The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Panel Discusses Religion In Modern Times

Aired September 29, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, why is there so much anger, hate, and horror in the world? Religious and spiritual leaders speak out on war, terrorism, politics, the gay marriage debate and more. With us for the hour and taking your calls Reverend R. Albert Mohler, Junior, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Deepak Chopra, the world-renowned spiritual adviser and best-selling author, Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of the internationally syndicated show, "The Word and the World," Dennis Prager, the nationally syndicated radio host and co-author of many bestsellers on Judaism like "Why the Jews, The Reason For Anti-Semitism." And Dr. Maher Hathout, scholar and senior adviser to the Muslim Public Affairs Council. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: A lot of deep topics to get into tonight. The first of which is why so much anger in the world today. We'll start with this go around with Dennis Prager. Is there more today? More people, more hostility, I don't like you?

DENNIS PRAGER, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: We're tempted to think that way, but frankly, given that the last century saw World War I, World War II, Holocaust, genocide in Africa as well as the Holocaust, I don't think that there's more anger today frankly.

KING: Nothing's new?

PRAGER: I think there are things new but I don't think anger is one of them. There are no boundaries to evil today that tended to exist in the past. Terror in the past, for example, they wouldn't kill kids. There were rules. In that sense, there's something new. But this is the century now of religious evil. We had the century of secular evil in the 20th century.

KING: Dr. Mohler, what are your thoughts, is there more today or is Dennis Prager right?

REV. R. ALBERT MOHLER JR., PRES., SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: I think Dennis is right as on some of the other things. I think here you have a situation in which you can look back to the pages of the Bible and find in the book of Genesis where Cain killed Abel, the very beginnings of violence, one human against the other and I think it's reduceable to the one very short explanation, which is sin. The moment we rebelled against our creator, enmity and hatred entered human existence and I believe it will continue unfortunately and regrettably until the Prince of Peace comes to settle peace and until then I think we have to expect there will be enmity, war, hatred, and we're going to have to do our best to tell the truth in the midst of this.

KING: Dr. Maher Nathout, if God is omnipotent, why doesn't he stop it?

DR. MAHER NATHOUT, MUSLIM SCHOLAR: He's not supposed to, because life is a package with good and bad. He gave us the power to choose and he gave us the inspiration to be good, and the ability to be bad. If we want. It is his divine will.

KING: So it's his divine will children die?

NATHOUT: It's his divine will we make choices and try to prevent that from happening. Some of us unfortunately, will make that happen. It is our responsibility as people who believe in God to stop it.

KING: Deepak Chopra is with us from Keto (ph), Ecuador tonight. What do you think? Is Dennis right? Is it just more of the same? Maybe some little things different but basically, it's been going on?

DR. DEEPAK CHOPRA, M.D., SPIRITUAL ADVISER: What's different is that we have the same ancient habits Dennis is talking about but we have modern capacities. The combination of ancient habits and modern capacities is devastating. This time, either all of us will survive or no one will survive. What happens in human beings is that there are seeds in the depths of our consciousness, there are seeds of fear, anger, and delusion. There are also the seeds of love, compassion, and understanding. When we have the perception of injustice, when we have the perception of unforgivable harm, then the seeds of fear, anger and delusion take over and what manifests is what we call evil. That evil is the collective rage of the sub-conscious mind of humanity that perceives injustice.

KING: Father Manning, what do you make of, for example, beheadings, children in Russia. What's going on?

FATHER MICHAEL MANNING, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST: It's a sick world that's being overwhelmed, I think, by words like prejudice and racism.

KING: Not new words.

MANNING: Not new words but it gets to a depth of deep insecurity and, of course, the media is able to magnify things in a great way. The bottom line has to be, in the midst of all our insecurity, the deep awareness that God loves us. I don't have to prove to you that I'm better than you are, that I'm better than you are becomes the basis of, I'm going to go to war in Iraq, I'm going to go against Muslims, I'm going against Jews, I'm going against others. It needs to be a deep awareness in our hearts that we're loved by God and I don't have to prove that I'm better than you are.

PRAGER: Manny and I have known each another for years and we have differences. We are better than our enemies, I don't mean you and me individually, our enemies are beautiful people. Russians have beautiful people, the Nazis, there were beautiful Germans. But American society has produced a more moral society than those who hate us. If we can't make that clear...

KING: It is black-and-white.

PRAGER: It is clear if black and white is your term. It certainly isn't gray.

KING: Good and evil.

PRAGER: We have produced a better society. We treat women better, we treat gay people better, we treat poor people better.

KING: How about those people in Iraq that treated those prisoners that way. There are people that did wrong.

PRAGER: Yes, they did wrong. I said there are individuals -- individual bad exists everywhere. You have to judge a society by the collective goodness. Not by individuals.

MANNING: How do you say that to an Iraqi who is all of a sudden being bombed out of existence and say, my family and they say these are American bombs, how do you say you have to understand we're superior to you?

CHOPRA: You just say collateral damage. Sorry. What we call collateral damage is perceived as terrorism.

NATHOUT: I'd like to go to what Dennis is saying. Is there more anger in the world? I think there is because there are more issues that are becoming known to a vast majority of people who didn't know about them, having there been evolution of communication. When Cain killed Abel, the people next door didn't know. But now when something terrible is happening, all of us know and react to it. Some of us act maturely and some act immaturely. The second point I'd like to say is we are better than them? I think this is a very slippery slope. Number one, we have to decide who are we and who are them that we're talking about? When they throw it like that, it means we Americans are better than others. We westerners are better than others. This is not conducive of the kind of debate and dialogue that can be...

KING: As Father Manning pointed out, isn't it all your own perspective? Let's say you're a citizen of Iraq, nice guy, hard worker, you lived under Saddam Hussein, you had no choice. One day, a bomb comes from the United States, good people, nice people, wiped out your home and family. How are you supposed to feel?

MOHLER: I suppose you would feel very much under attack and threatened. It goes back to whether war is ever justified. In our very best, in other words, when we're trying to do our best to do what is right, we're going to mess up. That's why we need a very strong understanding of sin. That's why even in a war, fighting for a righteous cause, there are going to be horrible things that will take place. That's why we can't glory in war.

KING: If it was your house, you wouldn't say that, you wouldn't say to war?

MOHLER: I think we need to be very honest, it is as awful as it appears. If it's bombing your house, your suffering is just as real as anyone's house. There's no conceivable world picture in a world of sin in which these things do not happen. We can't be shocked when these things happen. We have to do our best to use moral reasoning based on the word of God to figure out how to do the least worst thing and try to do good. But left to our own devices we'll mess it up every single time.

KING: I want to take a break and when we come back a lot of people have said that religion is the root of the problem, not the cure. Don't go away.


KING: Start with Father Manning. How about those who say everybody who fights a war, God's on their side. God was on Hitler's side. God was on the side of the people on 9/11 they all said. They were for God.

MANNING: That's one of the dangers of religion and one of the causes of the problem.

If God is on my side, I can do anything.

KING: They all say it.

KING: So I've to be careful that my orientation is not -- I don't care what you say, I'm on God's side. I'm going to put you down. My orientation is I have to listen to you. I have to respect you. I have to try as best I can to bring out the truth...

KING: Isn't religion sometimes at the core...

MANNING: Of course it is, the history of the Crusades and the Inquisition and it was a religion move in this way. We have to move away from that of saying God is on my side and really search for God, I believe.

KING: You have to change then.

MANNING: Views of other people, sure.

KING: Deepak, what do you think?

CHOPRA: What do I think? I think our ideas about God are based on primitive ideas. We haven't kept up with what evolution has to say, with what science has to say. Certainly there is evidence that there is an underlying creative intelligent principle at the heart of nature. But to say my God is ethnocentric, bigoted, racist and prejudiced against your God is not to really understand the true nature of reality. We're still very tribal in our understanding of God. As you said a little while ago, the history of war is also the history of religion. I think God gave humans the truth and then some diabolical force said, let's organize it and we'll call it religion. KING: Mark Twain.

PRAGER: That's too bad. Let me say for the record, far, far more people have been murdered and tortured by secular ideologies than all the religions of all the world in all the history. So it is nonsense, it is widespread...

CHOPRA: It is human nature, it is human nature to react.

KING: Hitler quoted God. Quoted God.

PRAGER: It's irrelevant.

KING: God was on his side.

PRAGER: But you said religion, not God. Let's first talk religion. He was not religious, he was anti-religious. Nazism was a secular doctrine, communism was, and any evils that have been done, it's ironic, here is a Catholic speaking about the Crusades and the Inquisition. Here's a Jew to tell you that in the entire to 200, 300 years of the Inquisition, it was in the thousands the number of people the inquisitors killed. It was horrible but it was Boy Scout work compared to the communists and Nazis. I far more fear a world without God than a world with religion and God.

NATHOUT: I have to agree with Dennis on that.

KING: Deepak, hold on. I know it's difficult because you're in Ecuador. But wait until I call on you.

NATHOUT: Religion is for no reason getting very bad press of the issue. Not that there are not people that exploit religion and use it to justify killing but people have killed in the name of liberty, democracy, in the name of so many things. So it's not just religion, what I'm afraid, this argument, let's kick the religion out and we live in a world, as Dennis says, in a world without religion, without God, which would be terrible.

KING: Do you question your faith when you see all those children in Russia killed?

NATHOUT: No. I question those criminals who did that. The issue of God is on one side, is anti-religious statement. The whole idea of religion is you on the side of God, not the other way around.

KING: Deepak, you were going to say?

CHOPRA: I was going to say, I feel the presence of God, I feel the presence of truth, beauty, goodness, evolution, love, compassion, understanding, insight, inspiration, creativity, intuition, meaning and purpose. And if that is God, then, of course, I want God in my life, I want God in everyone's life. The problem with religious institutions is they make a dogma, an ideology of their viewpoint and then they go to war. I agree, in the name of secular institutions, there's been a lot of violence. Human beings are violent people. We have the seeds of fear and anger and violence in us. That's part of our primitive origins.

We develop something called the flight-fight response. As we mature from being an immature, part of an immature ecosystem into an ecosystem which is more mature, we'll have to make some really conscious choices. Those conscious choices are are we going to continue to behave the way we've behaved for thousands of years or are we going to develop a critical mass of consciousness that is going to say that, you know, we're all in this together. There's no us versus them.

KING: Dr. Mohler, you believe that Christianity is the right way, correct?

MOHLER: That's right. I'm a Christian believer, a Christian theologian. I have to say against Deepak there, I don't think our consciousness is evolving. If it is, it's going in the wrong direction. We're completely accountable to God's revelation scripture. You're exactly right when you point to all these atrocities in the name of religion, human beings, our sinfulness will mess everything up including religion that's why I believe we're entirely dependent upon God's self revelation in the Bible, otherwise we'll mess it up ourselves.

KING: Dr. Mohler, the hijackers on 9/11 believed in their religion as strongly as you believe in yours. How do you respond to that? They gave their life for their beliefs.

MOHLER: I understand they were fervent believers. If the strength of belief is the test, then everyone from Kamikazes to the secular ideologues would be understood as people of faith.

KING: So what is the test?

MOHLER: The question is whether we've got it right. On the basis of God's revelation and scripture, I have to take my stand as a Christian on the truth claim that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the light and no man comes to the father but by him and I have no right to negotiate...

PRAGER: The answer to what is the test...

KING: You don't believe what he just said, Jesus Christ is the truth.

PRAGER: No. But I think he and his fellow Christians pass your test. By and large the Christians of America have made a particularly good society. That's the reason that as a Jew I am not happy to see Christianity in any way disappear in this country.

It has made a uniquely decent place, what we called Judeo- Christian values. So your test is the fruit. The fruit is the test. You can tell me your religion is beautiful, I want to know how you act. You could tell me your secular ideas are beautiful. I rejected secularism at Columbia University where I was a graduate student. I saw the moronic that my professors were believing in, Marxism, and the moral equation of America and the Soviet Union. After all who were we to judge the Soviets, who says we're any better. They told me men and women were basically the same and I saw so much nonsense that I finally realized something I had learned something in Hebrew School as a kid was true. What it says in Psalms that wisdom begins when you have all of God. No God, no wisdom. That to me is a given. There are people who believe in God who are unwise and evil.

KING: And atheists who are wonderful.

PRAGER: Wonderful but there is no wisdom in the secular world, I'm sorry to say.

KING: No wisdom.

PRAGER: That is correct. The university is the dumbest place in America when it comes to wisdom. They have a lot of facts, so does my computer and no wisdom. Most Americans believe that. William Buckley said many years ago, "I'd rather be governed by the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than 100 Harvard professors." Most Americans would agree with that.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with our panel. We'll be including your phone calls. Other areas to discuss, too. Don't go away.


KING: I looked up the first hundred names in the Boston phone book, I think I'll take the Harvard.


KING: There is so many area's to discuss. How about dogma? Doesn't that get -- a gay person is a sinner, why?

MANNING: A gay person isn't necessarily a sinner, I don't believe that. I don't believe in the direction that we're going with gay marriages.

KING: Why is a person's sexual proclivity, male to female, male to male your business?

MANNING: Well, relationships with other people. Jesus is concerned that we love other people and we even love our enemy.

PRAGER: It's my business because my religion directs to offer and ideal to aspire to.

KING: Don't you question it?

PRAGER: I do. I have questioned it my whole life and come to believe it's right more often than I am.

KING: But if you think that, lets say, two men can love each other.

PRAGER: Undoubtedly, there's no doubt in my mind two men can love each other.

KING: Why is that a sin?

PRAGER: I believe God has made it an order in the universe where meal and female this is ideal. That doesn't mean the non-ideal cannot exist beautifully. The ideal is for a child to have mother and father. The ideal is for a man and woman to bond. In some cases it can't happen. To me that's sad. These people are beautiful people, but I have to offer an ideal.

What if three people love each other?

Do you offer two people ideal?

What if three love each other, what if a brother and sister love each another?

KING: Dr. Mohler, what are your thoughts on the gay situation?

MOHLER: As Christians it's not that we want less than homosexuals want for themselves, we want more. At the very center of my understanding of all these things, there is a creator, a sovereign wonderful creator who has lovingly given us his design in creation, both in terms of creation itself and explicitly in his is word. And told us that the very center of what it means to be man is to look to woman and as to woman, to look to man for completion and complimentary in the institution of marriage. I believe anything short of that, any thing that violates that, anything that breaks God's law and violates God's plan leads not to happiness but to unhappiness, not to wholesomeness but to unwholesomeness. And eventually brings judgment not only the individual, but the society that would tolerate, much less celebrate it.

KING: What do Muslims believe regarding this?

NATHOUT: I have to answer that in three aspects. First number one, sexual relations are a private kind of relations. They are -- I am not supposed to come and tell you I am a heterosexual. I am not supposed to from an Islamic perspective. This is not a community issue, this a private matter. The more I look what's happening in our country, and the more I reminisce about the way I used to, I am shocked.

Why do people talk too much about their sexual life and sexual preference? Why does we have...

KING: Why does the Bible talk so much?

NATHOUT: He's guiding people to do it in a certain way. But to consider it a community issue is, to me, is very strange. Number two, inclinations are inclinations. God will not, I guess, will not hold people accountable to the way they are inclined. We are talking behavior, and construction of a society. I agree with Dennis that society will be constructed better with a man and woman to promote life and get children. Anything else is none of my business. I shouldn't even know about it. KING: And that's what your faith teaches?

NATHOUT: Yes. That's exactly...

KING: Deepak, what do you think?

NATHOUT: He didn't hear you.

KING: Deepak, you do hear me?

CHOPRA: Oh, yes. You're asking me? It's ironic, Larry, that we live in a society where the divorce rate is 50 percent, where the institution of marriage is going downhill, there are 40 percent less marriages now than a few years ago, and we are so hypocritical about people who want to make a commitment and sanctify that commitment through a sacrament. I think all this self-righteous morality is just jealousy with a halo and hypocrisy. I think people should decide what they want. And if they want to sanctify their comment to each other and love, then we have no right to...

KING: What about Dennis' point?

What if three people want to do it together? What if a brother and sister?

CHOPRA: We're talking about people deeply committed to each other in the spirit of love. That's why they want to -- that why they want to sanctify it through a sacrament in a society which is getting away from all of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't mention...


KING: That wasn't the question. What if three people, two men and a woman, two woman and a man three women, all love each other they want to sanctify it as three-part relationship?

CHOPRA: I think that kind of behavior has not been part of society through history, whereas homosexual behavior is very much part of society, throughout history.

KING: I see. OK. Fair answer, Dennis. Much more accepted part of society.

PRAGER: I don't know if it's fair, it's just not true!

Polygamy is far more prevalent than homosexuality has been. I just don't know where he comes off saying that. It has been common through history, Utah was banned from entering the union until it outlawed polygamy. It is common through all societies. But our religious tradition said that the ideal is one man and one woman. That is as arbitrary as -- as the number as male/female.

KING: A gay couple want to marry, therefore they want to participate in this society you have told them is great, you tell them they can't.

PRAGER: That's right.

KING: Why?

PRAGER: They can -- they can love each other.


PRAGER: That's correct. Marriage -- marriage is reserved just as marriage is reserved for one man and woman or not a men and two women or brother and sister or father and daughter, it is reserved to male/female. First of all, we want to set an ideal. I believe that human beings can go in many directions sexually. I think it is nonsense that we are absolutely fixed. How do you explain all the homosexual conduct in prison if in fact, men are either absolutely heterosexual or absolutely homosexual. We can go in many directions especially females for whom sex is mostly tenderness, and affection and love. If we start announcing and giving models of same sex love as in way no different from opposite sex love, far more people will choose it.

KING: Your church has probably been the strongest?

MANNING: Very strong against it.

KING: How do you feel.

MANNING: Well, personally feel that we need to respect a person in their own heart struggling as best they can to try to be faithful to what they feel. I feel that there can be a relationship between two people of the same sex that can be very real and very positive.

KING: But what about marriage?

MANNING: But we need to pull away from the sexual commitment involved, the friendship, the intimacy, the caring.

KING: But not marriage?

MANNING: But not marriage.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be right back. Your calls will be included. We're just skimming the surface, we'll do a lot more programs like this. Don't go away.


KING: We're back.

Lets reintroduce the panel. In Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. R. Albert Molher Jr. Reveren Mohler is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In Quito, Ecuador, "The New York Times" best selling author, Deepak Chopra. His new book is "The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life."

And in here in Los Angeles, Father Michael Manning, Roman Catholic priest, host of "The Word and the World," seen on Trinity Broadcasting.

Dennis Prager, host of the nationally syndicated radio program and the author numerous books, including "Nine Questions People Ask About Judism" and "Why the Jews: The Reason for Anti-Semitism"?

And Dr. Maher Nathout, he is Muslim scholar and retired physician, author of "Jihad Versus terrorism." Senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Let's go to some calls. Danville, Kentucky.

CALLER: My question is for Dr. Mohler. What I want to know Dr. Mohler, what are your thoughts on this recent development of churches and other religious institutions making their membership roles available to political campaigns for usage?

KING: Good question.

MOHLER: Good question. I think that's an advocation of the churches autonomy and the Lordship Christ. Quite frankly, we can be co-opped (ph) by any political organization. And For a minister to turn over a membership list to any organization, I would say outside that church, is a spiritual malpractice. And quite frankly, this has been a controversy that has been boiling for some time, and it's a good time to put it on the air. No evangelical faithful paster, no one who is a faithful pasture attending his flock should turn that membership list to anyone for any political purpose, period. I don't know of any better way to put it.


KING: You agree with that? You to?

Everyone agrees.

OK, to Encinitas, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Larry, isn't it true the real reason for all this anger and war is for -- to get the peak oil, because we've reached peak oil? Even the oil industry says were running out of oil. Isn't it really all about that and not religion?

KING: In other words, we go where the oil is, Dennis but not let's say, where suffering is. We don't...

PRAGER: Do I look at you or the caller if I answer this?

PRAGER: Caller, it is very sad to me this is what you believe, that the United States of America would kill and be killed for oil.

Why do we protect Taiwan, does it have any oil?

Why did we I do in Korea, did it have any oil?

Why did we I do in Vietnam, did it have oil?

Why do we protect Israel, Israel has no oil. This country is actually animated, sometimes it may not be wise, but it animate by generally utterly decent values. We really would like to bring in freedom to the Arab world, because only then can we dry the well that produces the Islamic terror killing us.

KING: Should religion be involved in politics, father?

MANNING: Not at all.

KING: Not at all?

MANNING: We should be able to say what we want, not in terms of this party coming out Democrat or Republican.

KING: Should rabbis or priests and ministers endorse in the pulpit?

PRAGER: I don't have a huge problem. It depends. If they make it a fetish to politicize their pulpit, then I don't want to attend that synagogue in my case or church in a Christian's case. But I don't see a problem, if someone feels very passionately that -- in consonance with my religion values this is candidate, as a general rule it is not a wise idea.

KING: What do you think Dr.

MATHOUT: I think we're ignoring the law of the land. If you're tax-exempt, you lose your tax-exempt status if you advocate a politician. And based on that, I don't think any mosque or synagogue or church should do it unless they give up their tax-exempt status.

KING: Deepak, what do you think?

CHOPRA: Well, I think it's impossible to separate politics from everything else, from religion, politics, economics, they are all part of a tangled hierocracy. So, it's easy to say, you know, I'm going to separate my professional life from my personal life, my religious life from my political life, but you're a human being. And as a human being all those things are inextricably woven into each other. So, no matter what we decide, politics and religion will come together as they have, all over the world, in this country, as well as in the Islamic world.

KING: Dr. Mohler?

MOLHER: Well, I don't often agree with Deepak, I do I agree with him on that. There is a comprehensiveness, for instances, to the Christian truth claim. And coming from my world view, that God's truth is public truth, and it applies to every dimension of life. Sometimes that will touch politics. For instance, just take the current debate over same sex marriage. There's no way that the faithful church can be quiet about this, and of course, that will have public application. These are issues based by voters and advocated and contested by candidates, so there's a political dimension.

Here's the line. Ours is not a political message. Our main purpose is preaching of the gospel of the lord, Jesus Christ. We don't think politics can solve the problem, it can only mitigate and restrain evil. And we can't endorse candidates. That's something we ought not to do. But we have to endorse God's truth. We have to proclaim God's truth and apply it to every dimension of live. And sometimes that's going to sound political, sometimes it's going to be political. But it ought to be in the context of preaching the gospel and not of making politics the central issue, which it can't be.

KING: San Francisco.

CALLER: Yes. I said a little prayer while trying to get on the phone. It was busy, busy and I said a prayer.

PRAGER: What was the prayer? I know my listeners would like to know.

What was the prayer?

May I get through to Larry King?

CALLER: Yes. My prayer was God is -- you want me to speak my voice, I'll get through. And then all of a sudden the line opened up and I was on.

KING: What's the question.

CALLER: My question is do -- do -- does anybody see -- there is such a great focus now on our current world happenings as being more catastrophic, and -- and -- and a greater change. And...

KING: What's the question, dear?

CALLER: The question is, this -- do you see this as something that has been going on through -- throughout our history as humans here on this Earth?

KING: Have humans always been this way?

MANNING: Of course they have. Cain and Abel is the story of the battle that goes on. The question is, are we willing to fight the fight full of understanding and care and love.

KING: Have we lost the fight?

PRAGER: I have a big worry about the loss of will to fight evil in Western Europe. That to me would be losing the fight. That that's big difference between America and Europe today and a lot of Americans think like Europe's, that is, don't use the terms good and evil. There's something quaintly religious about that. When ever I've had Germans and French on my radio show, you Americans talk too much about good and meaning George Bush and those who agree with him. They don't talk about good and evil.

KING: That doesn't mean -- he could be wrong.

PRAGER: He could be wrong, but at least he's talking about it. We have declared what is happening in Sudan now as genocide. Europe will not declare it genocide. We are a better society than Europe for being able to say what's happening in Sudan now, 10,000 blacks a month butchered.

KING: What are we doing about it, as Colin Powell said?

PRAGER: If we do anything about it, the left in world will say we're being unilateral lists. See, if we don't do anything about it see, we don't do anything about it. If we do something about it, see we are acting alone.

KING: What does the right say?

PRAGER: What does the right say?

KING: The right-wing say? The right-wing over there pouring funds into (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

PRAGER: I would say probably right now Christians, and I'm a Jew, probably Christians from America are doing more to buy the freedom of Sudanese slaves than anybody else in the world.

HATHOUT: Here is another situation, where we can have a very complex issue and oversimplify it into they are bad, we are good. I think the situation in Darfur in Sudan is tragic. And I think something ought to be done about it.

The fact the Europeans are not calling it genocide, there is at least the probability that through their missions they sent there, did not find it to qualify to genocide. It is a tragedy, but by the legal or semi-legal term, they didn't want to call it genocide.

Whatever, I think one victim is as bad as 10,000, as bad as 1 million. And what's happening in Sudan should be stopped. Stopped how? By going, for example bump bombing Sudan? Or by putting Mr. Blamer (ph), again, in the government of Sudan so that we get more victims? This is an issue that needs to be dealt with up to its complexity. It is not as easy as that.

KING: Deepak.

CHOPRA: I think I agree with the last speaker, is that you have to address economic context, historical context, spiritual context, religious context, emotional context if you really want a solution to these problems. If you classify everybody as good and right, as we have a tendency to do in this country, then you immediately polarize the situation.

And before I cast a stone at somebody else, I really need to look at my own self and say, do I have the seed of evil inside me? Can I be the change that I wish to see in the world? Mahatma Ghandi used to says, there is no way to peace, peace is the way. And peace is powerful. Peace has its own organizing principles. You don't have to work with violence, you don't have to work through violence, you have to be a peaceful person yourself.

Can I be that peaceful person? Can I be peaceful, can I think peacefully, can I feel peacefully, can I act peacefully, can I create peace in my environment. If there are enough people like that in the world the world will transform.

PRAGER: Let me say, as human and as Jew, peaceful people did not liberate Auschwitz and the Nazi death camps, soldiers with guns did.

CHOPRA: But before they Nazi camp came, and Auschwitz came, for 25 years Hitler was declaring his anti-Semitism, and religious people stood aside and didn't do anything. And you know, we're talking about the Christian church as well.

KING: You're not kidding. That's true.

PRAGER: The Christian church has apologized.

KING: It didn't do anything.

PRAGER: Wait. Neither did Roosevelt.

KING: He didn't do anything.

PRAGER: OK. So fine. So, let's be fair.

Oh, I'm angry about it. By I don't -- if I allowed all evil to encompass me with anger, I would die tomorrow, I would self-destruct. I am angry about it. But it wasn't the church that built the gas chambers, it was the secular ideology that built the gas chambers.

KING: And when you don't do anything are you a complicitor?

PRAGER: Well, you are not a complicitor, but you have fought evil. But that's what I say to Europe now about Iraq. Are you a complicitor...

KING: Do you now fight Iran? Why not North Korea.

PRAGER: We may have to.

KING: Let's go. Let's bring it everywhere. Why not?

PRAGER: Because there are practical concerns, too.

KING: Ah. So, there's a hedge.

PRAGER: Of course, there is.

KING: So once you hedge, you're hedging on evil.

PRAGER: No, that's not true. That's like saying -- why do you have an institute to fight lung cancer? Why aren't you fighting pancreatic cancer? I can only do one cancer at a time.

KING: I've got to get a break. We'll come right back. Don't go away.


KING: Father just said we ought to get this discussion on TV. It is. Detroit, hello.

CALLER: Thanks, Larry. After 25 years of following you on radio and TV, first-time caller, also long time student of Deepak's. If I may each for Dr. Prager and Mohler. Dr. Prager said earlier that the U.S. is the highest evolution of society, how is such a statement perceived in say Sweden or Tibet, or Canada, most especially since most of the enemies we've warred against, we've either condoned or in fact manufactured as in Saddam and Osama.

And I also suggest that capitalism, the way we practice, is often, or more godless than some of other systems he mentioned.

And Dr. Mohler is the environment in fact, the creation? And regarding capital punishment, what would Jesus do?

KING: That's a lot of heavy questions.

PRAGER: Who do you want to begin, Dr. Mohler or I?

KING: Do the Swedes say they're are as good of a society as us?

PRAGER: First of all in Sweden, a lot of Swedes are convinced they have a morally superior society to us. And by the way, I have no problem with thinking that they have a better society than mine, none whatsoever. So long as they don't impose their values on me, I don't have a problem with that at all.

KING: Then why do you think we should impose our values on others?

PRAGER: Ah, because we are helping -- the same way we helped Germany produce something free, there is a point wherein, I think between totalitarian torture chambers and freedom, it is fairly clear which is better.

But I just want to say that I have no problem with the Swedes thinking that they have produced something better. And over time, let's see. However, Sweden cannot sustain its socialism. It cannot.

KING: Dr. Mohler, why do you support -- do you support capital punishment?

MOHLER: I do support Capital Punishment, because the scripture is so clear about it. Now, I want it applied in a fair and just way. But there's no doubt "The Bible" in the Old and New Testaments, not only allows but mandates capital punishment, because it affirms the fact that the willful taking of human life is the violation of God's law, God's plan and is to murder one who is made in the image of god.

KING: So Rome was correct when it murdered Christ.

MOHLER: No, it wasn't just. Christ had committed no crime.

KING: That's its law.

MOHLER: Let's put it this way, it was God's plan that Christ should die to pay the penalty of our sins so that he might accomplish our salvation. And so, the crucifixion of Christ...

KING: So he was supposed to died.

MOHLER: Jesus came to die, that's what he then himself said.

KING: So what, then, did he give? If that was the prophesy, and he was coming to die, with what did he die for if that was the plan?

MOHLER: He died for our sins, because his father sent him in order that he would die in our place as our substitute, shed his blood for the penalty for our sins so all who might believe in him might have life and life everlasting. He lived a sinless life.

KING: Why does the Pope oppose capital punishment?

MANNING: Opposed capital punishment, because in my experience, Jesus was one deeply concerned about the importance of life. The thrust towards life whether abortion, or whether it's the death penalty, we have to continually look to try to raise life, not get away from life.

KING: I have to take another break. We have to do more shows like this. I want to get each of these gentleman's thoughts on their faith in tomorrow. Don't go away.


KING: We have limited time here. Dr. Hathout, do you have faith things that things are going to be better tomorrow than they were today?

HATHOUT: Eventually. Not tomorrow, day after, after, after tomorrow.

KING: Tomorrow's too soon?

HATHOUT: Tomorrow's too soon. And I think we have a lot of work to do here in America, in our communication and understanding of ourselves and the world before we try to...

PRAGER: We will have a better tomorrow. And this is a very sensitive subject, because I adore this man. We have been in each other's lives for over a decade, well over a decade, 20 years I think. But I will say we will have a better tomorrow when the good Muslims like Maher Hathout take to the streets and demonstrate against Islamic evil. And that's the biggest guarantor of a better tomorrow I know of.

HATHOUT: It's happening, but not necessarily taking on the streets, because you cannot tell Muslims what to do to fight terrorists. We have a whole integrated plan that we submitted to the government called the grass root campaign to fight terrorists. And everybody saw it admired it. And we are working on it.

All what we wanted is guys, let American people know that there are Muslims who are doing this. And what we get instead is to be completely ignored, marginalized and to get Dennis Prager's anger on his show without giving us the chance to voice this.

PRAGER: He's on next week.

KING: Father Manning, do you have faith in tomorrow.

MANNING: I have faith in tomorrow, because, honestly, without trying to shine up to you look what's happening here, the five of us sitting here dialoguing, talking, not throwing bombs, being able to get angry, being able to laugh and come together.

KING: Why can't the world do that?

MANNING: Why can't we do that? Well, I think you're giving a good example. And I think we can do it on a smaller level if I can do this with my wife, with my husband, with my children.

PRAGER: The world can't do it, because the world isn't America.

MANNING: We're talking the big thing.

PRAGER: Because it's America. That's why. A Jew, a Muslim and Christian sit together and like each other is a quintessentially American phenomenon.

HATHOUT: Absolutely.

KING: Dr. Mohler, you've got faith in tomorrow? I can't hear Dr. Mohler?

MOHLER: Yes. In this world we will have trouble. But it's very clear God is sovereign, he's on his thrown. I look forward to that day that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of God, the father.

In this world, we will have trouble, but God is on his thrown and God will bring his victory through the prince of peace. That's the day I look forward to.

KING: Deepak?

CHOPRA: I believe that we will make things better if we commit ourselves to doing so. I want everyone who is listening to this program and watching us to know about the Alliance for the New Humanity, which is a group of Nobel Peace Laureates and other leaders in the world that are meeting in December 1 in Puerto Rico.

And people like Oscar Arias, Betty Williams, Nobel Laureates, philanthropists like Ray Chambers. There are a lot of people in the world who want to do good. We should become part of the peace army of the world. And then only we will be able to change things. And we should stop calling other people evil.

Am I optimistic? I will never give up hope, Larry. On the other hand, if we were wiped out, it wouldn't make a bit of difference to the universe. We're just a speck of dust in the mindless junk yard of infinity.

KING: Thanks, Deepak. That really revs me up for the days ahead. Got to make you feel good.

CHOPRA: What is a human being? A speck on the cosmic canvas.

PRAGER: That is the non-religious view, we are worthless, meaningless specks

KING: All of us worthless meaningless specks will now go on into the night. And happy Sukkah to you.

PRAGER: Thank you all very much. Happy holiday to Dennis Prager and to myself because we're both Jews and we celebrate Sukkah. Sukkah, right? This is a good holiday, this is a happy holiday.

I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night, and what we're going to do following the debate. Don't go away.

KING: Tomorrow night, we'll be on at 11:00 Eastern, 8:00 Pacific, following the debate, with Ann Richards, who has debated George Bush. William Weld who has debated John Kerry. David Gergen, Jorge Ramos, Candy Crowley, John McCain and Governor Howard Dean.

Traveling his way down the western United States, he's in San Francisco tonight, he'll be here tomorrow, my man Aaron Brown by the Golden Gate.


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.