My Agnostic Husband

My Agnostic Husband

I trust that God understands agnostics like Steve–angry at life’s injustice or simply angry at those who speak from the pulpit. God may discern in them greater intellectual and emotional sensitivity than in certain Christians.

Steve cries to distraction every time he watches the musical Les Miserables. His tears betray him, on cue, at every scene depicting God’s bewildering grace. Contending that Karl Malden, the priest in On the Waterfront, should have received an Oscar, he becomes emotionally charged every time he hears Father Barry’s rousing speech:


I came down here to keep a promise. I gave K.O. my word that if he stood up to the mob, I’d stand up with him … all the way and now K.O. Duggan is dead … Some people think the Crucifixion took place only on Calvary. They’d better wise up … Taking Joey Doyle’s life to keep him from testifying, is a crucifixion. Every time the mob puts pressure on a good man and tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, that’s a crucifixion … Boys, this is my church and if you don’t think Christ isn’t down here on the waterfront, you’ve got another thing coming …


Though Steve may have valid criticisms of today’s Christians, he mistakenly projects their faults onto God, Himself. In doing so, he shoots at the wrong target, like a straw man. C.S. Lewis’ wrote, “The behavior of other Christians constitutes the best argument against Christianity.” I prefer, however, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s statement, “God is greater than religion.”


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