It is interesting that intellectuals who are not ostensibly religious are drawn to the life of Jesus Christ. Oscar Wilde, whose life on the surface seems to be one of indulgence and extravagance rather than prudence, came to a deep understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in his last years. Wilde was imprisoned for a "crime" which by today's standards is nothing but an expression of personal traits best left for discretions. Wilde's De Profundis, written in the prison, delights the reader with the artist's in-depth interpretation of the man that was Jesus Christ.
Leo Tolstoy, the novelist of Anna Karenina and War and Peace, dedicated his later years to writing on Christianity. His book "The Gospel in Brief" had a profound effect on Ludwig Wittgenstein, arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. Wittgenstein carried the book everywhere, and recommended it to people he encountered, so that he came to be known as the "Gospel man".
It is interesting to observe in what context Jesus Christ became an inspiration for these valuable people. It was the principle of individuality. In Jesus Christ we find a man who did not become fearful of obeying one's inner voice even if that was against the common sense and codes of morality of the society at that particular time. Creativity is often proportional to the courage to venture into unbeaten paths, and Jesus Christ provided the ultimate role model.
In the pursuit of individuality, "God" could be a metaphor. God represents that which is unchangeable and ever life-supportive in the battles of individuality in a society where the peer pressures are sometimes too strong and the codes of behavior too demanding.