learn that I might be able to draw closer to God.

KING: Were you going to say something, Reverend?

MACARTHUR: Yes. Every time the Christian faith has stepped into any kind of war, it has stepped beyond the lines of Biblical Christianity. It is wrong. We've learned that from history.

Every war ever conducted, every inquisition, every crusade, whether or not it was the Protestants going across to kill the Catholics in Ireland, it was wrong. It was not Christian.

MANNING: It doesn't work. It doesn't work.

MACARTHUR: That's not the New Testament. That's not Christianity.

MANNING: Amen. Amen. MACARTHUR: Jesus went into a Samaritan village. They were the enemies of the Jews at the time. They asked for a place to stay. The Samaritans said not in our town, and they rejected Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem to go to the temple, and the disciples said shall we call down fire from heaven and consume them, and Jesus rebuked them and said the son of man has come to save not destroy. Whenever in the name of Christianity destruction takes place, that's a sin.

KING: Why has peace never worked, Deepak? Or we -- or we never had it.

CHOPRA: Because it's based on, you know, all religious dogma, and ideology is based on belief, which is a cover-up for insecurity. Fundamentalism is a cover-up for insecurity. The fundamental interpretation of Christianity is a cover-up for insecurity.

Faith depends on the ability to embrace our universality, to have love, to have compassion, to have forgiveness, to think peace and do acts of peace.

KING: What do the Muslims believe?

HATHOUT: Yes, I think for God to be God, he defies to be monopolized by a group. Otherwise, he's not God. He becomes an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of people, and this is a very basic fundamental error.

The second thing: God does not need us to recruit customers for him. This is -- we are belittling God this way. God is almighty, God of everything, and, to be devoted to God means to be devoted to those who have the needs, not to him. He has no needs.

KING: Rabbi Kushner, how do you explain to someone logically -- how do you explain to an Iraqi citizen or an American mother death in war?

KUSHNER: Oh, you don't explain it. I mean you can explain physically what happened when a bomb dropped or a bullet struck. You don't explain.

You hold people's hands, and you tell them how terribly sorry you are that they had to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time, that they -- that they had to be in the wrong unit at the wrong time.

Larry, I think Deepak said something very important a moment ago, that this sort of fundamentalism is a cover for insecurity. In the wake of 9/11, something occurred to me.

Islam is about 1,300 -- 1,400 years old. When Judaism was 1,400 years old, we were converting the Edomites at sword's point. When Christianity was 1,400 years old, it was going from the Crusades to the Inquisition, and I wonder if Islam is going through a kind of a -- almost an adolescent period of insecurity because it -- at least spokesmen for Islam are having to make some of the statements we've heard. What I hear -- when I hear Pastor MacArthur talk about the fact that Dr. Hathout and I are going to go to hell, I'm not going to lose any sleep about that.

But I feel very bad that somebody who has devoted his life to religion gets a message like that from his scriptures. My scripture doesn't say anything similar like that to me about other people...

KING: But the reverend -- but you believe it?

MACARTHUR: Well, it's in the -- it's in the Bible. It's in the New Testament, which is the word of God. I'm not making this up. I'm not inventing...

MANNING: I don't believe that. I don't believe that is...

MACARTHUR: Father, with all due respect, Jesus said more about hell than he did about heaven.

MANNING: So you think that's more important than heaven. I mean...

MACARTHUR: No, no, no.

MANNING: ... how can we -- how can we become obsessed with hell?

MACARTHUR: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You just walked away from the issue.

KING: No. Did Jesus discuss hell?

MANNING: Sure he did.

KING: Did he say non-believers would go to hell?

MANNING: No, he...

CHOPRA: Larry, it's an interpretation. You know, he's quoting the 21st iteration of the King James Version. The original Bible was in Aramaic, and then there was the Bible in Greek. There were revisions and...

KING: Did all Bibles have heaven and hell?

CHOPRA: All Bibles.

MANNING: Yes, sure.

CHOPRA: ... believe...

KING: Who went to hell?

CHOPRA: Heaven and hell are right here as states of consciousness.

MACARTHUR: Well, that is not what the Bible says, and that's the authority for me. The Bible is the word of God.

KING: We get a break. We'll come back with more. We're just starting.


KING: Think about it that way.

We'll also be including your phone calls.

Don't go away.


KING: Dr. Hathout wanted to respond to his being an adolescent.



HATHOUT: It's a compliment. Yes, two points I want to respond to. About Islam being an adolescent, now that sounds very strange. How about Mormons? They must be toddlers then. You...


HATHOUT: We cannot just take it chronologically like that, especially the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) considers themselves, whether we agree or not, that they are the continuity of the message of Abraham that was revealed to Moses, Jesus, and to the tribes, and to all the prophets.

So we cannot jump into such a conclusion, based on -- because there is an assumption then that Muslims are converting people by force, which is not true.

If anything, Muslim now are being exposed to attempting conversion with the Samaritans at Jordan ready to go to Iraq with aid and the Bible to convert them.

So Muslims are not in the business of converting people. They are subject of that tact.

KING: Pastor MacArthur, how do you react to being immature?

MACARTHUR: Well, I was accused to being...

KING: Insecure.

MACARTHUR: ... not only immature but insecure.

KING: I'm sorry. It was not immature. It was insecure.

MACARTHUR: Well, I don't -- I don't think that I'm insecure, but that's really not the point. The point is that my theology doesn't grow out of my own opinion. I haven't sort of looked at the world and decide what's true and what's not true based upon my own insight. I can't...

KING: How have you decided it?

MACARTHUR: I can't invent my own Jesus, and I can't invent my own religious philosophy.

KING: Why do...

MACARTHUR: I go to the New Testament.

KING: And you believe everything you...

MACARTHUR: And I believe everything in the New Testament.

KING: And the obvious question is...

MANNING: I do, too.

KING: The obvious question is why do you believe everything in it.

MACARTHUR: I believe everything in the New Testament because I think the New Testament can be verified objectively and subjectively as true.

KING: Even when it has contradictions?

MACARTHUR: It doesn't have contradictions.

KING: Well, the father just pointed out there was a line in Matthew where it said the people who go to heaven are people who help the sick.

MACARTHUR: Well, I need to have the father in one of my classes, and I'll clarify that for him.

MANNING: Well, my gosh. Now we're really getting paternalistic, aren't we?

KING: Oh, you've said that there...

MACARTHUR: Well, what he was saying...

MANNING: Of course.

MACARTHUR: What he was saying...

MANNING: Of course we know -- let me tell -- let me say what I said. I believe that, in the power of Jesus Christ to love people, he reaches out to all, and he is deeply concerned about people showing their love for the poor and the sick, and that's really fundamental to our understanding of the war. If we are really Christians...

KUSHNER: Larry...

MANNING: ... we're going to love people that are... KING: Rabbi? Yes?

KUSHNER: I'm sorry to interrupt.

If I could clarify what I said before, what I was trying to point out -- I remember the last time that Dr. Hathout and I were on the program together, we discovered that the two of us were probably the closest among all those on the panel, and I didn't mean to put down either his faith or Islam in general.

What I meant to say is that before 9/11, Muslims in this country were just starting to enter into religious dialogue with Jews and Christians. It's not something they've been doing for a long time. It was so exciting to see it beginning to happen, and then 9/11 came along and just complicated the whole thing.

What happens is, when people are not accustomed to speaking to members of other faiths honestly and openly, you get a very strange kind of pseudo dialogue.

The other point on Deepak's point about insecurity, I don't think it's religion that causes people to go to war. I think people go to war for economic, psychological, political reasons, and then, because they are unsure of their grounds, they invoke the name of God to justify what they are doing for political and economic reasons.

KING: You have principles of peace you wanted to tell me?

CHOPRA: Well, in the ancient Indian wisdom traditional of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the seven spiritual laws of peace, our peace consciousness, peace thinking, peace words, peace actions, the law of forgiveness, the law of expansion of sense of self so you feel you're inseparably connected with everything that exists, and, finally, the law of karma that says that you have a unique purpose here in life, and that is to serve the web of life.

KING: And why has that never been tried?

CHOPRA: Because, as the rabbi said, you know, other issues -- social, justice, economic, greed, inequality, ethnocentrism, racism, bigotry, prejudice -- all these...

KING: Are you implying that...

MACARTHUR: Implying? He was staring at me, I think.

KING: ... Pastor MacArthur is prejudiced?

CHOPRA: You know, I find it very difficult to have a dialogue with the pastor because his -- he sticks to one point of view, and...

KING: He's rigid.

CHOPRA: ... he's rigid, and he has no desire to embrace the fact that other people have points of view.

KING: But -- he doesn't need me to defend him, but what's wrong with a firm belief in something?

CHOPRA: It shuts you off totally from the fact that other people have had other experiences. I think the essence of...


KING: ... don't know that.

CHOPRA: ... love, of confession, of forgiveness is the ability to embrace uncertainty, you know, the ability to embrace ambiguity. That's the essence of even faith because, once you embrace the fact that the deep essence -- we're all similar, we're all sinners and sins, we are all sacred and profane, we all have the divine and the diabolical, you know, Christ said he who -- what's the phrase? He who could throw stones at others should look at his own house, right?

MANNING: Sure, yes.

CHOPRA: Let him cast the first stone.

MANNING: And watch out when you make judgments, too. God says don't judge.

HATHOUT: I have a proposal to myself and to all people of religion. The issue of having heaven and hell will happen after we die. Leave it to God.


HATHOUT: I think we -- all will be up to grace of Christ. I think we should focus...

KING: We're all -- nobody know knows, right? You know, but you don't.

HATHOUT: Well, they (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Otherwise, if...

KING: Well, it's either going to be two things. You're either going to not know. You can't win or lose the bet.


KING: If you're going to heaven, you're going to know it and you ain't -- we ain't going to know it here...

HATHOUT: No, you won't.

KING: ... and if you're just dead and buried...

HATHOUT: You won't. You just have to wait.

KING: ... you don't know it. You don't know if...

HATHOUT: I mean this is beyond our sphere. If we look to what God told us to do, is to be good to life and to each other...

MANNING: To each other.

HATHOUT: ... and so -- because we are the ones who are in need. God is in no need. If he needs my offerings, he is not God anymore.

KUSHNER: Larry...

HATHOUT: So that's an important...

KING: Yes, Rabbi? I've got to take a break in a minute. Go ahead, Rabbi.

KUSHNER: Briefly, I heard a wonderful definition of hell, that there really is a hell, but nobody lives there because God is too compassionate to condemn anyone to it.

MACARTHUR: Well, it's a nice idea, but what's the authority for that idea? I mean you say that. Why would I believe that? Why would I bank my eternity on the fact that there is no hell when the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, says there is a hell and many will go there who reject him.

KUSHNER: How about the notion of a compassionate, forgiving God?

MACARTHUR: There is a compassionate, forgiving God. God is compassionate, and he forgives all of those who embrace salvation in his son.

HATHOUT: But others...

KING: And that's the condition.

MACARTHUR: That's the condition.

KING: There is a condition to forgiveness.

MACARTHUR: There is a condition, and God grants gracious and full forgiveness. Back to what Deepak...

HATHOUT: And there's no room for debate.

MACARTHUR: Back to what Deepak said, I have peace, tranquility, calm, a settled heart, love, forgiveness. That is the gift of grace that Christ has given me when he became my lord and savior.

KING: All right. Let me get a break. We'll come back.

MACARTHUR: I think that's what he's been looking for.

KING: He can help you, Deepak.

CHOPRA: Yes, sure.

KING: We're going to take a break. I'll reintroduce the panel, and we'll go to your phone calls.

Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope all our fellow Americans realize that we live in a great country, full of great people, and today's a day to give blessings for America as well as an almighty and gracious God.


KING: Let's reintroduce the panel.

Deepak Chopra is a bestselling author. His books include "How to Know God." He's deeply involved in the Alliance for the New Humanity, an organization dedicated to the pursuit of peace, non-violence, and social justice.

John MacArthur is pastor and teacher of the Grace Community Church, bestselling author and host of the syndicated radio program "Grace to You." He's president of the Masters College and the Masters Seminary.

In Boston is Rabbi Harold Kushner. He is the bestselling author. His books include "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and "Living a Life That Matters." He is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts.

Father Michael Manning is the Roman Catholic priest, Society of the Divine Word, host of "The Word in the World" seen on Trinity Broadcasting Cornerstone Television, and the Catholic diocese in cable TV.

And Dr. Maher Hathout is a Muslim a scholar and senior adviser of Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Before we go to phone calls, Father Manning wanted to respond to Reverend MacArthur.

MANNING: One of the things that I believe is Jesus is God and Jesus is the source of all salvation. The difficulty that I have with condemning people for not accepting Jesus is that oftentimes the Jesus they don't accept is the Jesus you and I present to them.

It is very unattractive, and if -- if the time of judgment comes of saying I'm sorry, you go to hell, it really frightens me that perhaps I'm the one that's going to be responsible for that because I haven't presented the real love and the power of Christ in the way that I think it should be presented.

MACARTHUR: Well, I don't want to take the responsibility to have to design and define Jesus and somehow draft up an acceptable Jesus. The Jesus of the New Testament is the only Jesus there is, and the...

MANNING: The... MACARTHUR: ... apostles -- well, the apostle -- the apostle Paul said if anybody preaches any other Jesus, let him be anathema. So we can't invent Jesus. We go to the New Testament. There he is.

KING: But would you agree the New Testament has been interpreted many times, and it wasn't originally written in English?

HATHOUT: But there is...

KING: Well, Larry, it was originally written, of course, in Greek, but the...

CHOPRA: No. I'm sorry. It wasn't written in Greek. You should know your Bible. It wasn't written in Aramaic, which is a pre- Babylonian language. It doesn't even...

MACARTHUR: Pardon me, but it was written in Greek.

CHOPRA: No, sir.

MACARTHUR: So we'll -- we'll leave it at that point.

MANNING: But -- but the...

MACARTHUR: Suffice...

KING: Let me -- let me get a call.


CHOPRA: ... a point. There is Jesus in Quran also.


MACARTHUR: Yes. That's not the Jesus of the New Testament.

CHOPRA: This is what you're saying. This is...

KING: Tokyo, Japan. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Good evening.


CALLER: Hi. In the American media, we hear a great deal about Muslim states and terrorism or crimes against innocence, but, in the case of Israel, we hear little about the incursions and Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. I just wanted your panels' thoughts on this.

KUSHNER: May I be the first to...

KING: Rabbi Kushner, you may.

KUSHNER: Yes. A lot of what the Israelis are doing is very simply self-defense. They have been attacked, and they've been attacked repeatedly.

There is a moral distinction to be made between the violence of the bank robber and the violence of the bank guard, between the violence of the criminal and the violence of the policeman.

When there are innocent victims, collateral damage, like the collateral damage caused by American troops in Iraq and elsewhere, what I find moving about the Israeli situation is that they never take it in stride. They are bothered by it. They investigate and they punish.

And you don't find that happening on the other side, the people who initiate the violence against them. It is regrettable. I wish it would end, and I pray for the day when it will end. But it's simply not the same as the persecution of innocents.

KING: Deepak.

CHOPRA: I would like to respond by saying, as long as we justify violence, then we have a problem.

I'd like to invite this person who's calling from Japan to this new organization, is the Web site, and what the alliance is -- is a group of from all over the world, including Nobel Prizewinning peace laureates, economists, people in the human-rights movement, that seeks to create a society, a critical mass of peace consciousness, which will create a society of social justice, economic freedom, ecological balance, and non-violent, creative solutions to conflicts, and not justify violence no matter where it is.

So please come to the Alliance of the New Humanity and...

KING: .org.

CHOPRA: ... create a peace cell. There are terrorist cells all over the world. We now need to create peace cells everywhere...

KING: And, Dr....

CHOPRA: ... that will bring to light and not fight the darkness.

KING: Dr. Hathout wants to respond. Then we'll get another call.

HATHOUT: Yes, I need to respond to that.

What is bothering me is that issue of lack of moral equivalence. You have population who are civilians, who are crowded, who are poor. They are bombed by Apache, by F-15, and by tanks, and one of the collateral damage is an American girl called Rachel Corey who was crushed by a bulldozer demolishing the homes.

Let us not -- let us talk against the violence, as Dr. Chopra says, and against killing any civilians, but to want to tell me that the bank robber and the bank guard -- this is honestly an awful example.

KING: All right. Idaho Falls, Idaho. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.


CALLER: As you sit there with such distinguished guests and such a table full of knowledge on different religions, I would like to know -- being a Baptist in a Mormon community, I would like to know is there anything that we as Christians can agree on with the Jews, the Catholics, or anybody who believes differently than us? Is there one thing that we can agree on on the almighty God regarding war?

CHOPRA: Read the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus Christ, and practice those principles.

MANNING: One of the most important things that we have in common is the reality of God. We are all God believers. Jesus was passionate in calling people to his father. We, as Christians today, should be on that same fire, giving respect to Muslims, to Jews, and to people who honor the father.

KUSHNER: That's where we're...

CHOPRA: That's a secular approach to a spiritual...

MANNING: Precisely. Yes.

KING: McKinleyville, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. Thank you for taking my call. My question is for all panel members to comment on if they would like to. Isn't it obvious that all religions or religious philosophies, regardless of their label, are failing mankind and they're not freeing us from our nature of murder, hatred, and killing, and isn't it about time we turn to the spiritual delusions...

KING: All right.


CALLER: ... by God and by dying to this awful nature...

KING: Fair question.


CALLER: ... his new eternal life.

KING: Billy Graham said to me religion has failed.

MACARTHUR: Oh, there's no question that religion has failed because religion isn't the answer. Again, that's the institutionalization of belief systems. Again, the answer is to change the heart. Jesus said it's not what goes into the man that destroys him. It's what comes out of him. It's out of his heart.

KING: Why has that failed?

MACARTHUR: Well, because you have to change the heart, and the only thing that changes the heart is a new heart. Ezekiel said that God was going to come and take away the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh, a new heart, and plant his spirit. That comes through the work of Jesus Christ.

KING: Dr. Hathout.

HATHOUT: I don't think that religion failed the humanity. I think humanity failed the religion.

We tribalize the religion. We made God the ownership of people. We used the religion to justify our greeds and our aggressions so we fail the religion.

And the only thing is to go to the ABCs of religion, not the sort of sophisticated, esoteric stuff. The very obvious -- one God, one humanity, and one people...

CHOPRA: One life.

HATHOUT: ... and one life.

KING: We'll be right back with more after these words.


KING: Before we continue with the next call, Deepak wanted to add on to the last call.

CHOPRA: Well, the last person said man is by essential nature violence.

It's partly true that in -- given our evolution for billions of years, we've been governed by something called a fight-flight response, which means in a threatening situation we run or we fight, and that's the cause of the major epidemic of what we call stress. So it's true that when people are threatened, they react violently.

But violence always has a context. Human beings have the ability to beyond that. We have something called the restful awareness response, that it goes through meditation. We have the intuitive response, the creative response, the visionary response, the sacred response.

So man is not by essential nature fallen or ignorant or a sinner or violent. It's when our needs are thwarted, when we feel unsafe, when we feel...

MACARTHUR: Injustice? Injustice? CHOPRA: ... there is social injustice, whether it's economic deprivation, so all these issues are very closely tied.

The issue of social justice, economic freedom, ecological balance, and non-violent communication are all inseparably one. You know, we have created -- war has become an industry now in the western world, and weapons of destruction are merchandise to trade on stock markets.

KING: Hartford, Connecticut. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. I have a question for the whole panel.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: OK. The Bible states that Abraham had two sons, and each son would start a great nation, and, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his first son, he never gives a name. And since then, Muslims and Jewish people have interpreted this time differently. And my question is do you think God intended it to be interpreted differently, that he wanted all different types of religions?

KING: Rabbi Kushner.

KUSHNER: Gosh, that story in Genesis Chapter 22 about the command to sacrifice Isaac is one I have never really been happy with. I'm sorry that we read it every year at the high holidays because I can never make sense of it.

God does specify Isaac. God says take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac. The Quran tells it differently, which, by the way, Dr. Hathout, I think that would give -- if it was Ishmael who was sacrificed and if Mecca was the place, that should give the Jews a claim over half a share of Mecca as the Muslims have half a share in Jerusalem.

But, no, I don't know what to do with that story. It certainly -- it certainly has no political implications for today's world.

MACARTHUR: What you -- can I add a comment?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

MACARTHUR: The reason...

CHOPRA: They're talking about the guard of the fight-flight response.

MACARTHUR: I think the reason that -- if all you accept is the Old Testament -- you have a problem with the story of Isaac is because the story of Isaac is a picture of God giving his son, Jesus Christ, as an offering for sin, and that's where the imagery there is brought to its fullness.

On this issue of the evil of the heart, Jeremiah, the prophet said, man is deceitful, the heart is deceitful, above all things desperately wicked...

KING: Do you believe that?

MACARTHUR: Absolutely. I believe...

KING: So there -- that you are deceitful and desperately wicked.

MACARTHUR: Sure. At heart. And I need to be redeemed and regenerated and given a new heart. Not everybody's as evil as they could be.

KING: It's a terrible world, though, if everyone is deceitful and wicked.

MACARTHUR: Well -- and that's why we have government and constraint and refinement. You know, a person like Deepak...


MACARTHUR: ... is a refined person, an educated person. Their refinement has given a grace to him that causes him not to manifest all the evil that's in any heart. We have that...


HATHOUT: ... condemned to hell, according to you.

MACARTHUR: No, because Jesus Christ offers salvation to you.

CHOPRA: Thank you.

KING: OK. You wanted to say something, Doctor, and then we have another call.

HATHOUT: Yes. Of course, the Quran says the only son -- and the only son according to some interpretations was Ishmael because Isaac came later. But, nonetheless, this is not the issue -- an issue with the...

KING: The question was can there be many faiths.

HATHOUT: Of course.

KING: Did God want many faiths?

HATHOUT: Of course. God -- nobody can dare to say I knew exactly what God meant be -- this is -- this is arrogant. We don't know exactly what God meant. Definitely we can see that God created us differently, so difference is part of the will of God.

About the claim (UNINTELLIGIBLE), go ahead and declare it because that will make lots of things easier.

KING: Hope, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi. My question is mostly for those on your panel that are confessing faith in Christ.

When he was being led away to be tortured, one of the disciples cut off his ear, and he said he who lives by the sword will die by the sword. Also, the proverb says thank God he (UNINTELLIGIBLE) shed innocent blood. And in front of the United Nations, there's a scripture that's quoted directly from the Bible, and it says that they will have to turn their swords into plowshares.

And, if hell was such a bad place, why did Job rather ask God to rather go there than go through what he was going through, and I just wanted to know how they felt about this question.

KING: Father?

MANNING: I think that you touch a very important part about Jesus. Jesus is deeply, deeply concerned about bringing peace. He's concerned about bringing people who are different together.

He did it with the apostles in which he had a -- he had a terrorist by the name of Simon working along with a man by the name of Matthew who was part of Herod, part of the Roman -- the establishment. He brought people together.

And he -- he said that's how you change the world, not by pulling out a sword and killing people. It's by working together, by dialogue, and loving one another and showing to the world that different people can live together.

KING: Misawa, Japan. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry. I'd just like to say thanks for your years of contribution to the media, and I...

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: ... have two questions here. They're both related. One is translation does John MacArthur base his interpretation of the Bible on. And the second one is has the -- have Iraqi Christian scholars been consulted about their perspective on the Bible in that they, I believe, still use the ancient Aramaic in their services. Thank you.

KING: You believe in the King James, right?

MACARTHUR: Oh, no. I'm not limited to the King James, no. The Old Testament was originally inspired and given in Hebrew with some small sections in Aramaic. The New Testament was given in Greek. So there are many, many translations into English and many other languages. I'm not limited to King James.

Basically, they all teach the same thing, whatever the language, whatever the translation, the gospel is the same, the presentation of Christ is the same. There's no substantial difference.

CHOPRA: I beg to differ. The Aramaic name of Jesus Christ is Yeshua Ba Allajah (ph), which sounds very much more, you know, a version of what the Quran talks about Jesus Christ. Yeshua is the son of the unity consciousness, and that -- you should know that the New Testament was also written in Aramaic.

MANNING: No, no. It -- Jesus was -- spoke in Aramaic, but that doesn't mean that it was written in...

MACARTHUR: Yes. He spoke in Aramaic, but the New Testament was written in Greek. All the ancient manuscripts are in Greek.

CHOPRA: Yes, but there are many people who have...

KING: Let me...

CHOPRA: ... different interpretations of...

KING: Can we get a -- hold on, you guys.

CHOPRA: ... that one line that he quotes from John.

KING: Let me get a break. It's all Greek to me.


KING: We'll be back with some more moments. Don't go away.


KING: Fredericton, New Brunswick. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I'm just wondering about the definition about "jihad" because, in my religion, Christian, anyone who takes their own life, they don't go to heaven.

KING: Rabbi Kushner, how do you define "jihad"?

KUSHNER: Well, it's not really part of my world view. On the point of people taking their own life, there is a Jewish rule that someone who takes his own life cannot be given a religious burial...

KING: Right.

KUSHNER: ... and the smell print says that that does not apply if the person was in his right mind, and the next piece of small print says these days anyone who takes his own life is assumed not to be in his right mind.

No, suicide bombers, I think, are utterly reprehensible. It's an act of desperation, and it's something that I think the whole civilized world shutters at the prospect of.

KING: I'm sure the whole panel agrees with that.

Dr. Hathout, what do you think of...

HATHOUT: Oh, we are mixing two things, suicide and jihad.

KING: What is jihad?

HATHOUT: "Jihad" means to exert to the maximum effort to make (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This takes a mentality, intellectuality, money, discussions, and, in certain situations, it takes that you stand up against oppression, if you are threatened on your life or on your religion.

KING: Tampa. Hello.


KING: Tampa. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for your panel is do they feel it might take a global crisis, whether it be natural or manmade, to bring us all together, and, also, do you see dictators such as Saddam Hussein using Bible prophecy, such as the end times, to justify their actions?

KING: Well, Saddam Hussein did use Bible prophecy, did he not, Deepak?

CHOPRA: Everybody uses -- everybody says...

KING: Do you think it will take a world event to...

CHOPRA: I think we are in a world event right now.

You know, I was speaking to an anthropologist friend of mine, and he said, if ants disappeared from this planet today, in five years, this planet would be a dead planet, but, if human beings disappeared from this planet today, in five years, life would flourish, from Mother Nature's point of view.

We might be -- you know, Mother Nature might be thinking this was an interesting experiment, it didn't work, let's move on.

MACARTHUR: And can I just weigh in on that briefly?

If you look at the New Testament, it's very clear that there is a crisis coming. Jesus said in his Olivet discourse there will be wars and rumors of wars, there will be earthquakes compounding toward the end, there will be a figure coming called the anti-Christ who will create a world government under one rule in the control of Satan. His rule will be ended by the return of Jesus Christ who will set up the kingdom of peace that the world has waited for.

CHOPRA: You -- earlier, you asked me if there are other universes. I think we live in two different universes.

KING: God causes...

MACARTHUR: I'm sure we do.

KING: God causes earthquakes?

MACARTHUR: Oh, I don't think God directly...

KING: Jesus predicted them.

MACARTHUR: Sure he predicted them, and God can cause earthquakes if he chooses to.

MANNING: Larry, you're bringing about a change in the world. Look at what we're doing here today. Here we have a Muslim. We have people of...


KING: ... all faiths, all over the world.

MANNING: ... and they're coming -- and you're doing this, and that's the...

KING: I'm an instrument.

MANNING: ... the pushing to the...

KUSHNER: Larry...


MANNING: ... that we're all looking for.

KUSHNER: If I could break in for just a second, I -- I just want to bounce off what Deepak just said, which I found fascinating.

Yes, if human beings were to disappear, life would flourish on earth, but it would be a very different kind of life, a life with no morality, no human choice, no love, simply instinctive mating, no music, no poetry, no art.

I think God would find this world a lot less to his liking, which is why I suspect he created people like us in the first place.

CHOPRA: Absolutely. Rabbi, that's the choice we have right now...

KING: Let me get in one more call.

CHOPRA: ... to risk our extinction or join forces with the elements...

KING: Let me get one more call.

CHOPRA: ... and forces of the universe to create something new.

KING: One more call. Little Rock, Arkansas. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. I would like to ask the panel if God said in the Ten Commandments thou shalt not kill, then how could a war ever be fully justified.

KING: Great question to close.

KUSHNER: Well, that's an easy one, Larry.

KING: Yes? What is it, Rabbi? Justify it.

KUSHNER: God never said thou shalt not kill. God said thou shalt not murder.

The Hebrew is extremely clear, and there's no question about that. Some killing -- self-defense, capital punishment perhaps, accidental killing -- is not murder.

The question in war is whether the war -- the goals of the war justify it.

KING: Are all the -- we only have 30 seconds. Rabbi, are you optimistic generally about the world?

KUSHNER: I have to be. I'd have trouble getting up in the morning if I weren't, but, yes, I am.

KING: Dr. Hathout?

HATHOUT: I'm very optimistic.

CHOPRA: We need to create an alliance for peace consciousness in the world to renew ourselves right now.

KING: And, by the way, for more on that, it's

Are you optimistic, John?

MACARTHUR: I'm pessimistic on the direction of the world because it's going to disintegrate. The Bible prophetized that. I'm optimistic on what Jesus Christ can do in the life of any person who commits to him.

MANNING: God is alive and real, and the world is going to move in a powerful way through the power of God's love, which is overcoming everything.

KING: Despite all the tragedy.

MANNING: Amen! If God is -- good is so much more powerful than evil.

KING: Thank you all very much. I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.


KING: Scott Peterson will be arraigned in Modesto, California, tomorrow, charged with the murder of his wife and unborn child, and we'll have a major panel discussion on this fascinating matter. The Scott Peterson case will be discussed tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE with a full panel of experts.

Following next is "CNN SUNDAY" with Anderson Cooper. But, before Anderson Cooper hosts "CNN SUNDAY," Anderson Cooper hosts himself with the news headlines. A double dose of Anderson Cooper next.

Thanks for joining us, and good night.


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