Monday, October 19, 2020

A New Way to Talk About the Elephants in the Room


Christianity and Judaism are mutually exclusive monotheistic religions, which means a person cannot belong to both religions at the same time. In addition to that, some Christian and Jewish religious institutions do not agree about what important beliefs mean within their own religions. Those “polarizing beliefs” are “the elephants in the room” – beliefs that most people usually avoid talking about.


However, there is another reason that people ignore these “elephants.” They are “Institutional Truths” (see my previous email for more info about this), which means they are backed by the authority of powerful institutions.


Challenges to an Institutional Truth is viewed as a direct challenge

to the institution’s claim that it is an authorized representative of God!


For most people, emotions are much more involved in belief discussions than logic or reason. That is another reason people choose to “ignore the elephants.The bottom line is people have not had “a peaceful way” to talk about conflicting beliefs.


I created the Meme Model to make belief discussions more transparent -- a new way to see beliefs.” “Memes” are “pieces of information” in neural circuits of the brain and all beliefs are memes. Institutional Truths are complex meme structures constructed of four types of information.


Identity MemeName


Supporting MemesNames of things related to the Identity Meme.


Action MemesThings the Identity Meme does.


Authority and AnchorsAnchors link the Identity Meme to specific times and places. Authority identifies Institutions that are linked to the Identity Meme.


Below are Meme Models for stories I have discussed in previous emails.



The Creator of the Heavens and Earth in Enuma Elish


Identity Meme: Marduk


Supporting Memes: A God ○ Born ○ Not Immortal ○ Male ○ King ○ Creator


Action Memes: Rules over other Gods ○ Uses Violence to Create and Rule ○ Actions driven by complaints of Gods  


Authority & Anchors: (Date [2000 – 300 BCE] – Place [Babylon]) Kings of Babylon, Kings of Persia ○ Priests and Scribes of the Temple of Marduk



The Creator of the Heavens and Earth in Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a


Identity Meme: Unnamed


Supporting Memes: A God ○ A RUACH (spirit, breath, wind) ○ Origin Unknown ○ Not Mortal ○ Creator ○ King


Action Memes: Creates through speech and acts that are TOV ○ Follows a plan and creates in an orderly way ○ Values human life ○ Created humans in Its Image ○ Empowers humans to be Its representatives and exercise power as Co-Shepherds over all life on Earth.


Authority Memes: (Date [5th century BCE] – Place [Jerusalem Temple]) King of Persia ○ Priests and Scribes of the Temple of Yahweh.



Yahweh The God Genesis 2:4b – 3:24


Identity Meme: Yahweh


Supporting Memes: A God ○ Origin Unknown ○ Not Mortal ○ Creator ○ Planter ○ King ○ Judge


Action Memes: Created a man from dust of the ground ○ Planter of a garden in Eden ○ Giver of a commandment ○ Maker of animals ○ Maker of a woman from the rib of the man ○ Judge of human actions


Authority Memes: (Date [5th century BCE] – Place [Jerusalem Temple]) King of Persia ○ Priests and Scribes of the Temple of Yahweh



Three models created from information of three different stories. Differences in the models were used to teach ancient Jewish audiences important lessons about their God, themselves, and their relationships to each other. Meme Models may be used to create transparency in any Institutional Truth – religious, political, or economic! Meme Models will soon become some of your most valuable possessions.


Thank you for reading this and please share it with others.



Jim Myers


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Friday, October 16, 2020

Two Very Different Types of Truth


Wars have been fought over beliefs about God. People have been tortured in Inquisitions because of beliefs about God. Others have been excommunicated because of beliefs about God. Billions of peoples have beliefs about the afterlife that are based on beliefs about God. So, what is a “belief”? According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary:


A belief is a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence

is placed in some person or thing.”


Trust is a feeling of confidence. Be sure to note that belief, trust, and confidence are all emotional states. Beliefs are the building blocks of religious belief systems and they are viewed as “truths” to believers.


In his book, Letters from an Astrophysicist, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson discusses the difference between science and religion (p. 99):


Science follows evidence. When strong evidence supports an idea, the concept of belief, when invoked the way religious people use it, is unnecessary.  In other words, established science is not an ensemble of beliefs, it’s a system of ideas supported by verifiable evidence . . . You do not ask if I believe in the sunrise. Or if I believe the sky is blue. Or if I believe Earth has a Moon. These are non-controversial truths about the physical world for which the word “believe” has no place.”


The term “verifiable evidence” means “facts.” “A “fact” is something that has actual existence. Facts are sensory perceivable. Facts are the building blocks of science.


But did you notice that in the above paragraphs, both religion and science used the word “truth.” It is defined as “the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality.” For this reason, it is essential for explorers of biblical heritages to make clear distinctions between the two types truths:


Fact-Based TruthsThis is what scientific truths are based on.


Authority-Based TruthsThis is what religious truths are based on.  


Religious truths are based on authority, including truths about “God.” I am not aware of any fact-based truths about God. But, in some cases, there are fact-based truths that are related to authority-based truths of religions – for example “beliefs about the Bible.”


Biblical Heritage Explorers are committed to following the guideline below:


My belief system will include all of the facts,

open enough to be examined and questioned,

and flexible enough to change if errors or new facts are discovered.


Now let’s use the guideline to examine the belief statement below:


My Bible is the inerrant infallible Word of God.


There are facts related to the “My Bible” part of the belief statement. It is a book that actually exists, and its words are sensory perceivable.  


The “inerrant infallible” part of the belief statement is an authority-based truth. In my case, those words were part of my church’s Statement of Faith. “Inerrant and infallible” means the words in the Bible are "without error or fault incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.”


One day I was reading my Bible, a New King James Version, and I read the verses below about God’s instructions to Noah. I have a banking background and numbers always catch my attention.


Genesis 6:19-20


And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.


Genesis 7:2-3


You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.


The numbers in the verses above do not match:


2 of every male and female is different from

7 of every male and female.


Clearly, my Bible did not contain words that are "without error or fault incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.” Contrary to what some people say, what I discovered doesn’t mean I should throw it in the trash or that it is useless.


It simply means a belief about the Bible was wrong

and that I need to identify and examine the authority behind it.


Examining belief statements about God is a much more complex task, therefore we created a Meme Model to guide explorers. I will show you how to use it in my next email. Thank you for exploring with me. Please share and discuss this email with others.



Jim Myers


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