I’m a pretty big Beatles fan. I even love looking up the inspiration behind the songs they wrote, watching old videos of them, and listening to their interviews. They really live up to the hype to me.
Now that I’ve said that, allow me to say something that will surely outrage the majority: I don’t like John Lennon’s song “Imagine.”
Yes, I know. Take a moment to let your anger subside. Or stone me with your hippie peace medallions and flowers.
Please don’t hate me. I just don’t like it. I think musically it’s pretty catchy, but lyrically I really can’t stand it. It’s not that I’m anti-peace and pro-war. Far from it. I just really think the message is pretty far fetched but people still seem to claim it as an anthem for their lives.
I don’t mean to be cynical, but I just don’t think what John Lennon dreamed of is possible. But he’s not the only dreamer, so I figured I’d share my thoughts on the song.
Here is the world that John was dreaming of:
- No heaven
- No hell
- No countries
- No religion
- No killing
- No possessions
- No greed
- No hunger
It’s an interesting list. Some good. Some I don’t care for.
First off, it’s kind of an interesting song for a millionaire to sing. It’s speculated that when he died he had an estimated net worth around $150 million. If he really didn’t want possessions then he wasn’t off to a good start.
I will say he was definitely clever, though, because “imagine” is an excellent word to use for a song like this. If you say the word “imagine” it gives people something to get behind but it lacks any answers that would help to actually make any progress towards what you say you want to see happen. People hear the song and they think, “Yeah, that would be awesome! I believe it can happen!” And then walk away and do nothing. Dreaming isn’t the same thing as doing.
In John’s defense, he’s not the only one who uses this kind of wording. Greedy “preachers” use it all the time to get people to give them money. “If you sow a seed to our ministry, God will bless you!” They don’t have to say how or when, they just say it. They let you imagine it.
Another reason I don’t like Imagine is because I don’t want to live in a world without religion. (Oh I’m going to get it from the atheists now. Let me have it.)
People think that religion is the source of all the evil in the world, but I would argue that people are the source of all the evil. Screwed up and false religion is bad, but who do you think screws it up? The people.
If we look at what the Bible calls “pure and faultless religion,” it means to care for the widows and orphans and to keep yourself from being corrupted by the world. (James 1:27) If people view Christianity as a bad religion, it’s because people messed it up. I know many Christians who give money to the poor, who are the first ones on the scene of disasters, who go into prisons and meet with the people there, and who feed the hungry. That is not evil religion to me. That’s pure religion.
I don’t think John Lennon was a terrible person or even someone with bad intentions; I think he did a lot of good. He also made some music that I absolutely love. To me, Lennon had what seems like a nice idea to many, but it’s just not practical. It’s like singing, “Imagine we all would never get sick and no one would die. I wonder if you can.” Nice thought, for sure, but it’s just not going to happen.
So if we are living in a world that isn’t the utopia he dreamed of, what do we do? Do we sit around and hypothesize what it would be like to see change, or do we start making steps towards the good we believe can exist?
Sounds like maybe we should be people who are looking a little more into pure and faultless religion instead of dreaming of a world without it. That’s something I can imagine. I don’t think I’m the only one, either.