Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Did the composer of (perhaps) the most secular song ever written, later disavow that song?
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | March 23, 2012 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 03/23/2012 10:31:38 AM PDT by NYer

Growing up I listened to a lot of music. And, like a lot of teenagers, I didn’t pay much attention to the words, they were just another instrument in the whole melody of the song. As I got older, I started paying attention to the words and was often shocked at what I had been humming.

Like many people my age, one of my favorite songs was John Lennon’s “Imagine.” A beautiful melody, in a thoughtful and meditative tone. But oh the words! When I finally got around to paying attention to them, I stopped listening to the song. For in it, Lennon imagines, with approval, a world without God, religion, or country. In effect no piety, no loyalties. He also dismissed the idea of heaven, hell, and more than implies that religion, faith and God are the source of violence, greed and disunity. Here are some of the lyrics:

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 ….etc.

The song become quite the ballad of the secular humanists, and though peaceful and serene in its cadences, was a real slap in the face to faith, religion, Church, Country, piety, patriotism and the free market economy. The song reached beyond secular humanism, more than implicitly endorsing atheistic Communism, or at least Socialism in its dream of “no possessions.”

In effect the song says to faith and to all holding the other traditional values above, “Your day is over, you have caused evil, and we are moving toward a utopian paradise without you. You are not invited for you are the problem.”

Yes, there it was: Imagine, perhaps the most secular and radical song ever written, dripping with contempt, deconstructionist, revolutionary, and reductionist, a Magna Carta for secular humanism, and Communism.

And yet, it would seem John Lennon either disavowed the song, or never meant it in the first place. In an interview given shortly before his death, perhaps his last, he says some remarkable things that indicate a very different John Lennon than the song portrays.

I do not read, and will not even mention, the magazine in which the interview originally appeared (in 1980). But am quoting a secondary source which references that final interview. It is an interview that seems largely forgotten, since Lennon’s murder wholly changed the conversation and froze his image in place as the “60s radical.” It would seem he was far from that when he died. I am only here quoting a small part of the article, which you can read in its entirety here: Stop Imagining

Here are the pertinent excerpts:

In his definitive song, “Imagine”….[Lennon] famously dreams of a world with “no possessions.” The mature Lennon explicitly disavowed such naïve sentiments: I worked for money and I wanted to be rich….What I used to be is guilty about money. … Because I thought money was equated with sin. I don’t know. I think I got over it, because I either have to put up or shut up, you know. If I’m going to be a monk with nothing, do it. Otherwise, if I am going to try and make money, make it. Money itself isn’t the root of all evil.

The man who famously called for imagining a world with “No religion” also jettisoned his anti-theism. “People got the image I was anti-Christ or anti-religion,” he said. “I’m not at all. I’m a most religious fellow. I’m religious in the sense of admitting there is more to it than meets the eye. I’m certainly not an atheist.”

Even more shocking to the idea of Lennon as a secular leftist, or a deep thinker, the man rejected evolution. “Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way,” he insisted. “That’s another piece of garbage. What the hell’s it based on? We couldn’t’ve come from anything—fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don’t believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men. Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now? It’s absolute garbage.”

……His final interviews make clear he was above all concerned with his family. “I’m not here for you,”he said, speaking to his fans. “I’m here for me and [Yoko] and the baby.” He revered the institution of marriage, explaining how much it meant to get the state approving his union with Ono. “[R]ituals are important, no matter what we thought as kids. … So nowadays it’s hip not to be married. But I’m not interested in being hip.” [1]

So there it is, the revolutionary, it would seem, either reconsidered, or never fully embraced the radicalism of the song “Imagine.” Elsewhere in the article he is quoted as saying, “It’s easier to shout ‘Revolution’ and ‘Power to the people’ than it is to look at yourself and try to find out what’s real inside you and what isn’t, when you’re pulling the wool over your own eyes. That’s the hardest one.

I do not hold John Lennon up as anything other than he was, a singer and composer, and quite a good one at that. I personally cannot stand it when we elevate movie stars, and entertainers to the status of cultural and political experts. But given the fact that others do, it is worth noting that one of the icons of the secular humanist movement and the radical left, made something of a journey back to traditional values, family, faith, and personal accountability.

I do not sanction everything Lennon says in the article, I only note the journey he made and claim the hope that Lennon did not die the radical atheist some thought him to be. I pray too others will and are making the journey he apparently did.


TOPICS: History; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: johnlenon; lennon; msgrcharlespope; thebeatles

1 posted on 03/23/2012 10:31:46 AM PDT by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 03/23/2012 10:33:17 AM PDT by NYer (He who hides in his heart the remembrance of wrongs is like a man who feeds a snake on his chest. St)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Song can easily be modified:

“Imagine there’s no liberals.
It’s easy if you try.
No one to tax us.
No one to tell us lies.
Imagine no more whiners, living off the public’s dime.”


3 posted on 03/23/2012 10:35:53 AM PDT by Thane_Banquo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thane_Banquo

Or the Occupy song...

“All we are saying....
Is give soap a chance....”


4 posted on 03/23/2012 10:38:13 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Thane_Banquo

I like your version, but, unfortunately, me wishing for no more leftists is as equally pie in the sky as John Lennon’s bed ins for peace.


5 posted on 03/23/2012 10:39:54 AM PDT by beaversmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Thane_Banquo

I liked Herman Cain’s version “Imagine there’s no Pizza”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DrSEyjBj1w


6 posted on 03/23/2012 10:45:27 AM PDT by jakerobins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NYer
“Imagine” truly is the Left’s anthem.
7 posted on 03/23/2012 10:47:52 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

How does that saying go:

if you’re not a liberal in your teens you have a hard heart,

if you’re a liberal in your thirties you have a soft head.

I believe John was well past thirty when he gave the interview (in Playboy as a matter of fact).


8 posted on 03/23/2012 10:50:47 AM PDT by I cannot think of a name
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Did ever disavow the most conservative song ever written: “Revolution”?


9 posted on 03/23/2012 10:51:14 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand ("exterminate the bolshevicks...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I’ll be danged - I’ve long had Cartman’s view of Lennon (as King of the Hippies) - but this is refreshing. Thanks for posting!


10 posted on 03/23/2012 10:52:19 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Eyewitness testimony of where John Lennon is right now:

http://www.freecdtracts.com/testimony/revelation_of_hell_by_7_youths.htm


11 posted on 03/23/2012 10:52:48 AM PDT by ROTB (FReepmail me if you want to join a team seeking the LORD for a Christian revival now in the USA.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Lennon apparently matured as he aged, as people SHOULD.


12 posted on 03/23/2012 10:55:45 AM PDT by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Did ever disavow the most conservative song ever written: “Revolution”?


13 posted on 03/23/2012 10:56:11 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand ("exterminate the bolshevicks...")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
No heaven? No hell? No God? If the law of religion does not exist than only the law of man does. Can't you tell that most people are bound more by the law of God than man. Look at the difference between the God fearing people and the people who do not believe in God. Man's laws mean nothing. Prove there is no God and this place gets uglier than you ever could imagine. If God does not exist than we become like every other animal in the jungle that does not know God. And then it becomes survival of the fittest.
14 posted on 03/23/2012 10:57:04 AM PDT by Why So Serious (There is no cure for stupidity!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Thane_Banquo

>> Imagine no more whiners, living off the public’s dime.”

LOL!

“I might sa-ay you’re a dreamer
But you’re not the only one...”


15 posted on 03/23/2012 10:58:15 AM PDT by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

The most conservative song ever was George’s ‘Taxman.’


16 posted on 03/23/2012 10:58:24 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: NYer
I suppose "Imagine" is the ultimate example. The penultimate is "Superstition" by the 22-year-old sage Stevie Wonder. "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer. . . ." That's right, Stevie, make your mind the measure of all things! I need a bigger God than that.

17 posted on 03/23/2012 10:59:56 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand
I do not read, and will not even mention, the magazine in which the interview originally appeared (in 1980)

IMO, it would be very helpful to know what magazine that interview was from.

John Lennon was a bit all over the place in a lot of respects but I think there is some insight from his song Revolution (although I don't consider it the most "conservative" song ever written), I still like it.

Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
All right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
For people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
All right, all right
Ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah...
You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
All right, all right
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right, all right

18 posted on 03/23/2012 11:00:34 AM PDT by MD Expat in PA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Perhaps that’s why Yoko had him bumped off.


19 posted on 03/23/2012 11:00:49 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

I believe Churchill said it, ... “if you are not a liberal by the time you are 25 you do not have a heart. If you are not a conservative by the time you are 35 you don’t have a brain!”


20 posted on 03/23/2012 11:03:26 AM PDT by Why So Serious (There is no cure for stupidity!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I remember reading an article about John Lennon’s faith and it stated that right before he died John and Yoko were having fights and several of his friends weren’t speaking to him because all he would talk about was Jesus and his faith in Christ.

I don’t know how true the story is, but the article was well researched and interviewed a friend of his at the time who later became a Christian, so there may be some validity to the story. I certainly hope so.


21 posted on 03/23/2012 11:10:02 AM PDT by reaganaut (I am a Christian first, a Conservative second and am out of the GOP if Romney gets in.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
All he was saying is, Can't we all just get along?


22 posted on 03/23/2012 11:15:54 AM PDT by theDentist (FYBO/FUBO; qwerty ergo typo : i type, therefore i misspelll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Why So Serious

Thanks

(It still works, Lennon was 40 when he was killed. Obviously by then he had found a brain.)


23 posted on 03/23/2012 11:16:10 AM PDT by I cannot think of a name
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: NYer

How the heck does one not know those words?!?


24 posted on 03/23/2012 11:20:27 AM PDT by bgill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tijeras_Slim

OR

“We All Live In A Yellow Coupe DeVille”


25 posted on 03/23/2012 11:26:00 AM PDT by SgtSki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NYer

It has been said that artists speak and critics will explain to you

what they said,
what they meant to say,
and what they should have meant to say.


26 posted on 03/23/2012 11:27:03 AM PDT by nixonsnose (Let's see all you lawyers argue your way out of hell.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

“...Lennon was 40 when he was killed. Obviously by then he had found a brain.”
.
“Life begins at 40.” - John Lennon (1940-1980)


27 posted on 03/23/2012 11:44:49 AM PDT by fidelis (Zonie and USAF Cold Warrior)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I was in my mid forties when i took the time to “hear” the words. i was horrified.


28 posted on 03/23/2012 11:50:00 AM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MD Expat in PA

I remember when I was a kid my mother used to sing a song to me to get me to eat my vegetables.

“All I am say..ing... Is give peas a chance”

:0)


29 posted on 03/23/2012 12:12:43 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2
I remember when I was a kid my mother used to sing a song to me to get me to eat my vegetables.

“All I am say..ing... Is give peas a chance”

:0)

My mother tried the same thing on me except it was lima beans. Didn't work. :0)

30 posted on 03/23/2012 12:22:09 PM PDT by MD Expat in PA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: I cannot think of a name

“If one is twenty and not a liberal one has no heart. If one is forty and not a conservative one has no brain.’’— Winston Churchill.


31 posted on 03/23/2012 12:23:52 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ROTB

And you absolutely 100% know that he’s there, how?


32 posted on 03/23/2012 12:28:01 PM PDT by richmwill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: NYer

John Lennon did great harm in his lifetime, regardless if he came to Christ in the end, or not. We must all hope he did, but my opinion, not worth the electrons it’s written on, are that he did not.


33 posted on 03/23/2012 1:24:52 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Why So Serious

I don’t know about that. If your brain works at 25, or 15, or 10 (when I first learned about union violence), you become a conservative then, regardless of your heart.

And mine’s pretty big. But I am no fool and have always been conservative.


34 posted on 03/23/2012 1:36:08 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: chesley

I was a Reagan Democrat. Turned 18 the year Ron was first elected [1980]. Grew up in an Old Democratic house hold [back when the Democratic Party was all about the working man]. Reagan realized that the Democratic Party left the working class man [once they secured his union support] because they found a dumber mind set to exploit. The Welfare state. I had a brain at 18 when I first heard Ronald Reagan speak. Might have had it earlier, but Ron asked to open it politically.


35 posted on 03/23/2012 1:44:50 PM PDT by Why So Serious (There is no cure for stupidity!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: NYer
The Nihilist anthem.
36 posted on 03/23/2012 2:09:03 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (We kneel to no prince but the Prince of Peace)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: chesley
“...John Lennon did great harm in his lifetime, regardless if he came to Christ in the end,...”

We all do harm in our lifetime. Mine had nowhere near the bandwidth of Lennons’ life yet I grieve at the harm I have done. John Lennon's life was more conspicuous than the rest of ours but he was no more or less flawed then anyone else, no more or less human than anyone else. When he is judged it will be by ONLY his and THE WHOLE of his own life. There will be no other standard present by which to set his life in relief; that is, Hitler will not be present nor will you. We will be alone when we are Judged and we will be judged by our deeds and our repentence.

37 posted on 03/23/2012 2:14:24 PM PDT by TalBlack ( Evil doesn't have a day job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: TalBlack

You might have noticed that I said this was only my opinion. God hasn’t asked my advice about the matter.

That said, I DO have an opinion, and I have stated it. I also have done harm, but it was on an individual level, not on a vast social scale, as did Mr. Lennon.

I didn’t like him when he was alive; he didn’t improve with death. Nevertheless, I hope that he did repent and find salvation before he passed.


38 posted on 03/23/2012 2:22:43 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Why So Serious

And having a brain didn’t make your heart hard. Dit it? :)


39 posted on 03/23/2012 2:24:06 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: chesley

“You might have noticed that I said this was only my opinion. God hasn’t asked my advice about the matter.”

You might have noticed that I commented upon your opinion. You might have noticed that I said nothing about God seeking advice from you.
You might have noticed that my point in response to your opinion was that Mr.Lennons’ vast scale of damage to Human Kind won’t in any manner shape or form be nearby and handy to you when God ia inquiring into your sojourn upon His good earth...but you didn’t. Ah well....


40 posted on 03/23/2012 3:27:54 PM PDT by TalBlack ( Evil doesn't have a day job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: richmwill

Unless you have reason to believe those eyewitnesses are liars, I would trust that testimony.

Those particular eyewitnesses are not the only ones in the last 40 years to receive guided tours of heaven or hell. They are among many.

There are many pastors who don’t talk about hell, or don’t believe in it, so God is giving these guided tours to make it absolutely crystal clear that he was absolutely crystal clear in what he said 2000 years ago about hell.

1) it is hopeless
2) it is painful
3) it is forever

... so matter what Pastor Lukewarm or Reverend Hairdo says or does not say.

Trust the source, unless you have reason not to.


41 posted on 03/23/2012 4:22:14 PM PDT by ROTB (FReepmail me if you want to join a team seeking the LORD for a Christian revival now in the USA.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: TalBlack

Ah, well. I’m ready. what about you?


42 posted on 03/23/2012 5:49:37 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now? It’s absolute garbage

Not bad, not bad at all.

I love the Beatles' music, at times despite the lyrics. It has intelligence, -- not in the sense that "I wanna hold your hand" is verbally intelligent but melodically, and it is also gentle. The Abbey Road sounds like a Beethoven symphony. It is hard for me to think that these people were soulless like pop artists generally are.

43 posted on 03/23/2012 5:49:51 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer; a fool in paradise
I hope he disavowed the pidgin English line "And no religion too", and at the very least changed it to "And no religion neither"!

(Spare me please your Captain Obvious line aboput poetic license.)

44 posted on 03/23/2012 5:55:09 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Less we forget, even Judas was sorry for what he done and tried to rationalized his behavior.


45 posted on 03/24/2012 5:04:08 AM PDT by HarleyD
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson