Some people are too ‘smrt’ for their own good

Popular biologist Richard Dawkins is known for his contempt for all things religious.  In his recent interview with the UK’s The Guardian, he had this to say, via The Blaze:

Jesus was a great moral teacher and I was suggesting that somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.

Obviously Dawkins does not believe God exists, and by extension, Jesus was most certainly not God.  But to go so far as to say Jesus would have been an Atheist overlooks a few seemingly obvious points.  First, I agree with C.S. Lewis when he argues that if Jesus was not God, He was not then, a great moral teacher.  Great moral teachers don’t lie about being God incarnate in an effort to convert a religious people away from their God in order to then worship Himself.  After all, no one seems to be bestowing ‘good moral teacher’ upon the likes of Sun Myung Moon, he is considered to be somewhat of a charlatan.  So I’d be curious as to what Dawkins finds so good and moral about Jesus.  Surely it’s not His insistence on a belief and trust in God.

Second, there are scores of very intelligent Christians who are scientists and philosophers.  Is Dawkins implying — or directly stating — that they are not intelligent?  Many great minds have affirmed a belief in God, and Christianity in particular.  I assume Dawkins is not intending any intentional insult toward obviously brilliant men, but I can say I am sure in the back of his mind, he no doubt counts these men fools.

I am also curious as to whether Dawkins believes Jesus would accept complex scientific explanations for the origin of life:  Aliens.

Yes, it seems some people are too smart for their own good.  And for those of you who didn’t get the reference in the title:


  1. You beat me to the blog punch with this story. I do have a comment on the blaze website on this story. You might recognize my points I made there. Lord liar lunatic.

    • I don’t think Atheists really have thought about the ‘good moral teacher’ praise very much. He claimed to be God, He told people they’d go to hell if they didn’t believe in the right God, He told people they were guilty of sin, He affirmed the teachings of the OT. Basically every thing Atheists abhor about Christians, Jesus was guilty of Himself.

  2. Jesus never claimed to be a “good moral teacher.” In fact Jesus said that he didn’t intend to bring peace but a sword. He knew his claims would be divisive to those who hate him and life to those who love him.

  3. (1) Dawkins is foolish if he hold contempt for *all* things religious — and I am an atheist. Religion is much bigger than just stories about miracles and gods.

    (2) If a real Jesus could be seen outside of the mythologized gospel stories, I doubt he was a “Great moral teacher.” He felt the end was coming and therefore you need to give up money and family and get ready to being lifted into heaven. No wonder he himself was surprised when he was executed.

    (3) I doubt Jesus ever claimed to be a god — that was later authors.

    (4) Lots of great moral teachers seen in the Buddha and Gandhi and others — they were certainly more moral that Jesus — if you need morality as a measure.

    So I agree with your question when you ask:

    So I’d be curious as to what Dawkins finds so good and moral about Jesus. Surely it’s not His insistence on a belief and trust in God.

    Finally, research seems to illustrate that the brighter people are, the better they are at fooling themselves.

  4. John Barron:

    Any position counter to number 2 or 3 also have no evidence. We are in the no-evidence realm. Speculation is the playground for fiction.

    • Actually, the New Testament accounts are evidence. They cannot be dismissed simply because they are religious texts. There is evidence that the Gospel accounts are early, mid-first century documents. But this is my fault for bringing this somewhere the post had not gone.

  5. @ John Barron
    Actually, the New Testament accounts are indeed evidence — but minimal evidence . Sure they are evidence, but no more “evidence” than the Mahabharata is evidence of Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot or the Annales Cambriae is evidence that King Arthur ruled England or The Odyssey is evidence that Odysseus fought a giant cyclops.

    Just saying so, don’t make it so. The analysis has to go much deeper. But you are right, we can drop this discussion on this thread.

  6. oh Dawkins… modern scholarship largely agrees with him and the God Dawkins criticizes I too criticize.

    Yet I don’t agree with his process and outlandish statements like this. It’s like being angry at doctors because in the 18th century bled their patients to release the evil spirits/realign “the humors.” This fact does not mean that modern medicine still embraces these ideas.

    Because uneducated people and even some educated, but fragile people still cling to a fundamentalist literalism, does not mean that this is what Christianity means.

    • I guess it all depends on what you mean by ‘fundamentalist literalism’. From the sound of it, you also believe “real Christianity” is fluid and changes with the times?

  7. What do you think I mean by ‘fundamentalist literalism’?

    “you also believe “real Christianity” is fluid and changes with the times?”
    -all living things adapt. As Reggie Joiner states: “Have you ever noticed that the nature of spiritual truth is often highlighted by what is temporary? Have you ever considered the possibility that change makes the best platform to demonstrate what is eternal? Change is not the enemy of what is sacred, change is the champion of what is sacred. You must change constantly if you want to champion what is constant.”

  8. “#’s 2 and 3 have zero evidence for your claims. Only speculation. ”

    Actually, Sabio’s view is also the view of many New Testament scholars – based on the evidence of the Gospels themselves. You should inform yourself, John. Read some works by James D.G. Dunn or John P. Meier. These (Christian) scholars recognize that Jesus never made those claims.

    See here for an overview of what contemporary NT scholars say about how views of Jesus changed during the first decades of Christianity:

    • Robert

      I am aware of other points of view and I find them wanting, which is why I don’t hold them myself. A more accurate statement would have been is “a few contemporary scholars…” those two do not represent the majority opinion of how to determine authentic teachings of Jesus. Guilty until proven innocent is a poor method of determining something like that

      Can I also presume that you will give credence to scholarship opinion that I direct you to? Or are only skeptical scholars credible and in biased.

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