You may have heard that the illustrious Scripture scholar, Richard Dawkins (also known in some circles as Richard Dawkins, bedazzling philosopher, ahem), recently pronounced the following finding, based on years of, well, being a humility-challenged atheist:

“Jesus was a great moral teacher,” Dawkins said. “Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”

That’s surely debatable, especially since it’s not evident in the least that the sinless Son of God would be willing to sacrifice his perfect humility for a pot of prideful porridge made by the preening professor (Quick! Say that ten times, very quickly: “A pot of prideful porridge made by the preening professor”.)

William Oddie remarks in The Catholic Herald about Dawkins’ most recent statement:

I love this kind of thing; I have a taste for the grotesque. Here is Jesus, a “moral teacher”, the authority of whose entire teaching derived, from the beginning, from the fact that he didn’t just believe in the existence of God the Father as a kind of add-on, compulsory at the time, but from the fact that he Himself and the Father were one: and Dawkins says that if Jesus had only known what we know today, he would have been an atheist. Of course, he is well aware of the “oxymoronic” nature of his statement; as he explained in an essaywritten in 2006, “In a society where the majority of theists are at least nominally Christian, the two words are treated as near synonyms. Bertrand Russell’s famous advocacy of atheism was called Why I am not a Christian rather than, as it probably should have been, Why I am not a theist. All Christians are theists, it seems to go without saying.” (He later points to the example of an atheist bishop, the former Anglican Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, to prove that it ain’t necessarily so, though the preposterous Holloway describes himself as a “post-Christian”, even as a “recovering Chistian”).

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