John Lennon was a talented singer and songwriter. As a philosopher, he left something to be desried.
"Imagine" is undoubtedly the song for which he's best remembered. It has a lilting melody, and what seems to be a wistful, hopeful message - can't we all live as one in the world?
It would be nice, but one of his parameters that defines the achievement of unity is the last thing that would help achieve it.
"Imagine there's no heaven...above us only sky...imagine all the people, living for today."
The rest of Lennon's suggestions - no countries, no possessions - fall in line with Christ's teachings. But then he dropkicks Jesus out of the stadium. Christianity without Christ is a description often applied to 'ideal' Communism.
Living for today is exactly what got us into this whole sorry mess. "Ooooh, look, Adam, wanna bite of apple?"
When we discount any thought of a life beyond this one, any hope for a path beyond death, and resign ourselves to living for the moment, we remove every restriction on our behaviour, beyond those which will be forced upon us to preserve some semblance of order.
Here's one example.
Want to have sex? If the immediate consequences for compelling a 'partner' are too onerous, then lie, beguile, manipulate...and walk away in the knowledge that if you've broken a heart or crushed a spirit, at least you got what you wanted.
Come to think of it, that sounds like the dating scene today, doesn't it?
The only thing that keeps us from falling into the abyss of a life devoted to self-interest is the faith - and hope - that there's something beyond this fragile existence, that makes it all worthwhile and can redeem our mistakes and casual cruelties.
Without that, we're lost, as the wreckage of Communist societies have so deftly proven.
It is something that the government should consider when endeavouring to separate church from state in a strict and non-contextual interpretation of the Establishment Clause. If you completely exclude religion from public life you're engaging in anti-religious propaganda.
Telling kids they can't pray in schools tells them they really shouldn't pray at home. That's how the Soviets did it.
And they got a society without consequences, and without compassion.
Do we want that? No thanks, Mr. Lennon.
Please stick to the yellow submarines.