While speaking in a recent interview with celebrity chef Rachael Ray, Fox television host Bill O'Reilly defended previous comments he made when he said the Holy Spirit guided him in the title of his most recent nonfiction book, Killing Jesus, which documents the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.
O'Reilly, host of Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," told Ray on her daytime talk show "Rachael" that his previous comments regarding the Holy Spirit were in-line with his Christian faith, and atheists had misinterpreted his comments.
"Catholics and Christians believe there's an interactive God," O'Reilly told Ray, adding that this God "pays attention to all of us, and that's [where] the inspiration you get comes from. So I just said that on '60 Minutes.'"
The Fox television host said in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" in September that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to title his most recent book Killing Jesus in the middle of the night. The book is co-authored by historian Martin Dugard.
"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 the interview with journalist Norah O'Donnell.
"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," the conservative talk show host added.
When O'Donnell asked O'Reilly if he thinks he's a chosen one, O'Reilly responded: "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 directed and that's why I'm here on the planet."
O'Reilly received criticism for his comments on CBS's "60 Minutes," mainly by atheists who scoffed at the idea that the Fox news host had been inspired by the Holy Spirit. One journalist, Howard Gensler, columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News, quipped that if "the Almighty had come to O'Reilly in a dream, telling him to write the book Killing Jesus, God might have come up with a more original title."
O'Reilly has continued to defend his previous comments, arguing that some in the media are attacking him for his Christian faith. Killing Jesus is the third of a succession of well-received books written by O'Reilly and Dugard, the first two being Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln.