Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Imagine" Revisited

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one"

Like many young people a lifetime ago, when I was in my teens I was captivated by a song written by John Lennon called "Imagine."  From a purely artistic point of view, the song was in my opinion one of the few performed by any of the former Beatles that equaled music that the "fab four" had been able to write and perform together.  As importantly, the song's optimistic look at the potential of man to live peacefully and in harmony resonated with my generation, which was  only slightly removed from the police action in Vietnam, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Watergate.

In a sense, it would be easy to dismiss "Imagine" as idealistic, and indeed naive, Utopian musings from an era gone by called "The Sixties."  Indeed, within a few short years of the release of Imagine the counterculture of The Sixties would be replaced by a generation fixated on disco, Star Wars and Apple.  But, Imagine cannot be so easily dismissed.

Facially, Lennon's solo masterpiece is anti-religion, anti-country and anti-private property ownership.  Indeed, the not-so-subtle message is that religion, politics and capitalism are at the root of conflict and suffering in the world.  

 The antidote to man's problems, on the other hand, is seen as man himself.  Underlying the lyrics is a view sometimes called "secular humanism" -- a view that sees man as generally good -- although "good and bad" and "right and wrong" are also seen as subjective and relative.   

As Christians, we need to recognize how pervasive this view has become in the United States.  Indeed, Lennon's vision of a world devoid of religion generally, and Christianity specifically, is rapidly becoming a reality in America.

In a couple of weeks we will begin a video series called "The Truth Project" on Sunday mornings at 9:15.  If you still are not uncomfortable with the song "Imagine," maybe this series will help you understand why you should be.  

The Truth Project

+John Lennon     

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