Kay Warren
Executive Director, HIV/AIDS Initiative, Saddleback Church

Is there a clash of civilizations?

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It's the same story: estrangement from God.

Kay Warren

Kay Warren is an evangelical leader, author, AIDS activist, and co-founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with her husband, Rick, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with just a single family to fill the pews. Today it has 120-acre campus, 22,000 weekly attendees, and has provided spiritual guidance and source material to over 400,000 ministers worldwide.

In 2002, Warren became "seriously disturbed" by the scope of the AIDS epidemic; she has since set up an AIDS ministry at Saddleback and spoken out about the disease around the world. Warren is the co-founder and co-director (with her husband) of The Global PEACE Fund, which fights poverty, disease, and illiteracy.

Warren has spoken to the United Nations Global Coalition on Women and AIDS. In 2006, Warren was among eight women honored for their humanitarian efforts at the CNN Inspire Summit. Warren is the author of Foundations Participant's Guide and Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God.


Question: Is there a clash of civilizations?

Warren: A clash of civilizations? I . . . You know I think when you boil all of the struggles that we face around the world – not just in the Middle East, not just in Africa, not in the United States – when you just look at the human condition; when you really look at us as human beings, it goes back to that kingdom of me. I don’t believe we’re basically good. I know that some people believe . . . There are a lot of people who believe we’re basically good with the capacity for evil. But I actually believe the opposite is true. I believe that we are each of us born with that kingdom of me reigning very strongly in our lives; looking out for number one; looking out for ourselves. And because we are self-centered, self-absorbed creatures, I think that we are basically born with an evil bent with the capacity for good when we are in relationship with God. I think being in a relationship with God is really the only way to deal . . . kind of deal this death blow to that part of me that only wants what’s good for me. So I think what’s happening in the Middle East without dealing with all the complexities of that, which I’m certainly not qualified to deal with, is to just say at the heart of it is at the heart of every conflict that’s ever happened between any groups of people ever – individuals or on a country level – is that somewhere in the bottom of it is the interest of self. And when the interest of self is there that’s greater than the interest of others, wars ensue. Conflicts happen. It’s inevitable. It is what will happen.

Recorded on: 12/11/07