First off, no one can answer this question definitely for you. If there was a definite answer to this question that satisfied everyone, there would be no separate denominations. Each person has to find the answer him/herself.
I personally take as literal, whatever is not contextually figurative. The oldest copies of the scriptures are written in languages that are fully developed, and fully capable of indicating what parts are metaphors, similes, parables, recommendations, etc. And a tremendous effort has been put forth to make sure it is accurately translated, including these literary devices.
Your second paragraph demonstrates my reason for my second paragraph. It is wrong to claim "symbolic" the things you don't like, and "literal" the things you do like. It is quite apparent to me from the Bible that God's view of what is abominable is quite different from the secular view, whether you like it, or not.
As far as your fig tree dilemma, by my standard, you would take this literally: Jesus cursed a fig tree because it was not providing the food he sought. He used this to demonstrate to his disciples the power of faith.
You can find that God may give you a different symbolic meaning than he gave me. He gave me the understanding that whatever doesn't serve God will be cursed, even plants. How much more will God curse those who can choose to serve him and don't when he cursed a tree which has no conscious choice such as this? But to those who believe, that for which they ask will be given them. Also, God's cursing is a bit more effective than dropping the F-bomb a few times, if you take it literally. I definitely don't want to be on his bad side when he comes back.
As far as taking the passage figuratively, I see no wording to indicate that this passage is a metaphor, parable or any other literary device besides a recount of events that took place. Except, perhaps as an example of God's personality.
On a side note: Yahoo! Answers can be a great resource, but I doubt it is the best place to get spiritual guidance.