In the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies, there was the sad spectacle of a children’s choir singing the John Lennon song, “Imagine.” While some just think of the song as “pretty” the radical atheist/globalist words are a direct attack on things central to the existence of any civilization. Lennon imagines, with approval, a world without God, religion, or country. In effect no piety, no loyalties, and nothing worth dying for. 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.
As you will see below, there is strong evidence that John Lennon himself later distanced himself from many of the notions celebrated in the song lyrics.
I wonder if the kids knew how truly empty, dark, unrealistic, and dystopian the world they sang of was. I wonder too, if the organizers of the opening ceremonies understood the irony of singing of world without countries, even as athletes marched in under different flags from different countries prepared to compete.
Here are some of the lyrics of Lennon’s song:
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.
So there it is, a world without faith, religion, Church, Country, piety, patriotism and the free market economy. The song implicitly endorsed atheistic Communism, or at least Socialism in its dream of “no possessions.” Imagine, was perhaps the most secular and radical of popular songs 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 much of the song, or never meant it in the first place. In a 1980 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. The interview (quoted below in a secondary source) seems largely forgotten since Lennon’s murder wholly changed the conversation and froze his image 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.” 
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.
18 Replies to “Why Children Singing Lennon’s “Imagine” At the Olympics Should Trouble You.”
Thank you Father.
Thank you Father Charles
This is a beautiful article. As a 20 something person who has older parents, I can tell you I was quite a big fan of The Beatles in my teenage years and so were my parents. I know that they did some truly awful sins, but this Increases my hope that at the moment of death John Lennon was prepared to accept God’s mercy in Christ.
Honestly, I have always thought the song lyrics were naïve at best, ignorant in reality.
Let’s face it, if we do take the time to imagine all those utopian ideals, what results is a world at war with itself. Are we that far off today?
I guess it actually is easy if you try…
More’s the pity.
Also an amazingly blind of the Olympics organisers to choose to feature this hymn to Marxism, which apart from wrecking scores of countries and murdering scores of millions, has done far more than anything else to kill the Olympic Games ideals and spirit and almost kill off the Olympics themselves.
This awful song was the one sour note in an otherwise awe-inspiring four and a half hour opening ceremony.
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.
– Lennon and McCartney (Revolution)
Good to know! We should pray frequently for the souls of celebrities and elites, and everyone who works in the celebrity culture. It’s a cesspit that corrupts many good people.
It is a unique how religious thinking can create threats out of empty, mediocre songs.
Chas the contrarian.
I appreciate the reputation. I will try to have more content in the future. I will admit that one was a bit of a cheap one. I do appreciate how you share your thoughts on these issues. Whether I agree or not.
I found most of the Olympic opening ceremony disturbing and purely propaganda.
You know why I’m not concerned about this? Because of the death and resurrection of Christ and His injunction to be not afraid– certainly unafraid of a kid’s choir singing “Imagine,” the words of which cannot have succeeded to un-convert anyone away from Christianity, much less come to have any insidious effects upon our globe the likes of which pearl-clutching authors fear.
Not sure I follow you. Also what did you think of Lennon’s later comments?
It warms my heart and soul to know that Lennon reimagined “Imagine.” What a shame that that the secularist Olympics promoters failed to realize this — or worse, didn’t care, because it interfered with their globalist, atheist, nihilist ideology. Thanks so much for this reflection, Monsignor Pope.
Thank you Msgr. Pope. The song has always offended me. I made an attempt to revise it long ago. I hope you don’t mind my posting it. Thank you for the update to John Lennon’s thoughts. And please feel free to correct mine.
Imagine’ Revised as a Reflection on the Faith and Social Doctrine of the Church
By Fredi D’Alessio
Imagine there’s a Heaven,
It’s easy if you try,
A hell below us,
Above us Holy sky,
Imagine all the people
Living for God’s way ~
Heaven and hell do exist, as does a spiritual warfare between good and evil. What is good and holy comes from God (from heaven above) and what is evil comes from Satan (from hell below). We live for what pleases God (not to have everything our way; but his).
Imagine there’s no hatred
It isn’t hard to do,
No cause to kill or die for,
And one religion too,
Imagine all the people
Living in Christ’s peace ~
Though we would gladly die for God there would be no cause to. He would have no enemies, nor would we. All people would be united by their common faith in the one Triune God and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. There would be one Church of God, the truly universal Church of Christ Jesus sent forth to the whole world by Him for its conversion to the Gospel.
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world believes as one
Every Christian should have the same desire for unity as expressed by Jesus in his prayer to the Father: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also might be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” (Jn 17:20-21)
Imagine shared possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No deeds of greed, no hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world ~
In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. Although, mankind is called to respect both the universal destination of goods and the right to private property, the right to private property does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind.
(There is but one Owner of the World)
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 love as one
And he said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets. (Mt 22:37-40)
(Love of neighbor cannot be separated from love of God)
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