here's a modern day parable:
someone asked an old wise man one day, why bother studying spiritual matters when he doesn't even feel like he's retaining anything? the old man said, let us consider a basket made of straw and i were to throw this basket into a well and use it to draw water, what do you think would happen? the other person pointed out that no water would be drawn for the water would just leak out of the basket. correct, said the wise man. but if i were to throw this basket into the well again, and again, and again, and again, what would be of the basket now? he then explains, we are like this basket of straw. we study, we pursue, and yet it seems all that we try to retain simply leaks out of us. but if we remain diligent in our pursuit, we will eventually have ourselves soaked fully, every fiber of our "basket" saturated and swollen. you may not realize it now, but in time, you will see that this is true.
it was a long drive that felt like a short one, and the conversation was rich between a believer and an atheist. the believer never felt eloquent for he always felt he was short in many things. the atheist, on the other hand, felt assured of his logic, its principles and its moral soundness. no debate ensued. no bashing nor disrespecting of beliefs, only an enlightening discourse between two people. a discourse that proved to the believer, that he may be short in some things, and yet, was rich in others; that proved to the believer that nothing, in God, is random nor coincidental, most especially between a believer and an atheist, in a long-short drive, deeply engaged in an enlightening fellowship.