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From the Files of the River Journal's Surrealist Research Bureau

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Break on through to the other side... religious contradictions

“I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself.” Walt Whitman

 The Bible, as we know, contains no errors. How then are we to reconcile hundreds of apparent contradictions? In Genesis 50:13 for example, we learn that Jacob was buried in a cave at Machpelah yet in Acts 7:15 we find him being buried in a sepulchre at Shechem. In Exodus 3:1 we find Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses yet later in Numbers Hobab is named as his father-in-law. And it only gets worse. In Psalms 15:1 we learn it’s a sin to loan money at interest while in Matthew 25:27 it’s a sin to lend money without charging interest. Did Aaron die on Mt. Hor according to Numbers or in Mosera according to Deuteronomy 10:6? In Matthew it’s mentioned men castrated themselves “for the glory of God” while in Deuteronomy it states eunuchs and castrates may not join the congregation. Was Sisera sleeping when Jael killed him or standing up? Judges gives both seemingly contradictory accounts. Did the Lord inspire David to conduct a census, or was the census inspired by Satan as suggested later in Corinthians?

 Even in the New Testament there’s hundreds of blatant inconsistencies. What were the last words of Jesus? In Matthew and Mark it’s “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In Luke it’s “into thy hands I commit my spirit” and in John it’s simply “It is finished!” Likewise, John has only Mary visiting the tomb of Jesus, while Luke has five women involved, Mark has three, and Matthew has only two. Similarly, the accounts have the first visit taking place before dawn, after sunrise, and at nighttime. Likewise in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not for me is against me” seems to contradict Mark and Luke’s “He who is not against us is for us!”

 Mormon contradictions are even more astonishingly bizarre. I’ll mention only a few: In Esther we learn that after leaving the Holy Land furious winds propelled the barges for 344 straight days to the new world. Yet even if the wind blew only for a very mild 10 mph that still would’ve been 82,560 miles, or three times around the world! The Book of Mormon also claims the refugees brought with them Hebrew scriptures which miraculously happened to be in perfect King James English a full thousand years before the 1611 King James version of the Bible was written. Out of pity I’ll leave further contradictions aside for now, yet I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that Mormon Elders have been assiduously expunging those inconsistencies and errors from their pages; nearly 2,000 changes have been made to their “holy” book in the last 131 years, nearly all of them correcting “errors” or quietly dropping clearly disproven historical facts.

I bring this all up due to my recent re-reading of my friend Bob Gover’s non-fiction book “Voodoo Contra” in which he’s taken over or “ridden” by the spirit of a Voodoo Loa at a Santeria ceremony in Haiti. In my readings of Voodoo “scripture” over the years I’ve come to find just as many inconsistencies in their “holy books” as those of the major religions, though as Bob discovered in his own researches, the experience can be just as miraculous and transforming. He was a drinking buddy of the poet Jim Morrison who, like Bob, strove to “break on through” to another state of consciousness. Being a newly returned Vietnam vet and beginning writer at the time of Jim’s death I started sending poems and stories under the pseudonym Jim Morrison to the scores of underground papers of the time—that same “divine fire” must have spread through hundreds of like-minded souls for within a year the “Jim Morrison Lives” legend had spread, though I’m sure, like any mythos, it’s riddled with inconsistencies.

 “The mark of a superior mind is the ability to hold and concur in two opposing viewpoints at the same time.” Ben Franklin

 Ogopogo Update! Rumors are flying on the Internet that Monster Quest, the hit History Channel series airing on Wednesdays, has captured some “really amazing” new images of Canada’s nearby “Ogopogo,” the mystery serpent of Lake Okanagan. Though tight-lipped to the point of obsession about the new video, the producers have confirmed they’ll be airing sometime in February an hour-long show devoted solely to the Okanagan Lake mystery. Watch for it!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

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