Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly said the Holy Spirit gave him the idea about and the title of the new book Killing Jesus, which he has co-authored with historian Martin Dugard, in the middle of one night.
"All of the ideas come to me in the middle of the night, and one night, I just woke up and it went, 'Killing Jesus,'" O'Reilly said in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Saturday.
"And I believe – because I'm a Catholic – that comes from the Holy Spirit. My inspiration comes from that. And so I wrote Killing Jesus because I think I was directed to write that," added O'Reilly in the interview with Norah O'Donnell that will air on Sunday evening.
O'Donnell asked O'Reilly if he thinks he's a chosen one. "I'm just one of many who have been given gifts," replied the anchor of "The O'Reilly Factor." "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 directed and that's why I'm here on the planet."
O'Reilly said he believes in the Holy Spirit but not like many other Christians. "I'm not a holy roller. I am not an Evangelical Christian, but I go to church," he said, adding if he fails to attend Mass, "Then I fall so far behind in my repentance I can never catch up."
In Killing Jesus, O'Reilly "details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth," according to publisher Henry Holt and Company, which paid the two authors $10 million as advance.
"Jesus Christ has not walked among us physically for more than two thousand years, yet his presence today is felt the world over and his spirit is worshipped by more than 2.2 billion people," O'Reilly stated in a press release earlier. "His teachings, his legacy, his life as a flesh-and-blood man, and his death created the world in which we live."
"Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus' life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable – and changed the world forever," the publisher says.
The new book is a follow-up to O'Reilly's and Dugard's successful books Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln. The National Geographic Channel is again partnering with the authors for a television adaptation of Killing Jesus, as was done with their previous two titles.
Some parts of the book contradict the New Testament's accounts of the crucifixion. For example, O'Reilly believes Jesus couldn't have spoken the words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," because the crucifixion wouldn't have allowed enough air in His lungs.
O'Reilly has not referred to Jesus as the Son of God, and he explains, "There's no religion in the book. It's all about history."