Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Imagine No "Imagine"

Academicians, below is an outstanding post by Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, appearing on the Catholic Herald.co.uk blog (reproduced below for your reading ease).  

Whenever I have the radio on, listening to pop music, and I hear the late John Lennon's  song, "Imagine" - now a secularist hymn -  I usually end up  grinding my teeth at it.  

I find Lennon's ideas, expressed in the song, at best naive and superficial, and at worst a blanket condemnation of religion: any and all religions. 

Here are the lyrics:

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 someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger.  A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing for 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 live as one.

You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.
Take my hand and join us.
And the world will live, will live as one.


The London Organizing Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games chose "Imagine" as part of the August 12, 2012 broadcast of the closing ceremonies.  The Brits decided that the Games would be concluded with their favorite secular humanist, anti-religion "hymn."  Makes me wonder what kind of people are in charge over there and how much worse things can get for British people who actually practice religion.  

By the way, Turkish State Television, TRT, censored the portion that calls for “no religion.”  I can understand their reaction.

"Imagine" is a topic I've discussed many times with friends, but never got around to writing a post about it.  Now I'm glad I didn't.  Father Lucie-Smith's post, below, is a masterful dissection of the lies Lennon's "Imagine" has promulgated.


John Lennon’s Imagine encapsulates so many modern objections to religion

When people stop believing in heaven they often create hell on earth
By FR ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH on Monday, 13 August 2012


Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest and a doctor of moral theology.
On Twitter he is
@ALucieSmith  -- Contact the author
London Olympic Games, Day 16, Closing Ceremonies.
Last night, watching the Olympic closing ceremony, like millions of others , I heard a digitally remastered John Lennon singing Imagine. The song was familiar, but the words took me by surprise.  These words encapsulate so many of the modern objections to religion and faith, that it seems a good idea to present a few counter-arguments.
To “live for today” is precisely what we all do, all of us, believers and not. Christians do not neglect present exigencies just because they believe there is a afterlife. Rather, the call of eternal life makes this world more, not less important. To claim that Christians do not care about today, so wrapped up are they in what is to come, is to confuse Christianity with millenarian cultists, which is what we are not.
Heaven and hell, by the way, are not places – they are states. Heaven is the state of seeing the Beatific vision; hell is the state of being utterly cut off from God. The idea of these being places either above or below us is persistent, and has its roots in Classical literature, but is certainly not taught by the Church.
Again, the nation-state may well engage in war with other states, but it is important to realise that the nation exists to defend and protect its citizens. Anarchy, in the classical meaning of the word, is envisioned as some sort of utopia, but in practice, where the state withers away, anarchy of the most non-benign type succeeds. Look at Somalia today. Look at Lebanon in the time of its civil war. Look at England under King Stephen. The withering away of the state does not lead to peace – but the complete opposite.
As for religion withering away and leading to peace – have a look at some of the avowedly atheist states of the twentieth century: Albania, the People’s Republic of China, and the Soviet Union. No rational person would ever choose to live in such a society.
What about “no possessions”, then? Property is theft? “No need for greed and hunger”? Is this really saying that all poverty and hunger is caused by people selfishly hoarding the world’s resources? Funnily enough it is at this point that John Lennon says something that Catholics may recognise. The Church teaches:
In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labour, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
So, Lennon is onto something here, though he is wrong to see property as creating hunger, when ownership of property should in fact guarantee a minimum of prosperity – and in fact the greatest famines of the twentieth century were caused by collectivisation in the Soviet Union and China.
As for the brotherhood of man, that is a Christian idea, but as my old RE teacher told me, it is only possible under the Fatherhood of God. Generally speaking, when people imagine there is no heaven and no hell, and no God, they start doing the most beastly things to each other, and creating not Utopia, but Hell on earth.

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