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The Two Trees

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Originally posted:
http://bendench.blogspot.com/2009/07/two-trees.html

From the New Testament:


Mark 11:12-14
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it.

Matthew 21:18-19
In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once.

(The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible)


From Humanity's Gain From Unbelief by Charles Bradlaugh:

"Will you urge the love of Jesus as the redeeming feature of his teaching? Then read the story of the fig tree withered by the hungry Jesus. The fig tree was, if he were the all powerful God, made by him; he limited its growth and regulated its development; he prevented it from bearing figs, expected fruit when he had rendered fruit impossible, and in his "infinite love" was angry that the tree had not upon it, what it could not have."

(Quote taken from Tobin's website: http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/personality.html)


From the writings of Chuang-tse:
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Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same-useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them."

"As you know," Chuang-tse replied, "a cat is very skilled at capturing its prey. Crouching low, it can leap in any direction, pursuing whatever it is after. But when its attention is focused on such things, it can easily be caught with a net. On the other hand, a huge yak is not easily caught or overcome. It stands like a stone, or a cloud in the sky. But for all its strength, it cannot catch a mouse.

"You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way."

(Quote taken from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff)


Given these two perspectives on how to treat things, which seems more profound?
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http://bendench.blogspot.com/
Ben Dench graduated valedictorian of his class from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in the Spring Semester of 2007 with a B.A. in philosophy (his graduation speech, which received high praise, is available on YouTube). He is currently (more...)
 

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