Philip Pullman: Atheists can learn from Jesus without believing he was the son of God

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Author Philip Pullman. Photo by Chris Boland, via Flickr Commons.

Author Philip Pullman. Photo by Chris Boland, via Flickr Commons.

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World Humanist Congress speaker and "His Dark Materials" author Philip Pullman talks with RNS about atheism, Humanist funerals, and what atheists can learn from Jesus.

  • Thanks Chris

    Strange to call Jesus a moralist – to me he seems more of a mystic looking to transcend morals / rules / laws – comparable to Rumi.

    I also wonder what sort of atheist Pullman is….was his idea of ‘dust’ a purely fictional idea, or does he really think that somehow some sort of conscious ‘stuff’ unites and directs us all – which would make him a Stoic pantheist. Stoics also believed we all have an inner daemon, by the by – eudaimonia means ‘having a kindly daemon’, a bit like Pantalaimon!

    all best


  • He said this in an interview last year:

    ‘I like to say I’m a complete materialist but…matter is conscious. How do I know that? Because I’m matter and I’m conscious. What you often get in people of this stripe (and Brian Cox — the TV physicist — goes in for it as well), is a sentence of the formula “X is no more than/just/merely/nothing but Y.” For example: “The world is nothing but the action of molecules” or “Love is merely the movement of electrons in the brains.” Sentences of that sort are nearly always mistaken. I would prefer they were put in the form of “Love is a movement of electrons in the brain, among other things.”’

  • Diogenes

    Sadly, I have yet to meet an atheist who thinks he/she has anything to learn from Jesus; or if they do, they often misinterpret Him, but I guess the same could be said for many latter day Christians.

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