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John Lennon’s 1971 anthem, “Imagine,” has become his requiem. People play or sing it reverently as a romantic hope for the world. Consider 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 someday 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 someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

No heaven, no hell, which is to say no afterlife, nothing to live for, and best of all for one aspiring to fantasy, no accountability. Just an opportunity to live life in any way you wish with no consequences. It is the hedonist's and/or the humanist's dream.

Living for today, no countries, nothing worth dying for, and no religion. Just a meaningless, unfettered, undirected, secular or athiestic existence built upon the now and nothing else, which is to say a nihilistic existence.

No possessions, greed or hunger, just a brotherhood. Sounds interesting. Might work. Except for one thing. Sin, or if you prefer, evil. The perennial human predicament. We’re capable of noble deeds and aspirations, but we’re incapable of divesting ourselves of pernicious intentions, acts, or lawlessness.

Imagine living in peace, sharing the world, just a human race of one. These are understandable desires but unreachable because they forget reality. 

No idealistic romanticism can wish goodness and peace into existence. If it could it would have happened long ago. Yet world history is a record of man’s inhumanity to man, of evil leaders, regimes, and ideologies that were only stopped by coercive response from others wanting some kind of justice. 

John Lennon was a gifted lyricist and an international rock star, and he died too young, tragically and violently. Lennon wasn’t entirely wrong. He hungered for something better, something kinder, gentler, and secure. But the worldview he expressed in “Imagine” is seriously lacking, unworkable and inept even if appealing to certain yearnings of the human soul.

Nothing can deal with sin or evil except the biblically Christian redemptive story of the life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Love and peace come from God and only he can restore these gifts to us who are born in sin through his grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. It’s worth thinking about and working toward. Imagine all the people hearing and responding to the Gospel, blessed in this life with forgiveness and peace, blessed in eternity with the presence of God.


Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018   

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