Why has John Lennon's song "Imagine" become controversial over the years?
This is quite possibly one of the most peace enticing song ever written. So, please, enlighten me, what could possibly be wrong with it ?
Well, because the lyrics call for a secular humanist view of the world in which there is no need for conflict because people have ceased to argue about religious matters. The lyrics make the case that there is no heaven, no God, no religion. I am not at all offended by this song; while I do not agree with Lennon on all particulars regarding this world view he espoused, I understand why he came to the conclusions he did and this song is a masterpiece of expression about his particular world view. However, I am occasionally amused by people who appear to be quite religious, and who then sing this without appearing to pay any attention to the lyrics.
At first, "Austin," when reading your question, I thought "controversial?" How in the world could this song be controversial? After thinking about it however, I realized that the lines "imagine there's no heaven..." is the line that would knock people right off of their religious axis and set their secure inner world a-wobbling. Belief in the "rapture" just as belief in 7 virgins in heaven or whatever else people feel comforted into believing regarding an after-life creates an unbearable discomfort in people. I almost stood up and shouted out loud as I was working outside at a coffee shop in Dana Point Harbor on a beautiful day when an older man at the table next to me started telling his younger, openly "believing" friends that even if Romney lost the election and the worst happened and Obama was elected, at least they all can look forward to the rapture and "I'm excited to think of floating around with my spirit and meeting with yours." I could barely contain myself. He just pulled the card that says "Pass 'Go' and you are absolved of any responsibility to the planet." Without a belief in the afterlife, we have to do the hard work of living in the here-and-now and working to preserve this miraculous place for those who come after us. If there's a better place awaiting, we can avoid the difficult questions we don't want to face and the solutions that appear too complicated to conceive. Assuming there is no heaven requires us to actually look at global climate change and nuclear war - to look at our responsibility to our children and grandchildren, to get up from our TV sets and our ball games and from coffee hour in the Church basement and work for a peaceful planet. Believing in heaven and Armageddon is just so much easier, and to be quite honest, is tragic because we need everyone to work together to the only mission that is actually obvious - to keep on keeping-on so that as we progress in our understanding of science and the universe so we can come closer and closer to solving the mastery of our existence. That, to me, is the real calling of our nature, and John Lennon was intellectually brave enough to explore those questions that require more than quotes from chapters and verses. 'You may call him a dreamer - but he's not the only one.'
@Recappers delight, thank you for voicing your opinion. First, like you, I am not an unconditional fan of John Lennon. I like some of his work, but not everything.
The thing about this particular song though is that he never mentions God, only heaven and religion. And he doesn't point to any religion in particular. Which I find ironic in a way since religious people have been fighting and killing each other for centuries. So, in fact, people today feel threatened in their beliefs by someone who merely advocated world peace.
@Billie Pagliolo : I never thought of Imagine as a controversial song until someone recently mentioned it to me. Here's a fun fact : I published that question on HP sometimes yesterday afternoon, and even though I could see it on the "my account page" it didn't appear in the feed, for everybody to see, until this morning. So, it seems to me that the question I asked, even though relevant and not formulated agressively, seems to be somewhat politically incorrect. What I am trying to establish is with that particular song, John Lennon only wanted listeners to forget for 3 minutes everything they pretend to know and consider the alternative. He never tried to convert anybody to anything, he just asked them to Imagine, and as I said before, he never mentioned God in that song. Obviously, thinking differently for 3 short minutes is too much to ask. And again, the irony of this is that believers and Christians will ask atheists to consider and "Imagine" their life differently all the time
I feel that "believers" DO ask atheists to consider their life differently all the time, but like you're implying, that door doesn't swing both ways. I've been around awhile and have never felt as alienated from religious people as I do now.
Very appropriate questions, Austin.
There are ulterior motives afoot in the world, lots of lies being put out to us public, lots of bullying.
The most threatening enemy to our general well being is the crowd of unthinking, lazy individuals who will not see deeper into the politician's and the pastor's mind - and close their eyes to the band of supporters behind the scenes.
We get the government we deserve.
Hi Jonny, thanks for stopping by our Hemisphere. How are things in yours ? Like you, I'm appalled that such a beautiful, peaceful and simple song could be politically and religiously incorrect. But there we are again.
It's just a song, get over it
I think John Lennon's song, and the man himself, have always been controversial. He was never a conformist, and always spoke his mind.
Because he ask questions in his song that's people are afraid to answer.
Like "imagine if there was no heaven" That's upsets religious people, because some people believe so much there is a heaven it's outrageous to even ask the question.
Welcome to HubPages, Matthew. That's a good start. Looking forward to hearing much more from your interesting mind.
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