A Clue to Understanding Jacob 5

I was in Sunday School recently, and we were studying Jacob 5. The conversation began with how intimidating Jacob 5 – the Allegory of the Olive Tree/Vineyard – can be.

Olive Tree

Obviously, I’ve been there, too. I’m not going to pretend like I got it right away. Jacob 5 is a story. A long story. Perhaps the most intimidating part of it is that the chapter is 77 verses long. Maybe we’d be less frightened if Jacob 5 was 15 verses.

No matter the reason, it seems like a lot of people feel a bit of anxiety when reading this chapter. What is it about? Why does Jacob include this chapter – this gigantic chapter – in his record? We know that it was difficult for them to etch into the plates, so why did Jacob make the effort to include this in his record? Why is it so important for us to know this allegory? What is an allegory?!

The questions are endless.

Today, I was reading in 1 Nephi 15 when I noticed some familiar complaints and a big clue…

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.

And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?

And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.

Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?

Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.

Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?” – 1 Nephi 15:7-12

The Context

Here, in 1 Nephi 15, Nephi returned to the tent (after having a vision that taught the meaning of his fathers dream) of his father where his brothers were all disputing one with another.

Nephi was feeling weighed down and overcome by what he had seen in vision. And then, he goes to his father’s tent – most likely for some kind of support, and there his brothers are arguing.

Nephi asks them what’s up, and they say that they can’t understand what their father meant when he spoke about the olive tree. (See 1 Nephi 10:2-15, especially 14.)

Hmmm….an olive tree.

We know that Lehi had been studying the Brass Plates ever since Nephi and his brothers had obtained them and brought them to Lehi. I’m guessing that this study must have influenced what he spoke to his children about the House of Israel being compared to an Olive tree.

The Confusion of Nephi’s Brothers

So, Nephi’s brothers are confused and debating because they say that they can’t understand their father’s words: “concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.”

In other words, they don’t understand. They don’t get this analogy, this metaphor. And what does it matter?

This kind of sounds familiar. I’ve heard, and maybe have even been guilty of skipping Jacob 5. I’m not familiar with olive trees or olive groves. I don’t know how to dung or prune or graft new branches in a tree. I haven’t really disputed with others concerning Jacob 5, but I’ve been tempted to skip over it, and I know that I’m not the only one.

It seems so hard to understand.

The Clues to Understanding – Nephi’s Response to His Brothers (and Maybe to Us, too)

Clue One – Inquire of the Lord In response to his brother’s complaint, Nephi asks, “Have ye inquired of the Lord?”

Good question. And maybe we ought to ask ourselves that, when we say that Jacob 5 (or Isaiah, or anything spoken by the prophets anciently or currently) is “hard to understand,” – have we inquired of the Lord? Instead of complaining about it, are we opening our minds and hearts to understand by asking the Lord for guidance and help?

The brethren of Nephi answer that they haven’t asked because the Lord won’t tell them.

(This is crazy to me! How did they know what the Lord would or wouldn’t tell them? They haven’t even asked!!!!)

(And yet – as crazy as it sounds, I think that sometimes we might be guilty of this, too. We don’t ask, and then we still put the blame on God – because He hasn’t told us…Silly. But good to recognize.)

Clue Two – Be humble, Have a Soft Heart!
After hearing his brothers’ excuse on why they haven’t inquired of the Lord, Nephi asks a question that seems to be rhetorical in nature, but is worth considering:

“How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?” – 1 Nephi 15:10

Now, I don’t want to make assumptions about anyone, but these are good questions to ask, especially when we might be saying that some concept being taught by a prophet is “hard to understand,” and when we have followed this thought up with the admission that we haven’t prayed to understand it.

Having a soft heart is crucial to understanding. A soft heart is the fertile ground needed for a seed of faith. As we soften our hearts, then we will be able to understand. Nephi had this experience himself:

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.” – 1 Nephi 2:16

When we allow our hearts to be softened, then we are able to believe the words of the prophets. This is what enables us to understand. (For more insight on this idea, see Mosiah 2:9.)

We need to have a soft heart. And why not? Really, what’s the risk? We run a much bigger risk when we have hard hearts? As Nephi asks, Why perish because of the hardness of our hearts? Again, it’s kind of silly. Just have a soft heart. Be believing. Ask the Lord. And perish not.

Clue Three – Ask in Faith
As you can see, these three clues are very closely related. We need to ask; we need to be humble enough to ask; and we need to ask!

Nephi reminds himself of the pattern that the Lord so often beckons each of us to follow:

  1. Harden not Your Hearts
  2. Ask God in Faith
  3. Believe that Ye Shall Receive
  4. Diligently Keep the Commandments

…then…

  • Surely these things will be made known unto you.

Had Nephi’s brothers followed this pattern, then they wouldn’t have been disputing in their father’s tent. They would have had peace and understanding. They would have known what was important for them to know. They would have been able to be taught by the Spirit.

The Meaning of The Olive Tree Comparison

In 1 Nephi 15:12-20 Nephi briefly explains the comparison between the Olive Tree and the House of Israel. I actually won’t get into it here because you can read it yourself.

The important things to note are:

  1. Nephi understood this comparison
  2. We can also understand this comparison.

Jacob 5 doesn’t have to be “hard” to understand. None of the scriptures have to be “hard” to understand. Sure, we may not understand everything inside and out, but when we follow the clues that Nephi teaches here, we will understand exactly what we need to know. We will be filled with peace. We won’t be tempted to dispute with others or complain in Sunday School about how long or difficult a passage seems. We won’t be tempted to gloss them over. Instead, we will be able to have a positive experience with the scriptures, with God’s Spirit, and with a way to apply these things in our lives.

***
What helps you to understand the scriptures, especially “difficult” ones like Jacob 5 or Isaiah?

The Fruit of the Tree of Life and Joy

Joy and Thanksgiving ButtonJoin me for the next two weeks as we study Joy and Thanksgiving. This is part One of my thoughts as I study the assignments.

The scriptures, like any form of literature, is rife with symbolism. One symbol used often is the tree of life and it’s fruit. Studying this symbol will help us to learn more about joy and how to obtain it.

Soon this fruit will be filling me up with joy. :)

Soon this fruit will be filling me up with joy. 🙂

Lehi’s Dream

Before I really talk about Lehi’s dream, I want to discuss the end result: Lehi and others partake of the fruit of the tree of life. Nephi teaches us about this fruit:

“Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.

And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.” – 1 Nephi 11:22-23

So, not only does Lehi partake of the fruit of the tree of life, but this fruit is amazing. It tastes great and fills him with joy. He desires to share it, and many other people partake of the fruit.

Now, as this dream opens, Lehi is suffering in a dark and dreary waste. He suffers in this state for many hours until finally, he decides to pray. I wonder, is there a point that the Lord would have just shown him the tree of life, even if Lehi didn’t pray? I doubt it. I think that Lehi only progressed because He prayed, and the Lord answered His prayer.

Additionally, the Lord didn’t simply hand Lehi a piece of fruit after Lehi uttered his prayer, instead, Lehi had to embark on a journey. But the path was laid out before Him, and he was taken from the dark and dreary waste thanks to the mercy of God.

After going to the tree, Lehi was able to experience the opposite of what he suffered before. He partook of the fruit of the tree of life which was sweet, desirable, and better than anything he had ever tasted. It filled his soul with joy.

I love this example because it is a reminder to me that we must struggle a little bit before we are able to partake of the fruit of the tree. And when I struggle, I know where I can turn: the Lord.

The Struggle

We learn a little bit more about obtaining the fruit that Lehi ate. There are a few struggles that must be endured before partaking of the fruit.
The Mist of Darkness
Before partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, we must pass through the “mists of darkness.” In my life, I guess I could say that there have been mists of darkness that I have passed through–depression, difficulty, the death of loved ones, divorce, loneliness, sickness, etc. These are dark times, and it can be easy to feel lost as trial seems to choke your ability to see even the next step ahead of you.

The Great and Spacious Building
Not only do we pass through tribulations as we press forward to the Tree of life, but we must also endure the temptations of the world. This seems especially hard these days. We are bombarded with images and ideas that tell us if we just buy x then we’ll be happy.

An interesting thing to note, even when we partake of the fruit of the tree of life, we have the agency to accept it. Some of those who partook of the fruit then chose to feel embarrassment and shame as they allowed the voices of those in the great and spacious building to interrupt the joy of partaking of the sought-after fruit. As a result of this distraction, they left the fruit of the tree of life, then wandered off into strange paths and were lost.

The Lord won’t force us to choose happiness. It is always our choice.

Alma’s Analogy

Later on in the Book of Mormon, Alma taught the people about faith. He compared faith to a seed. Often, we think of this story solely as a story of faith, but it is so much more than that!

The seed of faith will eventually sprout, and if we nourish it, it will turn into a tree that produces fruit. Alma describes the fruit:

“the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.” – Alma 32:42

Does this fruit sound familiar???

The sermon given by Alma is basically amazing. There is one part that especially struck me this time:

“And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.” – Alma 32:40, emphasis added

Looking forward with an eye of faith is the real way to one day partake of the fruit of the tree of life. This is the way that we will be able to make it through the mists of darkness. Having an eye of faith will help us to discern that the taunts of those in the great and spacious building are nothing but lies. We won’t be overwhelmed or distracted when we keep our eye on the prize: the fruit of the tree of life.

I struggle with this at times. I’m not the best at visualizing or imagining my success. I just think, “geez, I hope…” and then proceed with naivete. But the thing is, I realize that won’t be enough to get me to the tree of life. I want to partake of this fruit. It is the most difficult thing that any of us will ever do. It requires constant attention and effort. And, at this point in my life, I can see how we get burned out. I can see how, if we don’t have this vision in our hearts, then we can be overcome by the constant barrage of Satan’s temptations and distractions. We have to be able to envision this fruit if we want to someday experience it.

***
What have you learned about Joy through the symbol of the fruit of the tree of life?

Abide With Me

So, this is, hands-down, one of my favorite hymns of all time. This video is a rendition sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Several years ago, I was a member of a ward choir, and we sang a simple version of this song. I hadn’t participated in many ward choirs prior to this one, and was surprised and the spirit I felt when we practiced this song.

As I sang the line, “Oh Savior, stay this night with me, behold ’tis eventide.” I felt like I understood why those two simple disciples on the road to Emmaus would implore the Savior to stay with them. When I sang the song, I felt like begging for the same blessing. Even though I haven’t physically walked and talked with the Savior, I have felt His Spirit. I have felt His love and peace. Feeling the love of Christ, feeling His peace, is something that we can access all the time, but it seems like the strength of the feelings ebb and flow. There are times when we can feel His presence stronger than others. This may be due to our own worthiness (sin really diminishes feeling close to the Savior) or our circumstances (when I’m in spin class, even though I’m not doing anything wrong, it is a different environment, not a very spiritual one).

The ebb and flow of these feelings are okay (I think). I mean, that’s life, right? But still, I understand how it is to feel like I want the Savior to stay with me, His love is peaceful, reassuring, calming, and … well, I can’t adequately describe it.

And even though I’ve witnessed for myself that Christ loves me, even though I know that I’ve felt the Spirit in my life, there are times when I forget His love, and I feel lonely and distant from The Savior. I wonder why I can’t feel His Spirit as strongly as I would like. I even begin to doubt my testimony. I have faith that He is the Savior, but sometimes I wonder, “Do I know? Will I ever really know? These thoughts give way to frustration, and I wonder if I will ever grow spiritually, or if I will always be waffling around between knowledge and doubt.

Recently, President Eyring gave a really great talk in General Conference. In it he reminds us of Christ’s invitation:

“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” – Doctrine and Covenants 88:63

This is a good reminder. If we draw near unto Christ, then He will draw near unto each of us. If we seek Him, then we will find Him. If we ask, we’ll receive. If we knock, then the door will be opened. It’s a pretty good promise.

There are so many ways that we can draw near unto the Savior. We can study the scriptures, we can pray. I like to go to the temple. But the thing is, even as I’m trying to draw nearer to the Savior, sometimes I feel like I can’t get near enough. Like there is something I need to learn. I tend to get a lot out of scripture study, but it is a cerebral understanding of the gospel–it is very intellectualized.

It is harder for me to pray because it is abstract, and sometimes I’m not the most “feely” kind of person. But I still pray, and I know that if I could do a little less analyzing and intellectualizing, and instead let myself feel, then I might be able to recognize that the Lord has drawn near unto me.

When I go to the temple or to my church services, again, I intellectually know that I’m serving the Lord. I feel the Spirit, and have a rush of enlightenment and excitement, and this is good. But I want to learn how to make the feeling last.

Above all, I want my faith in Christ to turn into sure knowledge. I want to know – not only with my head, but also with my heart. I want to know with my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and…even kidneys.

***
Back to President Eyring’s talk…

President Eyring concludes with this brilliant testimony.

Pretty Awesome, huh?!

Pretty Awesome, huh?!


I love this testimony. Every single time I hear it or read it, I feel the Spirit confirm to me that what President Eyring is saying is both true, and that his testimony is special. I realize that even though I’m kind of like a “toddler” when it comes to spirituality and testimony, there are people who are adults. There are people who know, and they can guide and comfort me with their knowledge. We are blessed with apostles and prophets who do know Christ: with their hearts and brains…AND…eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and even kidneys.

In the Mormon church, our leadership is unique in that the Prophet and Apostles aren’t a bunch of men who are simply interested in the gospel and have gone to seminaries to study the scriptures. They aren’t paid to live in Christ’s service. These are ordinary men. They have families and jobs. They grew up with testimonies of Christ and of Heavenly Father, and with a commitment to serve Him. Over time, they have grown in the gospel. Eventually, each of these apostles and prophet received a calling (from God, not as a product of their campaigning to receive such a calling) to be His special witness. They are not unlike Peter, James, or John, who were hand-selected to be “fishers of men”.

Like the ancient apostles, President Eyring and other apostles bear testimony of Christ. In this talk I feel like President Eyring is trying to convince us to believe that Christ lives–because he knows it. It isn’t his hunch or “feeling.” President Eyring knows that Christ lives as surely as did those two disciples who traveled to Emmaus knew – when their eyes were opened and they physically beheld the Savior.

When my testimony in the Savior begins to falter, and I wonder if He hears my prayers, if He loves me, if He can bless me in my times of need, I know that I can take comfort in the testimony of the Apostles and Prophet. Yes Christ does live. There are people on this earth who know this for sure, and I can trust in their witness.

My faith is strengthened by the testimony of those who are true witnesses of the living Christ.

***
Do you believe in Christ? Have you had experiences when you have felt the Savior draw near unto you? What do you do to strengthen your faith in Him? How does it make you feel to know that there are people on this earth who have had experiences with the Savior and can witness of Him, personally?

New Testament Study Companion: Mark

A month ago, I shared with you my book: The New Testament Study Companion: Matthew. I’m super happy to announce that the next book is available!!!

New Testament Study Companion: Mark

New Testament Study Companion: Mark

This book takes you chapter by chapter through Mark with questions and exercises/ideas for in-depth study. You can get this book a few different ways.

***

Free eBook

Click here for the free ePub or eBook.
This format will work for the iPhone, iPad, Nook, and pretty much anything except the Kindle.

***

Free PDF

Click here for a free downloadable PDF Version.
If you prefer, you can download this pdf and study Mark on your computer

***

Kindle

You can get the Kindle version here. (For some reason, the cover is funky. I can’t get it to fix…sorry!)

***

Print Version

Click here if you are interested in a print version of the book.
You can also choose to have this book printed and sent to you for $5.42. This might be a nice option for people who like to hold things in their hands. It is also most likely less expensive and more durable than printing the eBook yourself.

About the New Testament Study Companion: Mark

This book is designed to help you study the book of Mark. It is like the Scripture study series–in that you will read a block of text, and I have included many questions that will help you to ponder the scriptures you read.

Additionally, each chapter includes several exercises that will help you to find patterns, themes, concepts, scripture chains, cross-refernences, etc. These exercises will help you to study each chapter in-depth. I hope that each time you use this study companion, you will be edified and excited about scripture study.

***
Okay…so check it out. Let me know what you think. You can also find The Scripture Study Companion for Matthew here. And be on the look out for Luke, and John!

New Testament Study Companion: Matthew

I’m soooooooooooo excited.

I’ve been working on this completely insane project for a little while now. While I’m not completely finished with it, I can finally start sharing it with you.

In the past, you know that I’ve created several scripture study series. I feel like they’ve probably been helpful to people who have completed them. My newest project is a study guide for the Gospels. And Matthew is now available!

New Testament Study Companion: Matthew

New Testament Study Companion: Matthew

So…there are a few ways that you can get this book.

Free eBook

Click here for ePub or eBook.
This format will work for iPad, iPhone, Nook, and pretty much everything but the Kindle.

Free PDF

Click here for the downloadable PDF Version.
You can also download this as a PDF if you would prefer.

Print Version

Click here if you are interested in a print version.
You can also choose to have this book printed and sent to you for $5.86. This might be a nice option for people who like to hold things in their hands. It is also most likely less expensive and more durable than printing the eBook yourself.

***

Kindle

Click here if you are interested in the book for Kindle.
Here the book is available on Amazon, and can be read on your kindle eReader.

***

About the New Testament Study Companion: Matthew

This book is designed to help you study the book of Matthew. It is like the Scripture study series–in that you will read a block of text, and I have included many questions that will help you to ponder the scriptures you read.

Additionally, each chapter includes several exercises that will help you to find patterns, themes, concepts, scripture chains, cross-refernences, etc. These exercises will help you to study each chapter in-depth. I hope that each time you use this study companion, you will be edified and excited about scripture study.

***
Okay…so check it out. Let me know what you think. And be on the look out for Mark, Luke, and John!

Questions for today’s “Anti-Christs”

It seems like there has been a lot of talk lately about religion vs. secularism. It all seemed to come to a head when Elder Oaks gave his talk on Religious Freedom. – or at least, that’s when I started really thinking about protecting religion. Yesterday, I read an article over at Mormon Times, and then today, I read an article by Michael Otterson here.

Religious Freedom has been on my mind.

I’ve also noticed how, at times, I think about the ideas of atheism. I do not tend to close my life off from opposing viewpoints. I listen to NPR. I read Russian Literature. I’m not shrouding myself under the cover of Glenn Beck and other zealots. I’m trying to be well-rounded, and religious.

But sometimes it’s hard to feel strong…And that’s why I LOVE the scriptures.

In Jacob 7, we are introduced to Sherem. He is the first “Anti-Christ” mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Sherem was preaching to the people – declaring that there would be no Christ. He was flattering them with the sole purpose of overthrowing their doctrine. (see Jacob 7:1-2).

Currently, we deal with similar pressure. Secularism is the latest religious fad. In the quest to justify and prove secularism, we find that secularists feel that they must simultaneously debunk religion – and especially Christianity. And the worst part is, I find myself wavering a little in the middle of this “debunking.” I often find myself wondering how I REALLY know that Jesus is the Christ. I find myself questioning if my faith and testimony is true, or if it is just something I decide to believe as a defense mechanism.

I don’t like it when I begin doubting because I have received testimony. I know that such doubts display only ingratitude and an unwillingness to remember the ways that the Lord has blessed me. Additionally, doubt is really me allowing myself to blind myself to the current testimonies that I have in my life – that all witness of Christ’s love for me and all of His children. I realize that the doubts I face aren’t doubts as much as they are concerns on how I address my faith and the right to protect it to those who do not share it.(*)

Well, while I was reading the scripture in Jacob, I found that it referenced to the following:

“And it came to pass that the high priest said unto him [Korihor]: Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings? Why do ye speak against all the prophecies of the holy prophets?” – (Alma 30:22).

These questions, asked by the high priest of the land of Gideon to Korihor, ought to be asked now.

  1. Why pervert the ways of the Lord?
    • Great question. What purpose is there in perverting the ways of the Lord? Why should we think that adopting wickedness of any type will lead to any kind of happiness or progress? The Lord’s ways are good. They work. Family is good. Kindness is good. Service is good. Charity, faith, and hope are all good. These qualities, or ways of the Lord, do nothing to reduce our society. In fact, they build it up. So why on earth should we pervert the ways of the Lord? We know that His ways work! We have thousands of years of history to back it up, too. Regardless of whether civilizations believed in God, when they were righteous, they were blessed. When they allowed their societies to be consumed in wickedness, their societies failed. So the question stands: Why pervert the ways of the Lord?
  2. Why teach the people that there is no Christ and interrupt their rejoicing?
    • This question really gets me. Why would we interrupt the happiness and joy people are experiencing because of the message of the True and Living Christ? Christ offers us hope and happiness. When we truly grasp His gospel, our hearts are full of charity and gratitude. We rejoice. Why would we interrupt this GREAT thing?! And what is offered instead? Doubt, Discouragement, and, ultimately, Misery. I see no purpose in this. It makes no sense. Based on the outcomes of faith, I’d have to say that the advantage is with Christianity.

      I know that there are many people who might site examples where religion was the cause of terrible injustices. I know that there were infractions caused in the name of Christianity. I would have to say, however, that they were not backed by Christ. Think of a modern-day parallel. There are current terrorists who commit horrible crimes in the name of “Allah,” yet many Muslims emphatically explain that such perpetrators are extremists. These jihadists do NOT represent the religion of Islam which actually preaches peace. It is the same with Christianity. We cannot control the actions of all believers, but we can trust the core message. Christ preaches Love. He preaches meekness, kindness, patience, charity, and peace. He teaches that we love our enemies and turn the other cheek. And in return, he offers us happiness and hope.

      So the question remains…Why interrupt these rejoicings and preach that there is no Christ? It makes no sense.

  3. Why speak against the prophecies of the Prophets?
    • Another great question? Why speak against the prophecies of the Prophets? Often it is asked, what evidence does a believer have to prove that these prophecies are true? We could also ask, what evidence is there that the prophecies are not true? The fact is: in order to understand things of a spiritual nature, we need to have the Spirit. The Spirit bears witness when a prophecy is true. Likewise, he will NOT bear witness to false prophets. Everyone does not need to believe in the gospel – our faith is a personal choice. But the attacks on faith are spiritual; therefore, they need to be based on Spiritual experiences. Otherwise, the argument is ridiculous. . Oh…and besides that, there are grave consequences for the mistreatment of the servants of God.

We, the people of faith, can believe, and can stand strong in our beliefs. We will have to continue to nurture our faith as those around us will question what we believe. And it’s okay. We are all free to choose as we like. I’m not the kind of person to make a “call of action.” I don’t think that it is worthwhile to fight with others. I don’t think that we need to be offensive. I believe we should be Christ-like. We must resolve to understand what it is that we believe, and then continually show that we understand the laws of the gospel by loving Christ and by loving all of His Children (our spiritual siblings).

oh…and I have to say, I rarely meet people who put me down for my religion. Thankfully, most people I meet are friendly, kind, and loving. Additionally, most people I meet are not secularists or atheists. They seem to have some kind of spirituality – even if they don’t regularly attend church. So, is all of this religion talk mostly political? I’m not sure, but I do think that it always helps to know where we stand.

*(Content added 11-24-2009) I really want it to be understood that these questions do not answer why I believe in Christ. Instead, I guess it is more or less questions on, “Why not believe?” They were questions given to Korihor when he was trying to specifically destroy the church and the faith of its followers.

I remember listening to an interview on Fresh Air with Bill Mahr. He had just made his anti religion movie. A big part of it was to convince people that they were basically idiots for believing in any kind of religion. While listening, I kind of wondered how I would have responded to him if I had been one of the random people interviewed on this movie. Obviously, there’s no way I’d convince Him of my testimony. It would be impossible as testimony is only conveyed through the spirit. And that is why I love these questions – because instead of trying to convert, they are simply defending religion.

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