10 Ways Our Lives Would be Different If We Were Unbelievers (3 Nephi 16)
In 3 Nephi 16, Jesus describes to the Nephites some of the consequences that will come about as a result of the unbelief of the House of Israel (of which the Nephites are a part). Specifically, He mentions the following:
- The House of Israel "shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief" (verse 4). History shows that this did occur, and the House of Israel remains in a scattered state as of today, even as we look forward to the time when they will be gathered together again.
- "In the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them" (verse 7). Because of the unbelief of Israel, God turned to the Gentiles in the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon, and He continues to use them today to share the gospel with the House of Israel.
Jesus adds, however, that after God has allowed the Gentiles to be used to smite some of the House of Israel (such as the Native Americans), if the Gentiles then become unbelievers, He will use the House of Israel to "tread them down" (verse 15). Without dwelling too much on what is meant by being "tread down," the tone of this prophecy makes me glad I'm not an unbeliever.
If you're reading this article, then you're most likely not an unbeliever. Be glad. Be very glad. Be thankful that you have a relationship with God and that you believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. But, just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to be an unbeliever. How different would your life be?
To help us reflect on this question, I have assembled a list of "10 Ways Our Lives Would Be Different if We Were Unbelievers." The list is presented in the popular 10 to 1 format (although the relative importance of many of them are not that different, so the order could easily be different). Here's the list:
10 Ways Our Lives Would Be Different If We Were Unbelievers
10. Nothing to say when someone sneezes
9. Stuck Defending Lame Theories
Without accounting for God as the creator of all things, we would be forced to try to explain how the universe created itself or how monkeys turned into people.
Having people in our lives can help with loneliness, but only the Lord can be our constant companion. Without Him, it would often be me and nobody.
7. No Need for Morality
Without the scriptures, it's only about what's legal. Drunkenness, adultery, sexual deviancy — any of these could be your way of life, and others would support you living that lifestyle.
6. Just Hope to Be Lucky
We wouldn't have anyone to rely upon for protection throughout the day or when we travel, so we would just have to hope that nothing bad happens. We wouldn't be blessing our meals, so hopefully there's nothing harmful in the food. Miracles? Hey, that was just good luck or a coincidence.
5. Better Have a Great Doctor
Imagine being sick and not having the option of prayer. Medical people are talented and can be used by God, but not being able to pray for a miracle? Unthinkable.
4. No Meaningful Plan or Purpose for Life
The only plans for our lives would be the ones we make ourselves — and how do those typically work out? A temporal purpose in life is, by definition, temporary. When God puts purpose in your life, it can have eternal effects.
3. No Forgiveness
Any guilt that we carry would always be there. Also, there would be no reason to forgive people who have wronged you; holding grudges and seeking vengeance would be OK. Of course, others would treat you the same way.
2. No Holy Ghost
Without the insight and discernment provided by the Holy Ghost, we would have to rely solely on our own intelligence and wisdom in making decisions. Sometimes, this may work out fine. Other times, not so much.
1. No Hope of Eternal Life
If this is all there is, then imagine the despair and depression as end of life draws closer. With our hope in this life only, we would be "most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19).
We should all be very grateful to God that we are not numbered among the unbelievers. Let's do our best to help others also shed that label — and the 10 things above that come with it.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.