Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century


Formed as a one off experiment in 2003, Montreal’s Arcade Fire has gone on to become one of the preeminent artistic successes in popular music. Their music is at once cataclysmic and uplifting, always delivered with an unwavering conviction by lead singer Win Butler. No better is the band’s immense power demonstrated than on the track Intervention from the band’s 2007 album Neon Bible. Opening with a cacophonous organ line highly reminiscent of those heard in traditional church services, Intervention describes Win Butler’s own disenfranchisement with organized religion and the evil he believes it represents. The song describes what Butler believes is the silliness and inherent evil in raising a child under the concepts of organized religion. As the song progresses, Butler describes a young follower of religion as a “soldier fighting on their side,” unable to discern just what they are really fighting for. He moves on to criticize the emphasis on money that religion seems to adopt and how misplaced this idol worship is in the context of the religion.

Butler moves on to comment on the place of the overwhelming fear that he believes is used to keep younger members of religion in place and complacent. Clearly a commentary on Butler’s own experiences as a child growing up as a part of something so intimidatingly large that fear is the only logical response, Butler urges younger listeners who can empathize to look outside of their current situation. Butler’s purpose in the song is to alert both his younger audience as well as his more mature audience to take sight of the overwhelming and corrosive presence of organized religion on people’s lives (and urges them to flee). Butler never makes any concessions in the song, organized religion is described as exclusively an evil force, not once does he praise it.


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