JOHN Lennon would have turned 75 this week. We can only imagine what this wonderful musician and humanist would have been like.
And talking of “Imagine” John Lennon dreamt of another utopia in his song of that name. It was successfully marketed as a song of hope. Yet if you read the lyrics of Lennon’s hit, they are anything but hopeful.
Is there any real hope in imagining a world without heaven; without redemption? Or in pretending all men and women are going to be treated equally?
“Imagine all the people living life as one,” wrote Lennon.
You only have to consider Syria, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Burma and the rape of Vietnam, Cambodia and Bosnia to realise Lennon’s imagined human world has never been, and never will be.
Theologians might claim we are all equal in the sight of God. But we are certainly not equal in the sight of each other.
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin this week wrote a thoughtful piece on Lennon and Imagine.
He wrote: “I loved John Lennon. I loved his sardonic sense of humor. I loved his literary flair. I loved his musicianship. He was my favorite Beatle.
“But, I am not a “Lennonist.” I don’t imagine that “there’s no heaven,” and that above us is “only sky.” I don’t long for a world in which people “live for today,” and only today.
Consider the words of the late writer, David Foster Wallace:
“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.
“If you worship money and things, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. Worship power, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.”