During the course of a conversation the other day, a friend mentioned that he was a big fan of John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” He was shocked when I told him that I didn’t like the song as I thought the message sent through it was a vicious attack on religion and relayed a horrible message. He argued the song is about peace, and while there is no doubt that peace is one of the major themes of the song, it is also a scathing attack on religion and religious values.
It starts off with a denial of G-d and bible: “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.” – Essentially what Lennon is saying is that if G-d didn’t exist, people would focus on physical pleasure and the world would be a greater place.
The second stanza doesn’t fare much better: “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 in peace.” – While Lennon’s point that all wars are over religion and territorial disputes or conquests, he is wrong to think that the elimination of both will achieve peace. Consider that after religion and territory is eliminated, so is morality, as that is based solely on religious dogma. Take away morality, you are left with greed, which incidentally is the third largest cause of killing and war.
Then Lennon continues with: “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.” This utopian vision was attempted in the Soviet Union and every other country that tried a Communist or purely Socialist governmental structure.
There were no possessions under Communism, unless you were part of the ruling class, and definitely no greed, unless you were part of the ruling class. There was however, mass starvation, oppression, torture chambers and mass killings, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay for utopia.
I cringe whenever I hear this anarchist anthem, the message that anarchy over religion is somehow preferable only serves to further destroy the moral fabric of society, I will not be party to that. So even though the song is over 30 years old and is still popular, please don’t play it anywhere near me.