It’s hard to say what would be the root of all evil. There are so many variables. The definition of the word evil, also, is relative to the person asking or the person accusing. What you may call evil and what I call evil could very well be two totally different things. However, I can be pretty sure that the morals you were raised by which decide your view of evil rely very heavily on your parents’ religion and the prevailing religion of whatever locale you come from. Religion teaches us what to consider good or evil.
From the time you’re a child; your parents, teachers, grandparents, friends, their families, and anyone who has any influence over your development will try to tell you what is good and what is evil. Many of these experiences, stories, and beliefs will translate into your adulthood as your own beliefs, and you will pass them to your children. More than likely, almost every one of these stories and experiences was accompanied by a story from the Bible or a myth from some other religion and used as a way to teach you that one way is good, and one way is evil.
You will, almost without fail, rebel against all that is good.
Chances are, you’ll only flirt with darkness. You’ll wear black, because it’s the devil’s color, or you’ll study a pagan religion simply because you were told it’s wrong. You will commit these evils because of your religious upbringing. In this sense, your sense of evil really was fully influenced by religion.
On the other hand, the true evils of this world – murder, rape, torture, war, greed, bigotry, hatred in general – can be attributed mostly, if not completely, to the world’s major religions. Every major war the world has seen has been fought based on a religious zeal bordering on insanity. Hitler thought that he was purifying God’s world, the Islam jihadists believe that the Western world is under the influence of Satan, the Dark Ages and Crusades were fought against heretics. Every major act of violence perpetrated by one human culture against another can trace it’s roots in whole or in a very large part to the teachings of one of the world’s major religions at the time.
Many of today’s hate crimes are based on religious intolerance – Homosexuals murdered because they’re an abomination in the eyes of God, goths beaten by church goers, Arab stores robbed or vandalized because of fear of their religion’s extremist wing, all due to religion.
Some would argue that the world would be a much better place without religion. I’d tend to agree. Of everyone I’ve met, the atheists are the most peaceful of them all. I saw a shirt once, worn by a guy dressed in black and wearing makeup. It said simply: “Stop killing man. Start killing God.”