Richard Dawkins: ‘Jesus Would Have Been an Atheist if He Had Known What We Know Today’

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins isn’t a fan of religion — and he’s not afraid to show it.

In a recent interview with the The Guardian’s John Harris, Dawkins said, about faith and religion, “It’s infectious. It’s something that grips the mind in the same way that a conventional virus grips the body.”

But that, of course, is par for the course with Dawkins, who has made a career out of opposing any institution that embraces a higher power. A different comment he made, though, is sure to ruffle some feathers. When discussing Jesus Christ, he said:

“I wrote [an] article called ‘Atheists for Jesus,’ I think it was… Somebody gave me a t-shirt: ‘Atheists for Jesus.’ Well, the point was that 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.”

Clearly, Dawkins doesn’t believe that Jesus is God’s son — a central element of Christian theology. But to state that Jesus would have been an atheist, especially to someone who does, indeed, embrace religion, would likely be seen as offensive.

Dawkins, though, has never distinguished himself as someone who worries about hurting peoples’ feelings. And in his defense, if he believes Jesus was merely a man, he at least sees him as “intelligent” and “a great moral teacher.” You can hear the entire interview, including this comment, here.

In another intriguing statement, Dawkins did insinuate that there’s a slight possibility that God exists, but he said he views the likelihood with the same level of scrutiny that he would fairies and werewolves. He told Harris the following:

“In The God Delusion, I made a seven-point scale. One was total conviction that there is a God and seven is total conviction that there isn’t. And I put myself as a six. OK? So, that is kind of agnostic but veering towards atheist. And I would be a six in respect to fairies and pixies and werewolves and things like that.”

Watch these comments (unfortunately, his thoughts about Jesus’ purported atheism aren’t included here), below:

(H/T: The Raw Story)