Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mark, chapter 11

12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry.
So even the Godman gets hungry and needs to find some earthly food to eat. Although I assume he could just create it out of thin air if the need would arise?
13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
Double d'oh! One: Apparently seeing far away things clearly wasn't one of his superpowers. Two: Didn't he know it was not the season of the figs? And if he did, what did he expect ... ??
14 He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!"
So Jesus curses a fig tree for not having fruit out of season. Now that's makes sense again! Not. And now the tree won't be able to ever have fruit again because Jesus made it barren. The olive farmer will be pleased ... Luckily he only cursed one tree and not the whole orchard.
23 "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
So if a christian mother prays for the cancer of her child to disappear but doesn't succeed in it then it's because she didn't really believe that it would disappear? But then most christians don't seem to really believe ... judging from the inefficiency of praying.

13 comments:

trendinsights said...

Hey,
Thanks for dropping by our site. See ya around soon. :)

Daldianus said...

I wish you would have commented on the content of this site ;)

Fireball said...

So, all is a question of doubt. And as far as I understand the chapter here, Jesus wished/prayed for the tree to have fruits and it seems that he himself has doubts that it's going to work like this. In the wunderful world of trinity, things really begins to become... strange. (Because Jesus doubts his own power/the power of this father-in-heaven-alter-ego?)

Daldianus said...

fireball:

The Trinity, and also the concept of Jesus being Fully God and Fully Human, don't make any sense, they're paradoxical and also simply impossible. That's why the Church, and the believers, declared them 'mysteries' ...

Wonders for Oyarsa said...

Yes Daldianus, that's it. If it doesn't make sense to you then it must just be nonsense. Augustine & Ambrose must have been total morons.

I just don't see why it would be any fun going through life like this. Where is the spirit of inquiry? Of a world worth learning about? Of people worth understanding?

Any way, let's look at the stupid fig tree passage, that is clearly nothing but idiotic nonsense on the part of Jesus. But wait - Jesus read the Old Testament, right? Perhaps he would have been familiar with this passage in Jeremiah:

Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among the fallen;
when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
When I would gather them, declares the Lord,
there are no grapes on the vine,
nor figs on the fig tree;
even the leaves are withered,
and what I gave them has passed away from them.


Israel is being visited by the Lord, and she is expected to bear fruit and to welcome his coming. But she is barren, not in the right season. Like the fig tree. Look at this parable of Jesus:

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

This again is the same theme - God expecting good from his people when he visits them. Jesus is enacting this, in prophetic symbol, in story, and in flat out declaration. Look at this parable - it's the same theme:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Here again is the same theme - the king is coming, but are you ready for him? Are you prepared? Is the tree in season, are the lamps filled with oil? Jesus is saying that this is happening in his own ministry - that the Lord is returning to Zion, but are they ready?

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. ...He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. ...And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Again, the master is returning, expecting a return on his investment. Is Isreal ready for his return? Figs, Oil, Talents - all the same theme of a king visiting subjects that have not made themselves ready.

Here he says it explicitly:

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

This is the warning - God is returning, he is here, right in front of you, and you don't recognize him! You are calling judgment upon your heads and upon your city! Repent - the kingdom of God is at hand right this instant!

If you think in these Jewish prophetic themes, the fig tree incident makes perfect sense. Read it in Mark - flanking Jesus trashing the temple:

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.


The fig tree has no fruit to show its master as he walks by, and is cursed. The people have been entrusted with the law and the temple, but do not have righteousness to show their master when he returns. And so he enacts judgment upon them, trashing everything, not letting anyone do business. And as he leaves, they look at the fig tree, dead and withered.

It's all part of the same theme - the same Jewish-style prophetic message.

When you look at it in its original Jewish context, it makes sense. Granted their customs and ways of talking are a little weird to us, but you just need to get over that if you want to understand the Bible.

My question to you Daldianus continues to be: do you have the slightest interest in understanding what you are reading? Or would you rather just enjoy the sport of criticizing what you do not understand?

Daldianus said...

wonders:

>Yes Daldianus, that's it. If it doesn't make sense to you then it must just be nonsense. Augustine & Ambrose must have been total morons.

Not morons. Just deluded. There's no indication that their theories correspond to any factual truth. These concepts have been declared 'mysteries' because that's the only way they can be accepted!

>I just don't see why it would be any fun going through life like this. Where is the spirit of inquiry? Of a world worth learning about? Of people worth understanding?

Oh, I consider myself very curious! And I'm rarely bored. But that doesn't mean I have to accept every nonsense.

>Israel is being visited by the Lord, and she is expected to bear fruit and to welcome his coming. But she is barren, not in the right season.

If it's not the right season then how can Israel be expected to bear fruit ... ?

>Again, the master is returning, expecting a return on his investment. Is Isreal ready for his return? Figs, Oil, Talents - all the same theme of a king visiting subjects that have not made themselves ready.

Then the fig tree is a very bad analgy. Since the fig tree doesn't chose when it's in and out of season ... :) So it's stupid to expect fruit from it out of season.

>This is the warning - God is returning, he is here, right in front of you, and you don't recognize him! You are calling judgment upon your heads and upon your city! Repent - the kingdom of God is at hand right this instant!

Christians were expecting this for 2000 years and they will have to wait even longer. Actually forever. There is no evidence that their God is real.

>The fig tree has no fruit to show its master as he walks by, and is cursed.

It has nop fruit since it's out of season, that's normal.
It wasn't cursed until Jesus got angry and cursed it.

>When you look at it in its original Jewish context, it makes sense. Granted their customs and ways of talking are a little weird to us, but you just need to get over that if you want to understand the Bible.

Understanding what they mean still doesn't further the claim that what they're saying corresponds to an actual truth.

>My question to you Daldianus continues to be: do you have the slightest interest in understanding what you are reading? Or would you rather just enjoy the sport of criticizing what you do not understand?

As I've said, I like to understand, I can even appreciate analogies and fables. But they have to be coherent. Which the fig tree allegory is not (as shown above).

And if some things in the Bible are meant symbolically then why not others? The 'virgin' birth and the resurrection look symbolical to me too.

Daldianus said...

wonders:

I also notice that you ignored the part about the inefficiency of prayers even though Jesus claim the contrary!

Wonders for Oyarsa said...

I also notice that you ignored the part about the inefficiency of prayers even though Jesus claim the contrary!

Daldianus, I'm not going to go through and correct every little bit of ignorance on your site. Instead, I am appealing to you to develop enough curiosity to seek actual knowledge yourself. So far, it doesn't seem to be working too well - you say that first-century prophets used bad analogies because that's not how you would have said it to 20th century Americans. Well, that snobby attitude limits the sort of things you will be able to productively read. Why do that to yourself for the cheap thrill of being cynical toward great writers?

Daldianus said...

wonders:

>Daldianus, I'm not going to go through and correct every little bit of ignorance on your site.

That's a neat way to avoid having to justify the inefficiency of prayer :)

>Instead, I am appealing to you to develop enough curiosity to seek actual knowledge yourself. So far, it doesn't seem to be working too well - you say that first-century prophets used bad analogies because that's not how you would have said it to 20th century Americans. Well, that snobby attitude limits the sort of things you will be able to productively read. Why do that to yourself for the cheap thrill of being cynical toward great writers?

You're free to ignore the question and to weasel around.

And as I've said. I'm quite knowledgable that's why I can't take these myths that got written for and by superstitious people in ancient times seriously.

At face-value great parts of them are either ridiculous or lead to disturbing conclusions if you think them through. Christians need to spin them a lot to rectify this again. But they fail of course because in the end you will always have to rely on faith to accept the 'mysteries' ...

Wonders for Oyarsa said...

That's a neat way to avoid having to justify the inefficiency of prayer :)

Daldianus, I'll be happy to discuss this and more with you, if you show signs of wanting to listen. As it is, you are using words for a different purpose.

At face-value great parts of them are either ridiculous or lead to disturbing conclusions if you think them through. Christians need to spin them a lot to rectify this again. But they fail of course because in the end you will always have to rely on faith to accept the 'mysteries' ...

This is your prejudice. It doesn't reflect reality, but until you develop a desire to listen, it will be all that you see. Again, I'm not asking of you anything a Buddhist shouldn't be able to ask of me.

Daldianus said...

wonders:

>Daldianus, I'll be happy to discuss this and more with you, if you show signs of wanting to listen. As it is, you are using words for a different purpose.

I can listen but that does not mean that I have to accept it or that I can't point out weaknesses when I see them.

The question is where we could discuss this ...

>This is your prejudice. It doesn't reflect reality, but until you develop a desire to listen, it will be all that you see. Again, I'm not asking of you anything a Buddhist shouldn't be able to ask of me.

Of course it reflects a reality! It faith wouldn't be needed then your theories and claim would be FACTS andcould be proven. Which they obviously can't.

Wonders for Oyarsa said...

Of course it reflects a reality! It faith wouldn't be needed then your theories and claim would be FACTS andcould be proven. Which they obviously can't.

Interesting. So in this world there are proven facts or ridiculous nonsense one must believe on blind faith. No middle ground. No way to have an intelligent discussion where two thoughtful people have different views.

That is indeed the way the world looks with the glasses of prejudice.

Daldianus said...

wonders:

>Interesting. So in this world there are proven facts or ridiculous nonsense one must believe on blind faith. No middle ground. No way to have an intelligent discussion where two thoughtful people have different views. That is indeed the way the world looks with the glasses of prejudice.

Fact is that you can't prove the elements and stories of your belief system, otherwise it wouldn't be a belief system in the first place. So why should any reasonable person believe in magical things for which there is no evidence? Why should we take your magical stories as historical events while rebuking the magical stories of other people as nonsense? Why believe in demons but not in aliens?

I concede that we don't, and can't, know everything. But that does not mean that we have to believe claims of supernatural nonsense. For all we know your God could be a junior God who messed his home work project (us) up. Or we might all be in a Matrix. Or, or, or ...