I wanted to speak more with you. I hope not to offend you. I know that we are very different people and have made different choices for different reasons. I do believe in a god, but he's obviously different than yours. I have read passages of the Bible too, and I would love to talk about religion with you, if you don't mind as the religions of the world are so fascinating to me.
My favorite part in the Bible is the passage where Jesus curses a fig tree. I'm not sure why I love it so much, but I think it is because it is a Jesus who has a sort of flaw, like he doesn't just take the fig tree peacefully but does something over the edge to get back at it. I'd like to hear your opinion about it.
Another thing I'd like to hear a religious person's view on is the book and movie called The Da Vinci Code. It had interesting thoughts about religion that again made me think of a flawed Son of God. It says that Mary Magdalene was his lover and had a child with him.
I think I really like the idea of a flawed Son of God because he was still the son of the virgin Mary and that made him partially a mortal man, right? I think that he was not fully a God himself, which made him easier to relate to and just a better leader in my eyes.
I hope I didn't aggravate you anymore. I'd love to hear a reply and all your thoughts on my questions. They are a bit odd, I'm sure, and I hope you don't find them insulting.
When people reject God, they typically replace the concept of God with something they find more soothing or easier to understand. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things" (Romans 1:20-23). You are simply following the pattern of behavior that has been going on since the creation of the world.
Most people approach religion with the idea of shaping some sort of system that pleases them. Of course, everyone has their own ideas of what is suitable and so religion fractures into numerous variations to suit the various worshipers. The Bible teaches something different. It states that man was created to serve God, not the other way around. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). This isn't a difficulty because the rules God gives us are ones that improves people and their relationships with each other. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:3). It ought to be logical because I am too limited to see what is best for me and all around me. I don't know the future. I don't know everything that is going on in the present. And I know very little about the past. I don't need a God like me, I need guidance from a God greater than me. "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
When I study the Bible, I look to learn what is, not what I want things to be. The Bible clearly states that Jesus lived without sin. Jesus was one "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth" (I Peter 2:22). The point is critical to the idea of salvation. Sin earns the sinner the just punishment of death (Romans 6:23). Thus when a person sins, he sells himself over to sin and its consequences. Everyone sins (Romans 3:23), so the question how can we remedy the problem. I can't offer God what I have: First, because my value is too high. “No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him – for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever – that he should live on eternally, that he should not undergo decay” (Psalm 49:7-9). Second, the world already belongs to God, so what can I offer Him that he doesn't already have? Third, we can't take anything with us when we leave this world anyway. "Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him" (Psalms 49:16-17). Someone in sin, cannot redeem himself or others who are also in sin.
Where we made ourselves helpless, God stepped in to rescue us (Psalms 49:15). "And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:17-19). It is because Jesus was unblemished -- without sin -- that we have the opportunity for salvation.
The event with the fig tree was to teach us a lesson about the nature of God. The story is told in Matthew 21:18-19 and Mark 11:12-14.
Early in the morning Jesus left Bethany for Jerusalem. Seeing a leafy fig tree beside the road and being hungry, Jesus went to it to pluck a fig. Finding none on it, Jesus pronounced a curse, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Matthew remarks that the tree immediately showed signs of withering.
We are used to the miracles being beneficial, but here Jesus kills a tree for simply having no fruit when expected. Figs typically put on fruit before the leaves of the plant appears. So though normally it was too early for figs at this time of year, a few trees were known to produce extra early and the leaves showed that this plant was a good prospect. Yet the tree had no fruit at all, not even unripe ones.
Though nothing is directly said about this event or why Jesus did it, it is recorded for a purpose – important enough that two authors included it in their accounts. We have a tendency to see what we want to see. We tend to suppress the bad in favor of the good. People look at God’s loving favor and cannot imagine God being severe with anyone, let alone sending someone to hell for eternity. Everyone needs to remember that we are here by God’s good grace and that we are here for a purpose (Romans 11:17-22). God dealt severely with the Jews when they failed to be productive (Isaiah 5:1-7). Can we expect anything less? Jesus will return to this point when we get to John 15.
Far too many people only have an appearance of godliness (II Timothy 3:5). There are people who claim to follow God, but their actions belie their words (Titus 1:16). We must prove ourselves doers of the word (James 1:22-25), else we too will face God’s wrath.
In regards to The Da Vinci Code, it is a work of fiction, as the author claims. The events are fictional and the conclusion is the author's own concept of what religion should be like. You find this fictional piece fascinating because it isn't historically accurate, it presents a Jesus who never did exist, but whom you prefer over the real Jesus simply because it matches your preferences. It is much like the head of Iran. He prefers to declare the holocaust never happened, so he rewrites history to match his preferences. The end result is the same, it is just falsehoods.