Unthinkable Hubris: O’Reilly Hears the Holy Spirit

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Bill O’Reilly points toward the inspiration for his latest work–the Holy Spirit.

“All of the ideas come to me in the middle of the night; and one night, I just woke up and I thought, “Killing Jesus”!  And I believe, because I’m a Catholic, that my inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit.”

–Bill O’Reilly, discussing his irreverent new book, “Killing Jesus”

 God told him to do it. 

That’s what Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly thinks.  In an interview which will air at 7:00 p.m. Sunday on CBS, O’Reilly tells 60 Minutes interviewer Norah O’Donnell that he wrote Killing Jesus under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve watched the preview clip over and over.  Each time I hear his explanation, I react like this:

Killing Jesus:  A History, published by Henry Holt and Co., is not religious.  In fact, it contradicts the Bible.  O’Reilly, who has a B.A. in history, believes that much of the Bible is allegorical, and the New Testament gospels contradict one another.  He wanted to write about Jesus of Nazareth from a historical perspective, while making no theological claims.

Interviewer Norah O’Donnell seems surprised, as well.  “And why would the Holy Spirit choose you?” she asks.  “You are suggesting that you are the Chosen One, Bill.”

For Killing Jesus, O’Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard received a $10 million advance.   O’Reilly makes light of it, though, asserting that he’s not “special.”  In the 60 Minutes interview, he tells O’Donnell,

“I’m just one of many who have been given gifts. I can write. I can bloviate on TV. So I’m trying to use the gifts in a positive way. And I believe that’s all direct and that’s why I’m here on the planet.”

You can watch the preview here, or see the entire interview on CBS at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, September 29.

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  • Donald P Malin

    Oh well, he is not the first to claim that his ideas come from God. However, many of those folk are in jail for unspeakable crimes, or in mental institutions. Yet others are saints. This is why the Church has always insisted that individuals not be the last arbiter in things regarding Divine Revelation. A few of the basic tenants of the Church’s aprobation processes is whether it 1) accords with Scripture, 2) whether it accords with the Apostolic Tradition, and 3) whether it accords with the magisterium of the Church. I can tell you that Mr. O’Reilly’s opinions have diverged from these numerous times. Just because one claims inspiration from the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t mean that it IS from the Holy Spirit.

  • I like Bill O’Reilly, but I have found a number of occasions where his understanding of Catholicism is lacking. He’s a typical Catholic man on the street, which means he doesn’t know his own religion. I doubt his book is going to be very profound.

    • Cminor

      Based on the quote Joanne McPortland pulled from this interview in her post on Egregious Twaddle, I wondered how thorough his research job was. The pop hypothesises about the physiological effects of crucifixion that he seems to have accepted without question (and upon which his assertion that Christ didn’t speak from the cross depends) weren’t actually subjected to anything resembling rigorous analysis until recently, and they didn’t hold up. You’d think he’d at least be aware, having just published a historical (!) work on the subject, that the question was open to dispute. I don’t follow O’Reilly, but I’ve observed on a few occasions that something he said was brought to my attention that he seems to suffer from a consistent tendency to neglect doing his homework.