Editor's Note: Perhaps I am being paranoid, but it seems to me that I am hearing John Lennon's song, Imagine, almost literally every day for the past several months! Sirius/XM is playing it on multiple stations (70s on 7; Classic Vinyl; Hall of Fame radio; Classic Rewind; etc.), and very often with comments by the on-air personalities about how pertinent and meaningful that song in our country right now. With that in mind, I ran across the following article written by a friend, and I thought I would forward a slightly edited version of it on to the Eastside mailing list. By the way, just in case you might be wondering, I own and have read Brother Harrell's book which is quoted in the article below, I checked, and the reference to a letter written by Lennon is accurate. GCK
John Lennon helped popularize the secular humanist, postmodern ideal of a world that can only be at peace if we remove God and religion from our lives. He sang,
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 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.
The underlying premise was that religion has been the cause of war, guilt, and other great problems among the masses. Imagine was written and initially released in fall of 1971. The following are excerpts from a letter written by Lennon in 1973 to pentecostal preacher Oral Roberts.
"This is ex-Beatle, John Lennon. I've been wanting to write you but I guess I didn't really want to face reality. I never do this, this is why I take drugs. Reality frightens me and paranoids me. True, I have a lot of money, being a Beatle [I've] been all around the world, but basically I'm afraid to face the problems of life. Let me begin to say, I regret that I said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. I don't even like myself anymore, guilt ... My own father I hate with a passion because he left my mom and me, came to me after we found "A Hard Day's Night" and asked for some money. It made me so mad, Paul had to hold me down. I was going to kill him. I was under the influence of pills at that time .... As the song we wrote, Paul and me, "Money Can't Buy Me Love, " it's true. The point is this, I want happiness. I don't want to keep up with drugs. Paul told me once, 'you made fun of me for not taking drugs, but you will regret it in the end.'...Explain to me what Christianity can do for me? Is it phony? Can He love me? I want out of hell.... P.S. I am, I hate to say, under the influence of pills now. I can't stop. I only wish I could thank you for caring."
(Exerpt from Oral Roberts: An American Life, by David Edwin Harrell, Jr., Indiana University Press, p. 310)