The Root of Evil: Does Religion Promote Violence?

The Root of Evil: Does Religion Promote Violence?


Jim Alinder

Driving through America is the antidote to sentimentality. 

Ecclesiastes 2: I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

From the Notebook:

Something I started, but haven’t been able to finish:

America reclines in the shadows
Stoking coals to keep off oncoming night
Oh, but a few more hours til my eyelids burn;
Til they droop from the dry
And I must finally admit sleep
Submit to sleep
After dozing in my chair
After waking with a broken posture
And a gap in my memory.

Tonight is the longest night of the year;
The round belly of the earth
Leans back the furthest
And groans the heartiest laugh
On this night.
America reclines in shadows
Gazing at the coals.

The too green log whistles in the heat
While I crumple newspapers to fuel
The flames that refuse to take.
Facts and facts and facts and facts
Gathered in a grey-matter basket of butter fats,
Nerves, and lightning, and smoke smelling fingers
And front-loaded statements declaring
What is imperative,
Interrogating what is declared.

I’m trying to make sense
As the words speak into smoke
And ha-choo up the flue
rising as incense to the shadows
On this night. 

– 21 December 2009