June 23, 2018
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Is violence intrinsic to our human nature?

By Rev. Dr. Lee Witting, Special to the BDN

Is violence intrinsic to our human nature?
Is violence intrinsic to our human nature?
Does matter contain both the love and the hate you’re
Liable to think of, when asking that question?
Well, let’s look at the matter to ask who’ll invest in
The notion that matter might just self-destruct,
Leaving us mortals, no doubt, out of luck.

The Bible says God formed our bodies of clay,
And science has not made that thought go away,
But matter’s quite stable; it takes nuclear bombs
Or hadron colliders to bring particles to harm,
Except there is one thing that couldn’t be sadder,
And that’s an encounter with cruel antimatter,
The thing that can bring on complete annihilation,
It was made at the Big Bang, it’s the very gestation
Of making something from nothing, and when “anti” completes us,
We’re again back to nothing, nonexistence defeats us.

But above basic matter, does biology teach,
That we can aspire beyond violence to reach
A sweetness in life that brings true harmony,
A oneness with nature that lets us be free
To explore our potential in God’s universe,
A life without pain wherein we can rehearse
The music of green trees and God’s loving critters?
But then we look around and it gives us the jitters
To think that our deaths most inevitable are,
Biologic clocks end us, our telomere bar,
From ant, leaf, and me to the sweet, croaking frog,
We all die someday — giant elm, rotten log.

Meanwhile, other faiths say we’re stuck on the wheel,
Reincarnating often, like life’s no big deal.
Our mother’s our daughter in some life down the line,
And we fantasize karma will bring us out fine,
Till we ponder the fact that we hardly improve,
In this life or the next, we’re unlikely to move
Into moral empowerment as we better our station.
Temptations, corruptions spoil our re-creation,
Until we incarnate as stones or as vermin.
Without God’s forgiveness, karma can’t determine
A path that is upward, and moral and true,
Life’s the tar-baby story; we get stuck through and through.

Then what about spirit, and after we die,
Is there peace found at last in our home in the sky?
“On earth as in heaven” Jesus taught us to pray.
Is heaven the place where there’s no more decay,
The battling’s over, and there is God’s peace?
Does our suffering at last gain eternal release?
But what about warring in heavenly places?
The Bible shows angels turning their faces
From God’s light and love, while archangels rage,
At war with the demons who fell off the stage
At the beginning of time, and they still rage today.
Do our souls join that battle, do we enter that fray?
As the reward for our living and dying on Earth,
Do we just get promoted to some upper berth
Where the war then continues between love and the other?
Does destruction go on between brother and brother?
“In heaven as on Earth” — is that the true read,
Of our earthly borne burdens of violence and greed?

The duality problem’s intrinsic to nature.
It came with creation, and it’s there at each stage you’re
Expected to deal with, from matter to spirit,
Antimatter to death, we know something will queer it.
When it comes to perfection, it just never comes,
When we think we’ve gained heaven then some awful bums
Impose on our reverie when we least expect it.
We want to lose violence, but just can’t reject it.
It comes built right into duality’s core.
Between good and evil there’ll always be war,
Until existence is ended, and we’re back to zero,
Where there’s never the villain and never the hero,

Just the oneness of God, in which we’ll be infused,
Inconceivable Oneness, and no longer abused.

The Rev. Dr. Lee Witting is pastor of the Union Street Brick Church in Bangor. He may be reached at leewitting@midmaine.com. Voices is a weekly commentary by Maine people who explore issues affecting spirituality and religious life.

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