“What made Mr. Merrill infinitely more attractive was that he was full of doubt ; he expressed our doubt in the most eloquent and sympathetic ways. In his completely lucid and convincing view, the Bible is a book with a troubling plot, but a plot that can be understood . . . Although he knew all the best— or, at least, the least boring— stories in the Bible, Mr. Merrill was most appealing because he reassured us that doubt was the essence of faith, and not faith’s opposite.
– John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany