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Soap Not Needed?

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A preacher and a soap maker went for a walk together. The soap maker said, “What good is religion? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world! Still there, even after years—thousands of years—of teaching about goodness and truth and peace. Still there, after all the prayers and sermons and teachings. If religion is good and true, why should this be?” The preacher said nothing. They continued walking until he noticed a child playing in the gutter. Then the preacher said, “Look at that child. You say that soap makes people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world, over all these years, the child is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all!” The soap maker protested. “But, Preacher, soap cannot do any good unless it is used!” “Exactly,” replied the Preacher. “Exactly!”

I guarantee you that, if you talked to very many people about the Lord, you may have gotten the same sort of comment as that soap maker, especially if they were not too polite to tell you their real feelings. The basic complaint is this: Religion is useless. It makes people feel guilty, starts wars, and then doesn’t really deliver the tranquility it promises. You know, whenever I hear someone start down this road, I get a little suspicious. Ok, I get a lot suspicious. I know that religious complainers are a lot like medical ones. People go to the doctor feeling badly, ask for his advice, then don’t do what he tells them to do. It’s the same way with Christianity. Christianity has not been tried and failed, it just hasn’t very often been tried, at least not really. It isn’t that Christianity is useless, its that it is largely unused.

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