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Some questions for Christians ponder
Does Jesus always do what is kind and positive in every situation?

Would Jesus act vengeful towards or kill an innocent creature?

Can the average believer perform any kind of miracle he or she wishes?

If you really believe, will every prayer you ask be fulfilled?

Does the bible contain any errors or conflicting information?

The Fig Tree in Matthew Chapter 21 (NIV)
18 : Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.
19 : Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
20 : When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
21 : Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.
22 : If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

The Fig Tree in Mark Chapter 11 (NIV)
12 : The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
13 : Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.
14 : Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.
19 : When evening came, they went out of the city.
20 : In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.
21 : Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22 : "Have faith in God," Jesus answered.
23 : "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24 : Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

The Fig Tree in My Life

My faith withered slowly along with that very fig tree.

I was a member of the Catholic Church because my mother was. I didn't choose it for myself. I believed what my parents and the church taught me as a child without question. Children naturally do this sort of thing. Why else would we believe a big bunny rabbit delivers eggs once a year and a happy fat man fits down our chimneys?

As a teenager my interest in my faith grew and I started to try to understand it's origin and to know the real truths of the world and what I believed. I started to go beyond just receiving the sermons of the church and started reading the bible for myself so I could get the unfiltered story of what was in the "good book". Many people I've known go through life just being fed selected passages of the bible interpreted for them rather than actually reading it for themselves.

I started with the old testament and was having a hard time with it since it can be a somewhat dry read at times. I skipped around a bit but decided that wasn't the best approach for getting the "whole" truth. Being a member of the Catholic Church which worships Jesus as the human form of God, I decided to skip ahead to the new testament to get to the personal side of the bible. Things were going all right in my readings until I happened upon the story of the fig tree. This story jumped out at me and disturbed me to some extent. In church I was read all these nice short passages by the priest. He highlighted the good things, which at times were just a single line and expanded them into great stories and lessons. I liked that Jesus was always portrayed as a good, gentle person that turned the other cheek and never did wrong. After all, he was the son of God. He never had an evil bone in his body, ever. He could strike against evil if he was provoked but overall he was the protector of the innocent without being an aggressor.

So why did he destroy that poor fig tree? He was annoyed because he was hungry and the tree didn't have any fruit! Go ahead and try to say it represents something else, but Jesus goes on to explain that you can destroy fig trees too if you believe in the power of prayer. He performs a miracle [magic trick] just to show off his powers by destroying one of God's innocent creatures. I didn't like this at all! Wouldn't a better miracle have been to make the fig tree bear fruit for all to share in? Wouldn't that better fit the image of Jesus that Christianity tries to put forth? Why would the perfect son of God choose destruction over healing over such a petty thing as a tree not bearing fruit?

Then Jesus explains that even what may seem impossible is possible with the power of belief and prayer. If this is true than after all these years of trying to find a real example of this, why have I not found one? All I've found is people praying and the results are all chance. With good results the power of prayer is confirmed for the believer and with bad results there are many excuses made. The best Christians in the world should be able to stop any suffering, any war, or any destruction man-made or otherwise if only they would just pray and believe. Then why is this never so? Prayer has always bugged me with Christianity even when I was a small child. I hated to see all the people at church praying with all their might and faith for a certain thing to happen or not happen and then hearing them cry "Why?" to seemingly deaf ears when their prayers weren't answered.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." I haven't seen it!

Then the final thing that really bothered me was reading the story again in Mark. I've always been told the bible is the word of God and is perfect in every way. Everything in there is EXACTLY as God wanted it to be because it is his book. We should take every word as the "gospel truth" and follow it without question. So how is it that the second story has the fig tree withering the day after instead of "immediately" like the first story? One must be truth and one must be fiction right? They can't both be correct by any stretch of the imagination. So if Mark's story was the truth, then how can it be proven that Jesus did this and it was by way of a miracle if they didn't see the results until the next day? The more I read about Jesus after this, the more he sounded like an imposter trying to create belief in him with tricks. Some tricks sounded great and beyond human capability, but then these are stories and don't have much physical evidence to support them. I had lost trust in the truth of Jesus in the bible. It is more believable to me for it all to be myth. I can see why the Jewish people don't believe that he was really the son of God.

With that truth shattered I started to question everything else about Christianity. The more questions I had, the less real answers I could find. The basis for the truths of Christianity all seem to go back to a book that I don't trust as fact. My search for personal truth has led me away from all religions and towards being Agnostic, if you must put a label on me. I see all religions as being made by humans in a vain attempt to explain the unknown. I don't believe we know the "real truth". I'm not even sure if we can know. I choose to believe in being positive and acting positive as a basis for a good life. Beyond that... I don't have the answers, and I don't think you do either!

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