"Imagine," by John Lennon - A Response
- by R. Totten, MDiv. - (c) 2018
"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 . . ."
- John Lennon
So go the words of the John Lennon song. --And so (as he suggested) I'm trying to "imagine" myself in a universe and society with no God --which is the implication of there being "no heaven" and "above us only sky." --Where does this leave me and society if there is no God?
Well, I don't know about you, but first of all, I will put an impenetrable wall around my land. I go through life well armed and in a defensive posture. I will get a pack of man-killer dogs, and back them up with a top surveillance system and an arsenal of powerful weapons. - I train my people/family on the inside to defend effectively against exterior threats. We provision for survival. - And I make alliances with powerful like-minded neighbors to help defend each other when necessary. It's a low-level war all the time.
Then the song says to imagine there is "no hell..." and "...all the people living for today," and not caring about eternity.
If this is true, I adopt a lifestyle of taking advantage of and crushing whomever it takes to get more powerful. No mercy. It doesn't ultimately matter if I live this vicious way, because there will be no reward for being merciful and loving, nor is there a penalty for being a brutal savage. This life we're "living for today" is all there is. In fact, I must live this way to survive, because other people are doing the same thing. - I must work hard to gain every advantage. Myself and people of like mind set up a posse/malitia to defend our region. - I garner and groom every political relationship of power possible. - I steal from many peopIe --whom I don't care about anyway-- as often and discreetly as possible. - I have no love for strangers, and I don't waste any time or money to help even one of them (the dead-beats), unless I can get a profit out of them later. - And I recall that even a man like Stalin, Lenin or Hitler will not have to suffer any pay-back or ill effects in the hereafter for what they did, so I am certainly not worried about it. You just die and your body goes in the ground. So eat, drink and be merry while you live.
But wait a minute. --As I write this, I know people right now who (to varying degrees) basically have this perspective on life. So I don't need to try to "imagine" living as I have described.
Now, there will be some altruistic individuals who will say, "Shame on you for being so selfish and brutal. One should be kind" -- But without a God, I have ultimately no reason to live like that. There will be no evaluation of my life or consequences that will bother or affect me ultimately. I won't care what people think. I will be "kind" only to people who are "kind" to me and give me comfort and advantage. --And then I will die and there will be no gratitude or satisfaction; no consequences.
- From a "worldly" perspective only, I think back to people who lived and died in years gone by, and realize that their lives are essentially meaningless. It doesn't really matter what they accomplished of value and left behind --even through heroic sacrifice-- or how they felt about people or things. --All that is lost to them now, if their spirit doesn't survive the body. And it doesn't even matter if the living today are impressed with --or benefited by-- what they did and gave, because what difference does it make to them --being now long gone and unaware? In Lennon's "Imagine"-universe, they can't take joy or satisfaction in the good accomplished or those helped, and no one can reward or thank them. There is no place of rest and satisfaction where a person may end up.
And then I also think back to some of bygone years who lived in "evil" infamy. I think of the murderous tyrants and cruel dictators, who brutalized others by the thousands --or millions; I think of the self-absorbed misers; and of mass-terrorizers. I think of all these exploiters and abusers, some of whom lived long, relatively comfortable lives, and finally passed from this world quite painlessly, and never paid any price for the many lives they heartlessly ruined, raped and robbed. In Lennon's "Imagine"-universe, they disappear into a painless, unaware, non-existence, never to care, apologize, regret or pay the smallest bit for what was done to ignore, steal from and destroy others. There will be no justice; no judgment; no consequences.
No, I reject Lennon's hopeless, meaningless and unjust universe. --Instead, I think the preponderance of logical evidence indicates that there is a God, exactly as described in the Bible. The only man to have permanently come back to life after being truly dead for a couple of days --Jesus Christ-- declares to us that there is an actual God (his "Father") --the Creator of the Universe. -- And Jesus made it clear that he is the only God-man, who will justly judge all mankind for the actions they did while alive on earth. --He lived a perfectly sinless life, and then he died (on the cross) for our sins IF we surrender to his divine authority, and choose to trust him for salvation from our sins, so we can be totally forgiven and cleansed and live forever in heaven.
Come to him. Christ is the only way a person can be saved.
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REMEMBER: ...You, dear reader, are valuable and loved by God, and that's why Jesus Christ came! May God bless you and enable you to come to know his great love and forgiveness through God who took on a human body (Jesus), and then died for our sins (Romans 5:8 and 1Peter 3:18) to pay the death penalty for sins which God requires (Romans 6:23), so that we could become honorary "adopted sons" of God, if we will only trust and believe in this wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus.