No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.
but I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”
- He is at least indifferent, and probably hostile to Christianity, and therefore the “heaven” and “religion” he wants you to imagine gone are based on the Bible;
- He is a “utopian”–someone whose ideal of heaven is unity of hearts and minds on earth–and thus believes it is possible and desirable for human beings to be “as one.”
- Explicit from his lyrics, national sovereignty (which requires borders, laws and all that they entail) and beliefs strong enough to “kill or die for” are bad things.
You may challenge my presuppositions about Lennon, but my evidence is in his writings and statements. The real challenge would be reconciling his lifestyle with his stated beliefs. Like most wealthy and famous celebrities, his lifestyle was one of extravagance and privacy/exclusivity. He earned the right to enjoy both, and his preaching does render him a hypocrite. No big deal to me, most people are. In fact, I won’t even dispute that he believed the sentiments he expressed in Imagine. If he didn’t he would certainly be a hypocrite, but if he did believe them he’s either a naive fool, or a closet totalitarian.
But why, you ask? Utopian visions have always required totalitarian measures, because people want what THEY want, and Utopia requires submission of the individual desires to the goals of oneness and equality of outcome. I read that George Orwell once debated a Soviet apologist, who excused Stalin’s tyranny with the lame cliche, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.” Orwell’s response was “where’s the omelet?” While the words of Lennon’s song are dreamy, the reality of attempts at utopia without Christ is in the cries of pain and despair of the broken “eggs” in gulags and reeducation camps, the agony of the peasantry in Mao’s “Great Leap Forward “, the destruction of the intellectual class by Pol Pot.
The “omelet” of an earthly utopia that did not require the breaking of human beings occurred only a few days after the ascension of Jesus Christ. The very things Lennon wanted to eliminate–Heaven and religion–created the first successful community of oneness. Acts 2: 41-47. “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, these lovers of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem were comprised of people “from every nation under heaven.” There was no compulsion necessary, everyone shared and everyone cared. Why? Heaven and religion. They all looked forward to eternity–their actions sprung from hearts attuned to and cognizant of heaven awaiting. The religion was later called Christianity. There is much more to be said. Soon it will be Christmas 2017. John Lennon died December 8, 1980, and still the birth of the Savior of the world was celebrated that year and every year, and always will be. Imagine is not immortal, nor was it’s composer, but the religion he wanted gone is immortal.