The odd behavior of St. Peter and St. Paul

By Tom Quiner

Sts. Peter and Paul

I have compassion for agnostics. I can understand how a man can say he can’t be sure that God really exists.

I don’t have compassion for atheists. Their certitude that God does not exist is grounded in pride. In light of evidence of God’s existence, it takes a much bigger leap of faith to not believe in God … than to believe in him.

Agnostics should find the odd behavior of St. Peter and St. Paul to be utterly fascinating.

Peter speaks to so many of us. He was a coward. After all, he denied Christ when the chips were down. And yet he was so brave. When soldiers came to arrest Jesus, he whipped out a sword in defense of his friend and cut off the ear of an antagonist. When he saw Jesus walking on water, do you know what he did? He got out of the boat in the midst of a frightening storm and began walking toward Jesus!

No one else on the boat did it.

St. Paul was a totally different type of guy. He was an anti Christian pit bull, kind of like the ACLU is today. He was driven by his ideology to destroy Christianity. His conversion story is the single most remarkable conversion ever.

Jesus appeared to him.

Jesus asked him to stop persecuting Him.

Paul changed. He became an apostle of Christ. His friends surely found that odd. But the story of these two guys gets even odder.

Both experienced the resurrected Christ. Think about this. Both saw a man they knew to be dead. Paul’s was so real that he was knocked off his horse.

Peter lived and ate with Jesus for a short while after His resurrection.

So here’s the bottom line. What did Peter and Paul do with their lives after Jesus the Christ ascended to Heaven? They preached the Gospel of Christ until the day they died.

How did they die? Each ended up being crucified for their faith. Interestingly, each of the disciples, with the exception of John and Judas, of course, went to their death for spreading Christianity.

These men each witnessed the resurrected Christ. Each eventually was executed for telling people about it.

Some may say that these guys made the whole thing up. But to what aim? Belief in Jesus was dangerous.

The Gospels smack of such authenticity. If this Christianity thing was just a made-up religion, it wouldn’t be written the way it is. The disciples would look like heroes. Instead, they are depicted as cowards. Each of them scattered, except for the youngest, John, when Jesus was arrested.

So here’s what we’re left with. A man will go to his death for something he believes in. He won’t go to his death for a lie. That would be too odd to believe.

So to my agnostic readers, spend a little time re-reading the Gospel of John. Give it another chance. The upside is off the charts.




  1. maxine Bechtel on February 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    AMEN AND AMEN! Very well said! How do I know that God is real? Because of the Peace, and Joy He has given me since I surrendered my life to Him and accepted His Gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ! (John 3:16) The proof is in the fact that he made me a “new Creature in Christ Jesus.” I am a new person, since I’ve been “born again” John 3:3

    I could not have changed my wants, tastes and desires! His Arms of Love are reaching out to all who will acknowledge their need!

  2. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I always thought St. Paul was beheaded, not crucified.

    • quinersdiner on February 13, 2012 at 8:04 am

      I think you’re right.

  3. Theresa Dowd on February 13, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I just finished an excellent book by Wm. Walsh called “Peter the Apostle”. Lois has it at Divine Treasures.