After yesterday’s post on negativity, some people will want to look at this one and say, “Physician, heal thyself.” Very rarely will I come out and say I hate something, and I know I run the risk of alienating a lot of people with this post. Imagine, is considered a classic by many and it is beautiful musically, but some of those lyrics are nails on the blackboard of my soul. It has so many beautiful thoughts in it but most of those thoughts are built around a lie.
It starts off by saying “Imagine there’s no heaven.” and already the song is destroyed in my heart. But for the sake of argument, let’s do it. Okay, there’s no heaven, now what? Well if there’s no heaven, then this life is all there is. There’s no possibility of anything better. Better stay totally healthy, because life offers nothing better than what you see before you. No hope of a life beyond this one. No hope of an eternal reward, come to think of it, no hope. Oh and while we’re at it, no real reason to be good and do good. Instead, the one who dies with the most toys wins and it’s only wrong if you get caught. Everyone is living for his own good, period. Sounds familiar in our world, doesn’t it? Is this what happens when we imagine there’s no heaven?
Lennon writes a little further down “nothing to kill or die for.” I’m okay with the first part, as I have no desire to kill, though if there’s no heaven or hell or final accountability, I think killing would become easier as people try to gather up all the toys they need to win, but I digress. Nothing to kill for would be great, except that Lennon is placing all the blame for violence on people of faith, and while there are many who have killed in the name of their gods, I serve a God who said pretty blatantly “Thou shall not kill.” Of course if we’re still imagining no heaven, so I would assume that also means no God, so why not kill? Oh wait, we don’t kill because of the goodness of our hearts. Yeah I look at the condition of our world and I’m just not seeing it.
But let’s take killing off the table, since I wouldn’t want to kill anyway, but how about nothing to die for? Now there’s a negative thought. Nothing I care about enough to give my life for. Well that eliminates my family, any one of whom I would give myself for. Why? Because I love them. So I guess if there’s nothing I would die for, then there’s nothing or no one I love. That feels pretty hopeless.
Of course you think the next line is the one that will throw me. “and no religion too.” As a man of the cloth, surely you think this line would offend me. It doesn’t, at least not so much. You might assume religion is what I am all about, but you would be wrong. I have seen all the negative things people have done in the name of religion, but my God is not about religion, as a matter of fact, you could rightly say (at least from the human action involved) that people killed Jesus in the name of religion. Jesus didn’t come to make us more religious, He came so we sinners could live in relationship with a perfect God in this life and forever in heaven, but wait, we’re imagining there’s no heaven. Yeah, I want to stop doing that right now. There is a heaven and even Lennon believed it… He just didn’t know it.
You see the last line of that verse, proves it. Lennon wrote, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” I have imagined it, more than that, God created it. It’s called Heaven. We haven’t even gotten to the chorus, and the song has completely fallen apart.
At the end of the day, I hate this song because it’s hopeless. It places all the blame for the troubles of this world on God, but this world is not the world God intended. This is the world humanity chose when we chose to make ourselves our own gods. The answer is not imagining no heaven. Our current state of affairs exists precisely because people imagine there’s no heaven. Were we to repent and follow the God of heaven, things would change, but as it stands the world of peace Lennon imagined, exists only in the place Lennon asks us to imagine doesn’t exist. This song is pure folly, misused imagination.
That’s why I hate this song.