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Showing posts from 2019

Two Very Different Views of and Responses to Good and Evil

In my earlier email “Good Parents or Warriors Fighting a Cosmic Battle?” I pointed out that my church had taught me this:
The story of The Garden of Eden is about a cosmic battle between God and Satan.
The ancient Hebrew text teaches something very different:
The story about two people who did what a talking snake told them instead of doing TOV!
The events in the Garden in Eden, when viewed in the context of the first two stories in Genesis, reveal the two extremes of human actions. Read the rest of the story at --

Why the Maccabees Aren’t in the Bible.

The books that tell the Hanukkah tale didn't make it into the Hebrew Bible -- but they are in the Catholic one. The First and Second Books of Maccabees contain the the earliest references to the story of Hanukkahand the rededication of the Temple. And yet, they are missing from the Hebrew Bible. Read the rest of the story at --

Good Parents or Warriors Fighting a Cosmic Battle?

The Story of the Garden in Eden was intended to be read in light of the instructions given in the Story of the Creation of the Heaven and Earth.
● The unnamed Creator in the first story made a man and woman at the same time, blessed them and instructed them.
● Yahweh made a man and a woman at different times and places – and only gave the man a commandment.
Read the rest of the story at:

The Jews Aren't to Blame for Jesus' Death, a Bible Scholar Asserts

In “The Messiah Controversy: Who Are the Jews Waiting For?” (Hebrew), he sheds new light on the trial of Jesus, who was sentenced to death by a Jewish court and executed by the Romans in 30 C.E. After billions of Christians were taught over many centuries that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, Knohl sets out to reexamine this convention.
“The notion that Jesus was put to death by ‘the Jewish people’ is fundamentally wrong. The great majority of the Jewish people did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, but espoused a messianic outlook that was basically similar to his,” he says, adding that today, “after centuries of enmity between Christendom and the Jewish people, which was wrongfully accused of bearing the guilt for Jesus’ crucifixion, surely the time has come to reexamine the events in their historical, religious and social context.”
If Prof. Israel Knohl is right, history books will require rewriting and Church sermons around the world will have to be rethought. Continue read…

Words, Beliefs, Thoughts and Behaviors

Thirty-nine years ago I prayed this prayer:
God show me what words in my Bible You want me to read.”
The following popped into my head immediately:
Unless you know how words work you can’t understand one word of the Bible.”
Today, I know two very important things about “how words work.” Continue reading at:

Creating Evil, Facing Yahweh Afterwards, and Going to Work!

In the last episode of the story of the Garden in Eden, Adam and Eve didn’t have a chance when they faced a “weaponized meme attack” by a snake Yahweh created and Adam named. The snake had existed and known Adam longer than Eve. As we saw, the ancient author announced the encounter with the snake as:
Humans vs. Wild Animal! Which will be the most Subtle, Shrewd, Clever, Crafty or Cunning?
● In order for Adam and Eve to win they must work together in harmony as Co-Shepherds protecting each other’s lives.
● For the snake to win, it must persuade the humans to believe what it says, instead of what Yahweh commanded.
Will the humans reflect the image of God or the image of an animal? Will the actions of the humans be TOV or RAH?
Read the complete story at --

Incorporate the Amazing Power of the Creator’s TOV Standard in Your Life!

The Bible contains a lot of very valuable wisdom principles. At the top of list of biblical books with the most important wisdom principles is the book of Genesis. And of all the stories in Genesis, the most valued wisdom of all is found in the first story.
An unnamed god created Heaven and Earth.
The first wisdom lesson in this story is this:
If your “creator” has a name it may or may not be this god. Measure your god by this Creator’s standard.
What is the Creator’s standard? It is the TOV Standard. In the first story in the Bible (Genesis 1:1-2:4a), human life is the highest value and the primary purpose behind everything the Creator said, created, made or did. Continue reading at –

Eve: Attacked by a Snake, not a Devil, and Destroyed by Theologians

What do most Christians think of when they hear the name “Eve”? “. . . she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband . . .” That’s it! One reason is because of what Tertullian wrote about her and you if you are a woman – “you are (each) an Eve . . . you are the devil’s gateway . . . you destroyed God’s image. Continue reading at -

A Man, Woman and Walking Talking Religious Snake

For Christians, this is one of the most important stories in the entire Bible. It is extremely important for readers to accurately understand what this verse meant to its ancient author. For members of the ancient audience the verses were like a headline:
Which will be the most subtle, shrewd, clever, crafty, and cunning: Two Humans Acting Together or One Lone Snake?
Continue reading at --

Some Things You Probably Don’t Know About Adam But Should

In the last email, we left the newly created man (I will now call him “Adam”) standing in a garden in Eden alone – the garden of the god Yahweh. Adam is surrounded by trees that produce beautiful and appealing fruit. But, even though its fruit is beautiful too, Yahweh commanded Adam to not eat from one tree. The penalty for eating the forbidden fruit is death! Continue reading at --

Treasures Most Bible Readers Cannot See

The Bible opens with two polar opposite stories about the creation of humans – but I could not see that for a very long time. I had been taught to read my Bible from an “authority first” perspective. “Authority first” is a very “religious” way of reading the Bible and in my religion it meant – submit, comply, obey and don’t question authority! For us, God was the highest authority of all and the leaders of our religion were God’s authorized agents, therefore “good Christians” were supposed to submit, comply, obey and not question God’s authorized agents either!!! Continue reading at --

Human Life: Infinitely Precious or Like Spoiled Meat?

The exclusive distinction, “in the image of God,” reveals that all humans share a common origin that sets them apart from all other forms of life – human life is at the top of that divinely ordained moral order of the universe in the first chapter of Genesis. But just five chapters later we discover something very different. Continue reading at -

Why American Democracy Does Not Work for Citizens Today

Educating people about Belief Systems is an important part of the TOV Center’s mission. Why?
Beliefs drive behaviors. When beliefs change behaviors change.
If you were born before 1980 you know the way people behave in America has changed dramatically in your lifetime. However, very few people consider the changes in belief systems that produced those behavioral changes. Continue reading at --

Building a God Talk Vocabulary

God” is the “big elephant in the room” in many conversations and relationships. Everyone knows the elephant is there but no one talks about it – even though it is often a key factor in disagreements over some very important things. In order to have those conversations people need a “God Talk Vocabulary!

Two Polar Opposite Creation Stories

I had always been taught at my church that the two stories at the beginning of Genesis were two versions of one creation account. We were wrong about that too. By the time we finish reading the Garden in Eden Story you will be amazed at the number of differences between it and the first creation story.

A surprise beginning of the Garden of Eden Story

One of the most famous, and for Christians, theologically important stories in the Bible is the account of the “Garden of Eden.” However, because chapter and verse breaks were inserted over a thousand years after the story was written, it is very difficult for modern readers to see the words in their original context. Continue reading at --

Do not forget that God is divine and man is human.

One of the foundational principles of the first account in Genesis is this -- God is divine and man is human. This contrast underlies all biblical thinking. The “likeness of God” is “the likeness of Him who is unlike man.” The words “image and likeness of God” conceal more than they reveal.

The Mystery of the Third Blessing

The first account in Genesis begins and ends with mysteries. The first mystery is that before the beginning, the unidentified god (the Creator), darkness and deep waters existed. The account ends with the second mystery -- Creator’s blessing of the Seventh Day. in the eyes of ancient readers the Seventh Day would have be seen as the most important of the seven days. Continue reading at -

Discovering Ancient Wisdom Embedded in the words of Genesis

As we study the words of the opening accounts of Genesis we will help you see the its words through the eyes of the scribes too – and you will be amazed by the ancient wisdom embedded in stories you may have heard all of your life. Continue reading at --

Knowing the difference between self-evident truths and religious truths.

To invoke the “Creator” as the only basis of the “‘truths” of the new nation would be a very authoritarian and religious approach to truth. In his original rough draft, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths sacred and undeniable . . .” But that is not what we find in the Declaration of Independence. Continue reading at --

Thomas Jefferson and “The Creator” in the Declaration of Independence.

Who is the “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence? Most people mistakenly believe that Thomas Jefferson wrote the above words so it must be his God. But Thomas Jefferson did not write the Declaration of Independence and present it to the Continental Congress. Continue reading at --

How the TOV Standard Can Change Your Life and Relationships

The TOV Standard is found in the first chapter of Genesis. Its presence is reflected in stories throughout Jewish and Christian Scriptures. However, benefiting from the TOV Standarddoes not require belief in any theology or relationship to any organized religion. The TOV Standard transforms the ways people make decisions, judge human behaviors, create relationships and work with others to change things. Continue reading at --

Hating with a Divine Standard

The Bible opens with some radical new ideas for the ancient world:
The god that created the Heaven and the Earth “used a standard” to measure its work.
● “Human life” was the highest value on that divine standard.
That god also “created all humans in its image.”
But one of the most radical ideas of all was this – continue reading at –

Prophets and Prophecies

The English word “prophet” is a transliteration of the Greek word προφήτηςwhich means “an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things.” The Greek meaning is the one many people attach to the word “prophet” in their Bibles. But it is very different from the Hebrew meaning -- which is the one that the Jewish Jesus and his first generation of followers had. Learn more by clicking on --

Core Values and Simple Sets of Rules for Dealing with Very Complex Problems

Today we are immersed in a society that, since the late 1960s, has been changing its “core values.” America is transitioning to a society with the following fourcore values -- money, individualism, rights and entertainment. This transition, however, comes at a very high price. Read more at --

Did Jesus do away the Bible and Constitution?

If someone had walked into our church and said, “Jesus did away with the Bible and Constitution!” – he would risk being stoned on the spot! But, if our preacher had walked into Jesus’s hometown synagogue, the one Yeshua (aka Jesus) faithfully attended every Saturday and preached this -- “We are not under the Law because Jesus fulfilled it!” – he would have also risked being stoned. Read article at --

Our Beliefscapes are Our Realities.

Beliefscapes give us a new way to talk about things that only exist in the neural networks of our brains. By exploring together we learned when and how new belief models came into being and old models faded from memories and changed beliefscapesand doing this together changed our individual beliefscapes and our realities.

Sadducees and Pharisees: Fire + Gasoline

How would like to be the one in charge of managing an environment in which fire and gasoline were always in close proximity to one another? That’s how the Romans viewed Judea, Sadducees and Pharisees. Judea was the environment and Sadducees and Pharisees were the fire and gasoline. Read the complete email at -

The Emergence of Rabbinic Judaism

The Israelites are Jacob’s descendants, the offspring of “the man that wrestled with a god and men, and prevailed.” For the purposes of this discussion, the history of Judaism will be divided into three periods – Pre-Temple Period, The Temple Period, and Post-Temple Period. What is now called “Judaism” was invented in the matrix of Roman culture. Read the complete email at -

So, what do you do when you know you are wrong? Change your BS!

Change your BS! Back in our old realities being labeled as “the person who was wrong” could destroy the career of preacher or rabbi. Who would want to listen to a person like that? Today, encountering a preacher or rabbi – or any other human – who has never been wrong sets off all kinds of BS Alarms.

The Only Two Power Options Humans Have

Exercising power is one thing you invest a tremendous amount of time and energy in every day of your life – and you have been doing it from the first day of your life. Power is so much a part of human life that most people are not consciously aware of when they are exercising power or when power is being exercised on them.

Letting the Jewish Jesus explain his movement in his own words (Part 3).

What do you believe the Jewish Jesus would think about the extremely popular salvation messages that say “people are not saved by works” (what people do have nothing to do with their eternal destinies)!All God cares about is “believing the right things!” Read the complete message at --

Five Temples of Judaism

In truth, there have always been varieties of Judaism, even when the Jerusalem Temple dominated Israelite religious practice in the Ancient Near East. The bottom line is that throughout the “Second Temple Period,” there were other Jewish temples with their priests and they were rivals of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and its priesthood. Read more at --

Human Lives are Valued more than Religious Institutions and Rituals

Human lives are valued more than religious institutions and rituals by the unnamed god in the first account in Genesis. That message is repeated throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels. Read the complete short articles at -

Yom Kippur (Rabbinic Version) Begins at Sundown Today.

Our focus in Exploring Our Biblical Heritages has been primarily on the dramatic changes in Christianity over the past 2,000 years. Judaism has also undergone dramatic changes in that same period. One example of those changes can be seen in how the Holy Day of Yom Kippur is celebrated. Read the complete article at --

We Are All Created to be Creators!

One of the most powerful beliefs in the history of mankind is found in this creation account – all people are created in the image of the Creator! Tribal and religious belief systems place every one in “us vs. them groups.” That makes it much easier to harm, hate and kill “them.” But, for people who view all humans “as creatures created in the image of god” -- harming, hating and killing another human is a very different situation. Read the complete article at --

The Real Meaning of “Jesus Christ Son of God.”

Our goal is to educate by providing culturally and linguistically accurate information.Today I am going to put pieces of information from previous emails together to reveal the real meaning (culturally and linguistically accurate) of the words “Jesus Christ Son of God.” Click on this link to continue reading --

The God, a god or a human and what about the Holy Spirit?

In one of his bestsellers, The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown wrote: “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books - books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe.
Early Christianity is the period from the beginning of the second century CE until 325. As Christianity spread throughout other nations and Gentiles became Christians, five centers of Christianity emerged -- Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandriaand Byzantium(renamed Constantinoplein 330 CE). The five bishops that controlled those centers became powerful Christian authorities and their rulings defined what Christianity was and how it would be practiced. Read the complete article at –

What does Son of God mean?

The words, “Son of God,” have created more confusion about Jesus than probably any other words ever used to describe him. For many centuries, powerful Christian leaders have argued, turned against one other, physically punished and even executed those who dared disagree with their Gentile meanings (non-Jewish) of “Son of God.” Read the complete article (and subscribe for FREE) at

Our brains search for evidence that confirm and support our trusted beliefs.

In the past, scientists thought information simply flowed in the brain and it searched through it to see what was going on outside the skull and then filed things like beliefs in some kind of folders. They viewed the brain as a giant filing cabinet. New science-based discoveries are rewriting the book on belief systems. Read complete article at –

The Highest Standard of All -- The TOV Standard!

A lot of parents have great standards for providing the “right things” for their child’s stomach to digest, but know nothing about the Biology of Beliefs and the importance of providing their child’s brain with “TOV things” for it to ingest.

Actually his name was not Jesus.

So, how can I say, “Actually his name was not Jesus”? The reason I am saying it is because we follow a guideline in our Bible studies and discussion groups that says, “My belief system will be large enough to include all of the facts . . . .”

When Christianity became the Religion of the Roman Empire and Changed!

In 383, Theodosius Iofficially declared Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, thus bringing the movement begun by Constantine the Great full circle.The Roman Catholic Church now became the state church with the power to suppress or control its rivals.

Putting Beliefs about Our Bibles on the Table

The next step that brings even more transparency is for participants in a Bible study or discussion to let each other know “their beliefs about the words of their Bible.” What we believe about the words in our Bible affects how we view and understand them. Read this educational email at --

What Does Christ Mean?

One of the most important words for Christians is the word “Christ.” There are two very good reasons why it is so important.
1. Jesus Christ
2. Christian = Christ + ian
Learn what it meant to the Jewish Jesus.

Did Babylonian texts influence the scribes who produced the first scroll with the opening books of the Bible?

Did Babylonian texts influence the scribes who produced the first scroll with the opening books of the Bible? For example, the story of a Great Flood sent by the gods to destroy all human life, but one good man is warned of the impending deluge and instructed to build an ark? Click here to read complete educational email --

Did Changing the Names of Days Make a Difference?

Did changing the names of days make a difference in the cultures and lives of our ancestors? Does calling today “The Sixth Day of Creation,” or, “The Day of goddess Venus,” or, “The Day of goddess Frigg,” or just “Friday” make a difference?

Did you know there was more than one Christ?

For people with a Christian biblical heritage like mine, that may sound like heresy or blasphemy. From the time I began attending Sunday School classes at our Baptist church until after I became an ordained minister, I had only heard about one “Christ” -- Jesus Christ. Read complete email at --

Receive Exploring Our Biblical Heritages for Free!

Are you interested in facts? Subscribe to BHC’s new educational emails list. Short emails designed to educate you about our biblical heritages, which include historical and textual information about their histories – and information about the Jewish Jesus. Our goal is to get as many facts as possible into the hands of our readers. It is FREE. Just enter your email address – that’s it. Subscribe today.

What are Jots and Tittles?

What was Jesus talking about when he said “jot or tittle”? The first thing to always remember when you read the words of Jesus in English is that Jesus didn’t speak English. Discovering what a “jot” is reveals much more than just the meaning of the word – it reveals the language he was speaking. Clicking on this link to read the complete article

Exploring Biblical Heritages or Defending Unexamined Beliefs?

In July it “hit me” that it was in August of 1980 that I began the journey that led to the founding of the Biblical Heritage Center in 1999 -- and the work we do today. I really couldn’t believe that thirty-nine years have passed since I prayed the prayer that launched my journey. If you missed that article, click here to read it.
Over the past few weeks I have ventured back into remote areas of BHC’s large databases. Some of that information goes back to 1985. I literally hadn’t seen some of those files in decades. But seeing them again and thinking about that information in light of what I now know was a very enlightening experience. I realized that my mindset had changed dramatically without my being aware of it. Click here to read the complete article.

Does Your Belief System Include These Facts About “The Bible”?

Participants in BHC Bible studies and discussion groups agree to follow this guideline:
My Belief System will be large enough to include all of the facts, open enough to be examined and questioned, and flexible enough to change if errors or new facts are discovered.
An important skill participants learn is how to make accurate distinctions between fact-based statements, institutional beliefs, individual beliefs and random opinions. Now let’s learn about some facts about the Bible.
The first fact about “the Bible” is that “the Bible” is an Identity Meme used by Christians to refer to “Christian Scriptures.” “Scriptures” in this context refers to “canonized writings by an institution with authority.”
When Jesus referred to “Scriptures” he was referring writings called the Torah, Prophets and Psalms. In addition he quoted from other books that are in the Tanakh (Jewish Scriptures today). The books of the Tanakh are found in “Christian Scripture” where they are called “the Old Testament.