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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Default Was John Lennon Anti-religion?

    I've been reading old John Lennon interviews today in which he answers questions about songs such as Imagine. And I suddenly realized where one of my biggest problems with the church lies.

    One Sunday the preacher at the United Brethren church I attended when I was a teenager decided to give an anti-Lennon sermon. He was quoting lyrics from Imagine and explaining why they were so evil. But I was a big fan of John Lennon's music, so I found this particular sermon to be quite disagreeable to me.

    The lyrics say:
    "Imagine no country..."
    "Imagine no religion..."
    "Imagine there's no Heaven..."

    The preacher believed Lennon wanted to get rid of countries and religions, that he was against these things.

    But nothing could be farther from the truth. Lennon is just saying we should "imagine" these things. Come on, it's not meant to be taken literally. It's just poetry, man. I wish I could say that to the old pastor today.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  2. #2

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    The song is an interesting one because it could be considered as either utopian or dystopian depending on your perspective, I remember reading a neo-con book once attacking it as representative of an anti-american New World Order and, while no agreeing with the politics underpinning it all, it made me think.

    Imagine a state in which what Lennon suggests has come to pass, most people do so in a positive way, as in imagine no country because internationalism is the norm, but what's to say its not simply a song about how people have despaired of everything and there's nothing worth believing in or valuing anymore? How terrble would that be?

    It really depends on whether you're comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary, desirable alternative or comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary less desirable alternative, although your value judgements about country, religion, heaven will determine which I bet.

    What I think throws Lennon's tune into sharp relief is that while he seems to be singing about the Utopian dreams of commies and socialists in Imagine the same guy wrote The Tax Man, a right wing whinge about paying taxes, and filled a warehouse full of fur coats for Yoko.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    Listen my friend, John Lennon had another songs saying "I don't believe in ......(A), (B), (C), (D)......I just believe in me.....Yoko and me". This means he was probably not AGAINST religion in an active way but just had a disbelief of any organized system.
    You know, this is a very important difference and concept to understand. It's the difference between the "contrary" and the "contradictory", as concepts. (If you don't understand what I'm saying tell me and i'll come back for more)

  4. #4
    The Unwieldy Clawed One Falcarius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    ...

    What I think throws Lennon's tune into sharp relief is that while he seems to be singing about the Utopian dreams of commies and socialists in Imagine the same guy wrote The Tax Man, a right wing whinge about paying taxes, and filled a warehouse full of fur coats for Yoko.
    That was Harrison.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
    Oh our 3rd person reference to ourselves denotes nothing more than we realize we are epic characters on the forum.

    Narcissism, plain and simple.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    How is TaxMan a right wing whinge about paying taxes?! Do you understand non-literal meanings? That song is to be taken as a joke, even the sound of the song is indicative of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The song is an interesting one because it could be considered as either utopian or dystopian depending on your perspective, I remember reading a neo-con book once attacking it as representative of an anti-american New World Order and, while no agreeing with the politics underpinning it all, it made me think.

    Imagine a state in which what Lennon suggests has come to pass, most people do so in a positive way, as in imagine no country because internationalism is the norm, but what's to say its not simply a song about how people have despaired of everything and there's nothing worth believing in or valuing anymore? How terrble would that be?

    It really depends on whether you're comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary, desirable alternative or comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary less desirable alternative, although your value judgements about country, religion, heaven will determine which I bet.

    What I think throws Lennon's tune into sharp relief is that while he seems to be singing about the Utopian dreams of commies and socialists in Imagine the same guy wrote The Tax Man, a right wing whinge about paying taxes, and filled a warehouse full of fur coats for Yoko.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkgraffiti View Post
    How is TaxMan a right wing whinge about paying taxes?! Do you understand non-literal meanings? That song is to be taken as a joke, even the sound of the song is indicative of that.
    You're serious? So what's it about then? How great it is to pay taxes? Is it like hooray for the tax collectors?

  7. #7
    Senior Member pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    what? no, that song is not for paying taxes, it's a joke. why did you say it was a right-wing whinge? the fact he's joking about taxes doesn't mean he's right wing. it's like the song i mentioned before. john lennon (and goddamit why am i defending this guy, i don't even like him) did not give a damn about social conventions, that is all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    You're serious? So what's it about then? How great it is to pay taxes? Is it like hooray for the tax collectors?

  8. #8
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal12345 View Post
    I've been reading old John Lennon interviews today in which he answers questions about songs such as Imagine. And I suddenly realized where one of my biggest problems with the church lies.

    One Sunday the preacher at the United Brethren church I attended when I was a teenager decided to give an anti-Lennon sermon. He was quoting lyrics from Imagine and explaining why they were so evil. But I was a big fan of John Lennon's music, so I found this particular sermon to be quite disagreeable to me.

    The lyrics say:
    "Imagine no country..."
    "Imagine no religion..."
    "Imagine there's no Heaven..."

    The preacher believed Lennon wanted to get rid of countries and religions, that he was against these things.

    But nothing could be farther from the truth. Lennon is just saying we should "imagine" these things. Come on, it's not meant to be taken literally. It's just poetry, man. I wish I could say that to the old pastor today.
    I think he meant:

    Imagine that the concept of nationality is not used to divide people through the use of sloganeering and patriotism.
    Imagine that religion is used to unite people instead of divide them into 'true believer' or 'infidel' camps.
    Imagine that the concept of heaven is not dangled before people as an enticement for sanctioned behavior, or its absence as a punishment.
    So in a very real sense, this song is anti-religion because it invites people to look at reality outside of comfortable preconceptions…
    Having said that, I still think JL was a pretentious wanker, for the most part.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The song is an interesting one because it could be considered as either utopian or dystopian depending on your perspective, I remember reading a neo-con book once attacking it as representative of an anti-american New World Order and, while no agreeing with the politics underpinning it all, it made me think.

    Imagine a state in which what Lennon suggests has come to pass, most people do so in a positive way, as in imagine no country because internationalism is the norm, but what's to say its not simply a song about how people have despaired of everything and there's nothing worth believing in or valuing anymore? How terrble would that be?

    It really depends on whether you're comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary, desirable alternative or comparing the imperfect reality with an imaginary less desirable alternative, although your value judgements about country, religion, heaven will determine which I bet.

    What I think throws Lennon's tune into sharp relief is that while he seems to be singing about the Utopian dreams of commies and socialists in Imagine the same guy wrote The Tax Man, a right wing whinge about paying taxes, and filled a warehouse full of fur coats for Yoko.
    "Give Peace a Chance."

    Lennon was a right-winger, but he didn't wax political about his views. The Beatles were not a politically-oriented group, and the post-Beatle Lennon was only a "make love not war" kind of hippie protestor against the Vietnam war.

    More importantly than politics, Lennon was more dove than hawk. But his view was more complex than that, as he admitted the presence of a hawkish view within him, just as he stated the revolutionary types also have a doveish element about them. Yin-Yang. Human nature is in constant motion. Wheels.

    When Lennon wrote "Imagine" he was going through a strong anti-war "dove" phase, but he was not a revolutionary asking for social change, nor was he a communist. "Imagine" is just a poem in which he asks people to imagine a peaceful world where nobody wants for anything. Thinking about country and religion is not, in Lennon's view, conducive to a peaceful state of mind, because those are things that have to be defended.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkgraffiti View Post
    what? no, that song is not for paying taxes, it's a joke. why did you say it was a right-wing whinge? the fact he's joking about taxes doesn't mean he's right wing. it's like the song i mentioned before. john lennon (and goddamit why am i defending this guy, i don't even like him) did not give a damn about social conventions, that is all.
    The song is an anti-taxes/anti-taxation song, written and sang by some really rich guys. Its not a hippy attack on conventions to challenge taxation, unless I missed something, its the song which is most obviously the mirror opposite of the sentiments which liberals or commies relish in Imagine.

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