Independents Like Me Ruined the Country

Or How Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Should Convince All Independents to Join a Political Party

Let me first be clear. I’ve been an independent since I was 18, which was a long time ago. It’s given me the ability to look at each party and criticize them and take comfort in the fact that I’m not one of them. I know I’m not alone in this, as there are more independents than there are republican or democrats. If Independents were a party, we would win every election. The problem is, we aren’t a party, we’re actually just democrats and republicans that don’t like admitting it.

Being an independent feels great. Really great. I get to be morally superior to all those dirty partisans, while secretly being just as ideologically aligned with a party as everyone else. What do I mean by secretly? The fact is, most Independents vote just as reliably with one of the two parties year over year but because we don’t identify with either party, a small percentage of Americans have an over-powerful ability to have the day-to-day conversations about what the parties actually believe, what they enact and what candidates are chosen. The reason these two most unlikable candidates in modern US history are our nominees is because Independents like myself have had a fundamental misunderstanding about how the American political system is setup, and it took this election for me to realize it.

Why the US Two Party System is WAY Better Than Other Countries…at Least in Theory

I’ve heard thousands of times over the years that the US needs to break up the two party system and have as many parties as other countries do (I’m looking at you, France), or at least a third party like what they have in England. The problem is, we already do: we just have a lot of parties and coalitions within our two parties, which makes our politics more efficient and effective. In France, they have to have two rounds of voting, where the two candidates with the highest percentages of the first round compete head-to-head in the second. That might sound good, but when you have 14 political parties, it’s possible for one of the two (or both) to be candidates that only 20% or so of the country actually wants. A holocaust denier in an ultra-right-wing party made it to the final round of voting in 2002 where he lost with only 17% of the vote and France was forced to choose their very much disliked current president. So, with only 20% or less of the population voting for a candidate, you can easily see final elections where people are forced to choose between a neo-nazi, and a “crook.” Does anything sound familiar about this election and 2002 in France?

How America is Supposed to Be: Coalition and Feedback

Before you accuse me of literally showing that the US two-party system did exactly the same thing that happened in France, let me talk about how the system is supposed to function. There are two pillars, and I’ll explain each one at a time:

  1. Coalition: For the two party system to work, coalitions need to be determined ahead of time. These are groups of voters that don’t agree with each other on everything, but have enough over-lap on certain issues that they coalesce around a platform. These have clearly been happening from the very beginning of the USA, and exist today. Within the Republican party exists Libertarians like Rand Paul, Evangelical Christian moral conservatives like Ted Cruz, Foreign Policy Hawks like Lindsey Graham. Each of these groups clearly disagree with each other on many issues, but they’ve found enough overlap to form a coalition. You can find very similar groups within the democratic party, where you have foreign policy hawks like Hillary Clinton, democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders, civil liberties focused like Barack Obama, etc.
  2. Feedback: The next pillar of the American two-party primary system has over other countries is Feedback. By having just one state or a few states voting at a time, future states can react to who is winning and who is losing. If a neo-nazi wins the Iowa caucuses with only 20% of the vote because he is running against 17 other candidates (this is a hypothetical of course), then the projected 80% of voters in the upcoming states who didn’t vote for him can circle around one or two more palatable candidates to prevent that 20% from winning the next few states that vote. By this method, you can avoid having two very unlikable candidates competing in the final election.

How Independents Have Ruined the Two-Party System

And now I’ll explain how having Independent voters undermines both of those pillars and how the stubbornness, dishonesty and pride of Independents have undermined the American electoral system.

  1. Coalition: For a coalition to work the way it’s supposed to, you need everybody to be willing enough to align with a party. Like most Independents, I thought my unwillingness showed how mature and reasonable I was, but it actually shows the exact opposite. It shows I’m not willing to be honest and realize that for me to get the things most important to me done in government, I have to be willing to help others achieve policies with which I might not fully agree, or to be even clearer, policies with which I completely disagree but aren’t my most important priorities. When people like me abstain from identifying with a party and especially voting in primaries, I’ve removed the recognition of the existence of my specific point of view from being fully represented in the coalition. In this last election, there wasn’t one politician in either party I thought represented issues most important to me, and I know most other Independents felt the same way. But the fact is, the reason why there wasn’t any republican or any democrat representing me is because I’m not a republican and I’m not a democrat. And that’s now true for almost half of the country. In other words, in our attempt to be unifiers, we’ve actually allowed the political system to become much more divisive and polarized due to our lack of participation. The moderate republicans and moderate democrats don’t exist anymore in the primaries because Independents aren’t there any more. I myself live in a state where you can’t participate in the primaries unless you identify with one of the two parties, so I have never participated in a primary and I used to believe this was wrong, but I’ve come to realize it makes sense. I need to be willing to be part of a coalition and support other people’s most important issues even if they aren’t important to me for me to expect them to fight for my issues.
  2. Feedback: As I and seemingly the rest of the country watched in shock and disbelief as the primary cycle progressed, and the two most disliked candidates kept winning state after state, I also realized that most people weren’t participating in the primaries process and most people don’t. In 2016, only 28% of eligible voters participated in the primaries. And if this election is like the previous presidential elections, the actual turnout for the presidential election will be around 58%. Ignoring the discussion on whether 58% is a good or a bad thing, the fact is that more than half of the people who are likely to vote for a candidate in the presidential election didn’t participate in the primaries. If they had, I think it’s reasonable to think we most likely would have a different republican nominee and might have a different democratic nominee. Let me be clear, feedback only works if everyone who has an interest in the outcome participates in the process.

Think back to the example of France. Would it be reasonable for French citizens to complain about the candidates that made it through the first round of voting if they didn’t vote? Of course not! In the same way, if Independents aren’t willing to become active in a political party, ensure that their priorities are represented in the coalition, and their vote participates in the feedback process, we can’t complain. I know you won’t like it. I don’t either. But this is politics. We have to be willing to compromise, participate and work together, and when we call ourselves Independents, we are literally saying our separateness is more important than our similarities.

If you disagree with me, let me know why and I’m open to listening. If you resort to fallacies, especially ad hominem, expect your comment to be called out or deleted.

Are teachers paid too little or too much?

A lot of discussion over teachers, teachers unions, teachers pensions, etc. is currently going on and I don’t see any sign of it stopping in the distant future. All of these questions mainly revolve around two ideas: teachers are underpaid and thus we should subsidize their pay through better retirement packages, increase their salaries, and guarantee employment through tenure. If teachers are paid less, then it makes sense for them to have a more subsidized retirement. However, if they’re overpaid, it not only lessens the argument for a government pension at all, but it inflates the pension as a calculation of that salary. Further, if teacher salary has been inflated for some time, then it makes sense for the government to renegotiate even current pensions to bring those costs back in line.


So here is some information about teacher pay.

One thing to keep in mind when discussing pay for teachers, is the average teacher only works 181 days per year, but reports that during the school year, they work an average of 58 hours per week (about nine hours more than the average American salaried worker), so in the end, a teacher works about the same amount as an average salaried worker in the US in any given year. 

Because salaries change from one state to the next, I’ll be using Illinois’ teacher’s salaries as a state’s example, specifically because Illinois recently tried to renegotiate teachers’ pensions and t
he starting salary for an Illinois teacher is $37k, which is roughly the national average of the country and about 15th by state (New Jersey is the highest at $48k). This currently ranks the Illinois and the US about 8th in the world (Luxembourg is #1 with $70k); however the national average for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $45k, so the average Illinois teacher at the beginning is paid less than if they went into a different field (obviously this isn’t true across the board, as someone with an English degree has much less potential earning power than someone with an engineering degree, so if teachers are mainly comprised of lower paying degrees, this could be brought back into perspective).

But with pensions, we’re talking about lifetime earning while working, so let’s look at those numbers. The average American with a bachelor’s degree will work approximately 40 years before being able to retire, and over that lifetime will make approximately $2.4M, which averaged out is about $60k/year. The average teacher in Illinois makes $59,679 (which would put them 12th in the US, and 5th against all other countries in the world, ahead of Canada, South Korea, the rest of the US by about $10k, and Japan).

One factor that should be noted, is that I’ve used average bachelor’s degree worker wages for the US because I couldn’t find it just for Illinois, but that Illinois on average pays about $1k more than the US average, so over a 40 year time period that’s ~$40k more, but previously when I mentioned the average Illinois teacher working about the same as the average American, they do in fact work about 40 hours less per year, which totals about $1,111, so it’s effectively a wash.

So, from all of these statistics we can conclude that Illinois teachers on average are paid neither more nor less, but are paid almost identical to other full-time bachelor’s degree educated workers in the US. From this, I believe it is reasonable to argue that Illinois teachers ought not be given special consideration over other Illinois workers with regards to pension.

Money in the Church, or What’s Wrong with a Pastor’s Salary

Here are a few scriptures in the New Testament that point to the idea that some can receive money for their teaching/ministry: Galatians 6:6, “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.” and 1 Cor 9:13-14, “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat [of the things] of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of [the offerings of] the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”

These scriptures clearly say that some leaders can and should be paid, but I would counter that many people who are paid in the church ought not to be, and that the church leaders were never made rich off of the ministry, but rather had their basic needs met and the rest of the offering was distributed to the poor. Paul, concerned with the mixing of taking money from those to whom he was ministering, didn’t collect any offerings from the Corinthian church, but rather subsisted off of the Macedonians while he was ministering in Corinth (2 Cor 11:7-9). Furthermore, we find in Acts 18 that Paul also worked as a tentmaker while he was at Corinth to support himself rather than take money from the local church. So, even an apostle supported himself while he lived in a town and ministered there even though he says he had a right to be paid for his ministry. In 2 Corinthians (esp. chapter 8) we find out the reason why Paul did this: he didn’t want his ministry tainted by asking for money for himself, especially since he was collecting money for the poor in Jerusalem. In fact, the scripture in Galatians also has a counterbalance, of Gal 6:10 where Paul writes that the local church should care for their poor.

All of that is background to say what my view is: we as a church abounding in riches should be willing to support those who dedicate themselves fully to the ministry, especially those who are doing missionary work, so that their being supported from where they are ministering doesn’t pollute the Gospel; however the idea that we allow our local church leaders to get rich off of ministry, especially preaching, is a very sad thing, and we are turning the house of prayer into a den of thieves (Matt 21:13). Nowhere does Paul mention that the local church leaders in Corinth should be paid, but rather says in 1 Cor 14:26,29-31, ” How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if [anything] is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” People weren’t lining up around the block to become apostles, as Paul writes earlier in 1 Cor 4:9-11, “For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but you [are] wise in Christ! We [are] weak, but you [are] strong! You [are] distinguished, but we [are] dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless.” Paul doesn’t paint the picture of a man that was taking 10% of any of the churches to which he was ministering as his wage, but was only interested in having his basic needs met! The idea that we are effectively making every local pastor more than equal in rewards to that of an apostle while ignoring the apostles unwillingness to pollute the Gospel with money hurts the development of the gifts within the rest of the church (who should be teaching along with their leaders) and also takes money that could be used to both support missionaries and the poor and funnels it into the hands of those who could distribute their responsibilities and work but rather are often made rich.

How Planned Parenthood Is a Mass-Murderer, or a Quick Lesson in Death Counts

The question of abortion being OK or being wrong is and always will be a question of whether a fetus should be considered a person or not. If not, then one could argue that Planned Parenthood is doing a good thing by providing the last line of crisis birth control. If, however, a fetus is a person, then Planned Parenthood is the greatest perpetrator of mass-death not only within the black community but of all time in US history (aborting 327,166 fetuses/children in 2012 alone).

One fun argument to address first when speaking about Planned Parenthood specifically is the canard that abortion is only a small part of what they do (3% is what Planned Parenthood claims here). That is like saying that a car dealership only sells cars 3% of the time, because they sell a lot of floor mats and cup holders also. The latter is of practically no profitable value, while the former is very profitable. To truly tease out the number of how much Planned Parenthood makes from abortion, you’ll want to simply multiply the average cost of an abortion (according to Planned Parenthood it’s $483) by the number of abortions they conducted in 2012. That total comes to $158,021,178, which is 51.8% of their revenue that is not collected through donations and government grants. As a business owner myself, any revenue generator that provides me with half of my services revenue is going to be a vital business function, especially if that service only accounts for 3% of my overall activities.

Now that we’ve established that Planned Parenthood clearly is in the abortion business, we should go back to whether the abortion business can be said to be killing children, or is simply disposing of unwanted pre-viable tissue. In Roe v Wade’s decision, Blackmun wrote, “The appellee and certain amici argue that the fetus is a ‘person’ within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. In support of this, they outline at length and in detail the well known facts of fetal development. If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on reargument. On the other hand, the appellee conceded on reargument that no case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.” To rephrase and extrapolate this, Blackmun agrees that if a fetus is seen as a person, then that fetus/person deserves the full, constitutional protection of the law (specifically the 14th Amendment’s protection of life, liberty and property which was made to clarify that blacks, who historically were not recognized as people, now would receive these rights). Blackmun also acknowledges that those in favor of declaring a fetus a person presented overwhelming scientific evidence to this point; however because of a legal principle of “stare decisis” or legal precedent, he felt this scientific evidence invalid. (As an aside, it seems to me an odd thing that scientific arguments stating that a life is a life are ignored because an historically exclusionary document, i.e. the constitution, is still not including another group of people.)

So, having shown that even those Supreme Court judges that legalized abortion acknowledged that abortion is really a question of whether a fetus is a person, let’s spend a few minutes talking about the “well known facts of fetal development”.

The Guttmacher Institute (which is the reporting arm of Planned Parenthood, and thus could possibly be skewing these numbers, but we’ll assume they are valid to ensure we aren’t using pro-life trumped up numbers), provides what percentage of abortions it is doing at a specific stage, so I will put that percentage (and the total approximate number of abortions) for 2012 next to the description of the stage of fetal development. One other note, I took all of my descriptions of fetal development from the Mayo Clinic’s website, and used the term “baby” because that is what they used.

  • (33.3%, 108,946) ~5-6 weeks: Baby has a neural system, a heat beat and basic facial features.
  • (29.8%, 97,495) 7-8 weeks: Baby has eyes, arms, legs, fingers, ear buds, lips and nose.
  • (25.7%, 84,082) 9-12 weeks: Baby has functioning liver, fingernails, genitilia.
  • (6.2%, 20,284) 13-15 weeks: Baby has functioning digestive system, has gender definition, and a hair pattern
  • (3.6%,11,777) 16-20 weeks: Baby has coordinated movements, has fat, can hear, and if baby is girl, has a uterus.
  • (1.2%, 3,926) 21+ weeks: Baby is effectively done being defined and now is growing and maturing. The youngest recorded delivery of a baby who survived is James Gill (b. 1987) who was born at 21 weeks, 5 days, and is now a fully healthy young man.

If you are willing to grant that a fetus who is over 21 weeks is clearly viable (as evidenced by the fact that James Gill is alive and well), and clearly should be recognized as a person, then Planned Parenthood is the 2nd largest murderer in the US with 3,926 deaths (according to the FBI, the total number of murder victims in 2012 were 12,765, with guns being the leading cause with 8,855). And, if you are willing to concede that a baby that is 16 weeks who feels, thinks, hears, sees, and literally has her own uterus for her to make decisions about should be considered a person, then Planned Parenthood is now the #1 murderer in the US, with 15,703 deaths on their hands. The farther back you are willing to draw the line of seeing a fetus as a person, the greater that number becomes, to the point that the dizzying number of 327,166 makes Planned Parenthood the third highest cause of death in the US behind heart disease and cancer. One other thing to keep in mind, is that according to the CDC, Planned Parenthood is doing less than half of all reported abortions in the US (~45%), so all of those numbers more than double when taking abortion as a whole into consideration, making abortion the highest cause of death in the US with the staggering number of 53 million abortions between 1973 and 2011 (the last totals the Guttmacher Institute published) meaning that 28% of all persons conceived since 1973 have been killed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the US.

 

 

 

 

In Response to Donald Miller’s Does the Pro-Life Movement Need a New Strategy

Here is a link to Donald Miller’s original article.

I think that Donald Miller is a wolf in sheep’s clothing on this issue as he’s simultaneously accusing the pro-life community of things it doesn’t do and then prescribing solutions that don’t work, all while invoking the name of MLK who did not do any of the items on the list he is saying. First, Donald Miller gave the benediction on the first night of the 08 DNC, and now serves on Obama’s Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families, where in their recommendations to Obama, they list family planning (which is the democrats’ fun term for contraception including abortion) as a major means of achieving better fathers.


Regarding his list of six things the pro-life movement needs to be doing

1) He is just perpetuating a lie from the media and the left about Christians and the pro-life movement. There are currently ~2,500 crisis pregnancy centers in the US, and ~1,800 abortion clinics. This shows we are putting our time, energy and money where our mouths are as we actively support women who are looking for help during their time of crisis. 

2) The idea we need to lose the “self-righteous tone,” is ludicrous, as I doubt he would have objected to MLK writing that segregation is “nothing but a form of slavery” and “a system of adultery perpetrated by an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.” 

3) The statement that we demonize the opposition is a question of who our opposition is: if it’s the women, I think the pro-life movement is so convinced women are also victims they are often blind to the fact that some women, fully knowing it is a child they are killing, do it anyway purely out of a sense of convenience. If it is the doctors and politicians, again, I don’t think we demonize at all, but simply call facts facts: I can’t imagine how Obama can cry over the children being massacred at Newtown and have no comment on Gosnell killing innumerable children over a 39 year period. And not only no comment, but when he was a state senator, he THREE times opposed born-alive legislation that would have made what Gosnell did murder rather than just a post-birth abortion.

4) The “complicated issue” argument has already been addressed by the crisis pregnancy centers and MLK speaking about segregation. In the times of slavery, the argument was that it wasn’t about slavery, but property rights and that the abolitionists were making a complicated issue involving economics, property rights and morality too black and white. Would you have told Frederick Douglas that he should just understand the other side of the issue and know that this is a “complicated” issue? The complicated issue argument about slavery was made by Thomas Jefferson while he continued to own slaves to his dying day and was rightly rejected by those ultimately responsible for ending slavery.

5) Again (I feel like a broken record), the “culture of life” is proven through the crisis pregnancy centers. It’s proven by the countless churches that will take unwanted children, and the fact that every state in the country has “safe haven” laws on the books where any unwanted child can be given away with no questions asked. It’s also proven through the countless charities setup by Christian organizations and supported greatly by the same group of people who are pro-life.

6) Of course this is about sex, but not from the pro-life side but the pro-choice side! Are Christians actively picketing every Walmart, Walgreens and pharmacy where contraception are sold? Are we holding up pictures of wasted sperm that was discharged without the intent to procreate as a great travesty? It’s important to note that Donald Miller is unmarried, and yet is arguing that we should be presenting the beauty of marriage as a compelling argument against sex outside of marriage. If he truly believes this is so important to winning the fight for babies, then why hasn’t he yet done anything about it?

I think this is the most important point of this whole thing: I can show support to the individual, but never to the action. Actions are good or bad, not complicated. Abortion is wrong because it murders a child, or it’s cutting off a fingernail, not both. People might have millions of seemingly reasonable explanations for why they think they should have the right to kill their baby, but it is wrong, should be illegal and should never be seen as anything but the most horrific act any society can participate in.

My challenge to Donald Miller is this: get the very task force he is a part of to say that fathers should be trying to get their significant others to abort their children less, and I’ll admit he’s actually doing something: until then I think he’s just the same guy with his reverse confessional apologizing for things he didn’t do and doesn’t understand.

*One more point not in my original post: to say the pro-life movement is failing is false. Partial birth abortion is banned, several states have outlawed abortion completely recently, a lot of states are down to just one abortion clinic, parental notification and ultrasound laws are being implemented throughout the country. I think Miller isn’t so much complaining that nothing is being done, but that he’s not part of what’s being done because those who are part of it don’t like who he hangs out with.

Five Things I Wish People Would Admit about the Bible

Note: I wrote this because, in a previous post, I attacked an article written by Relevant Magazine titled 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit about the Bible for listing 5 things almost no Christians actually believes about the Bible. In the spirit of putting my neck where I built a guillotine, I thought I should write my own list of Five things I Wish People Would Admit about the Bible, that I think most people will probably argue with or at least try to ignore.


1) The Bible, as it stands today, is not inerrant. There are contradictions in the Bible (Jesus’ lineage for example). There are also verses that are in some manuscripts and not others (see John 7:53-8:11). I do believe it was God Breathed at its original writing, but we’ve had 2,000+ years to cut, paste and insert into it. All of that being said, it is a testament to the Holy fear people have had in doing so, that so few errors have entered it. As an example, the Church has known for a long, LONG time about the contradiction in Jesus’ lineage, but were unwilling to either remove one, or change the other to make it match.

2) Because the Bible was written in human languages, it has inherited the problems of language. All language is abstract, arbitrary, and ambiguous. No word can replace an object, and therefore we must recognize that any word written in the Bible is only as useful as the intent God meant to speak into those words when they were being written, and the only way to do that is to be filled with the same Holy Spirit that wrote the words originally.

3) The New Testament Law replaces the Old Testament Law. The Old Testament remains to teach us lessons, but is not for implementation or prescription. The Old Testament remains to teach us how frail, sinful and foolish men are, but that is all. The sabbath day no longer need be kept, the tithe is no longer commanded, etc, etc. Further, the Old Testament law was not God’s law, but was a bargain God made with man to teach them how bad they were at even living up to a crappy law. Jesus spoke in Matthew 19:8, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” And again, the sermon on the mount was to show that the Old Testament law was not God’s will for man, but was man’s will for a law they thought they could uphold.

4) The Bible is very clear that God is a righteous God that demands righteousness, but is also interested in being that righteousness for us. It seems to me that most Christians are either interested in seeing the Bible as a book that tells us what and what not to do, or they are interested in saying useless euphemisms like “Jesus preached relationship not religion.” The truth is that God is very much concerned with our actions, but also knows we have no ability to carry out right actions, or rather to be righteous. The Old Testament effectively says this over and over and over again, with the best of people realizing they are the worst, and God not ignoring their sinfulness. The New Testament exists and proves that God wants us to be righteous through His righteousness, not in some ethereal heaven beyond, but right now, today, through Jesus’ shed blood and His resurrection.

5) A person can be a Christian without ever reading the Bible, and/or while believing “heretical” doctrines that either twist the Bible or ignore it. Mark 9 has a man doing miracles in Jesus’ name, and He tells His disciples that “no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” Almost all of the epistles are the Apostles writing to churches who are clearly believing/practicing heretical ideas, but the authors never seem concerned with the overall salvation of the church so much as them growing in Christ. The Bible is important for its pointing out heresies and misalignments in our lives, but we must be careful of not throwing out the Spirit with the ugly vessel it chooses to work in.

5 Things No One Actually Thinks about the Bible

Please read the Relevant Magazine Article: 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit about the Bible first, then read my rebuttal here:

This article seems to be refuting claims almost no one actually makes about the Bible, and in each point, he makes many sub-points that often seem to have nothing to do with the bullet, and are often wrong: 

1) Of course the Bible isn’t “magic”, a term no one uses to describe rather than what he’s really refuting, which is that it is Spiritual. But then, the author immediately goes into fun facts about the Bible not being The Good Book because it’s many small books. Would he then admit that the Bible are the Good Books? He doesn’t say, just simply that it’s not Good. If he would really like to be clear, he should say what books are literal and which are figurative. Surely Jews felt Psalm 22 was figurative poetry right up until Jesus was actually crucified exactly as described. But again, I’m still not sure what he’s refuting except perhaps some people who think a Bible scares off vampires.

2) I would argue the Bible is much clearer than we’d like it to be, and that’s why most people try not to read it literally (see bullet 1). Is fornication ok? Bible’s much clearer than we’d like to it be. Is bad language ok? Bible’s much clearer than we’d like it to be. Should we love our enemies, care for the poor, give away our excess, seek spiritual gifts of healing? All of these things are clear, but we as people want to move away from them for our own comfort. And as Christians, we should understand with complete clarity that the New Testament trumps the Old Testament (the word that is most often used of the NT isn’t actually testament, but covenant, which is the terms of a contract), so for any person who says Christians believe they should stone those not observing the sabbath day, or kill homosexuals, you need to simply ask them if that old covenant carried over to the new one.

3) Using the author’s own words against him, some places in the Bible are just inspired, some places are just history (possibly not inspired at all), but other places are clearly dictated by God directly. Were Isaiah’s visions just inspired, or John’s revelation, or some of David’s Messianic Psalms? An interesting thing happens in 1 Corinthians 7: Paul switches between speaking directly on behalf of God, and using his own inspiration. We must recognize that the Bible has both inspiration, and dictation, but it dilutes God’s word not to recognize this.

4) The very purpose of the Bible is to have an objective, outside source that prevents our own interpretations from straying too far. 2 Peter 1:20-21 reads, ” τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι” which literally means this first knowing that any prophecy of scripture of its own interpretation not is. not indeed by will of man was brough prophecy at any time but by spirit holy being carried spoke from God men, or reordered for the layman, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” You see, there is a source text (and there are variations of the source text, which a good Bible annotates for the reader), and we as readers of the Bible must realize two things: it wasn’t written by a man’s private interpretation, and we ourselves cannot approach it with our own interpretation but must read it as it was written, i.e. by the Holy Spirit.

5) Again, the author seems to be titling at windmills, as what thoughtful Christian believes that the Bible is either equal to God or is greater than God. John himself ends his Gospel proclaiming “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

As an overarching comment about this article, I feel the author is actually undermining the Bible by first making statements no one really believes to make outsiders realize how stupid Christians must be for believing in a “magic” book that is God. I think the author then gets to pat himself on the back for saying how great a deed he did in condemning those stupid Christians publicly and setting the record straight.