It’s not often that prominent atheists shower words of praise upon Jesus Christ and the Bible, but author Philip Pullman, 66, a non-believer who penned the “His Dark Materials” trilogy, is heralding Christianity’s central figure as a storytelling “genius” whom children can learn a great deal from.

This is particularly surprising, because Pullman is active in the atheist movement. As The Christian Post reports, he’s an honorary associate of the National Secular Society and he supports the British Humanist Association. Both groups, of course, are committed to the spread and sustainability of non-belief.

Philip Pullman: Jesus Was a Genius Storyteller and Kids Can Learn From the Bible

Author Philip Pullman (Credit: AP)

And the author has other intense ties to anti-religious efforts.

As Snopes notes, “The Golden Compass” feature film that came out in 2007 was based upon Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series — books with anti-religious themes. In a 2001 interview with the Washington Post, Pullman admitted that he was using his work to “undermine the basis of Christian belief.”

The Australian reports that he also wrote a novel called “The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ” (based on the title, you can likely tell it was a contentious book).

That’s why Pullman’s comments as presented in The Australian are so captivating. While speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival, he seemed to paint a very different picture from past claims against the Christian faith. In addition to praising Jesus, he talked about the importance of children learning the stories present in the Bible.

“Jesus was a great storyteller,” he said, according to the outlet. “To invent the story about the Good Samaritan, you hear it once, you never forget it, you tell it to somebody else and it still has the same effect.”

Of course, Pullman isn’t defending Jesus’ teachings as truth and, as an atheist, he certainly doesn’t believe the theological ideals present in the holy book. That said, he told reporters (speaking about Jesus) that, “The man was a genius of storytelling, if nothing else.”

The author also noted his belief that it is “very important” for children to have familiarity with classic folk tales, Greek mythology and the Bible.

So, while he may have some disdain for the Christian faith, it seems he at least admires Jesus’ story-telling skills and believes that the Bible has some potential to help in youths’ learning process.

(H/T: Christian Post)

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