If there were an official anthem for the secular-progressive movement, it would have to be John Lennon’s “Imagine.” In the song, the former Beatle asks us to imagine a world with no heaven or hell, no countries, no greed or hunger, no possessions, and no religion. It is a wistful ballad that transports the listener off to Lennon’s imaginary socialist utopia. It’s not difficult to understand where he got his inspiration. When he composed the song in 1975, there were wars raging in more than 20 countries around the globe. Couple these conflicts with major famines in Africa and Asia, and the world was a pretty ugly place.
It’s a beautiful song, but what seems out of place, if not offensive to many people of faith, is the vilification of religion. Why did John Lennon have such a negative view of religion? He was baptized and raised Anglican, sang in the church choir, attended Sunday school, and was confirmed at 15 of his own free-will. So, why did he believe that religion was an evil influence on the world?
Lennon was a European, and Europe’s religious history and tradition is vastly different than what we’ve enjoyed in the United States. Religion in Europe was often used to manipulate and control the people. The aristocracy and church conspired to promote “The Divine Right of Kings,” a doctrine that asserted that the nobility were entitled to special rights and privileges because God favored them over the common man. In England, Henry the VIII appointed himself head of both Church and State. It was a political move designed to establish royal supremacy over all aspects of British life and culture. This is why the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America; they were seeking religious freedom and escaping the persecution of the Church of England.
Additionally, many of the conflicts raging in 1975 had some type of religious underpinning. The Lebanese Civil War between Muslims and Christians resulted in the deaths of a quarter of a million people. In Belfast Northern Ireland, authorities tried to stem the violence by building a “Peace Wall” to separate the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. Given this reality, one can’t necessarily blame John Lennon for developing a prejudice against religion.
However, Lennon may have been literally and figuratively short sighted. We often look at individuals or radical groups that commit acts of violence in the name of religion, and assume their behavior reflects the dogma and doctrine of the faith. Individuals and radical groups will always use religion to segregate themselves from those they oppose. This is certainly the case in Northern Ireland, but any individual who justifies violence in the name of Christianity, is certainly not a Christian. Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity was the original advocate of non-violence. His teachings emphasize forgiveness and tolerance, and he instructed his followers to turn the other cheek, and love their enemies.
No other moral or philosophical teachings have had a more profound impact on human civilization than the teachings of Jesus. That’s because Christian moral and ethical teachings are based on the concept of spiritual equality. It is the notion that all human beings are created in the likeness and image of the creator, and are of infinite value to God. As Paul put it, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Christianity introduced the concepts of equality and human rights to the world. Even Friedrich Nietzsche, the atheist philosopher who claimed, “God is dead,” recognized this writing: “Another Christian concept, no less crazy: the concept of equality of souls before God. This concept furnishes the prototype of all theories of equal rights.”
Christianity laid the philosophical and ethical foundations for the evolution of Western thought that gave us the Enlightenment, and culminated with the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence is a reaffirmation, and the political manifestation of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Anyone who insists that the United States is not a Christian nation, is either deluding themselves, or is ignorant of the evolution of Western philosophy, and the history of this Nation’s founding.
Today, the secular-progressive movement is attempting to remove God from all aspects of our culture. They vainly believe that the human race has evolved to the point where God is no longer necessary or desirable. They arrogantly view God as an imposition and restriction on their personal freedoms, and deny that he is the author and benefactor of all human rights. They espouse the eradication of Christian values, and seek to implement a secular ideology based on the delusion that human beings are capable of functioning as their own moral authority. Where in the history of the human race has this ever happened? John Lennon’s imaginary socialist utopia is just that, imaginary. It has never happened and never will without the light of a divine moral authority to lead the way.
John Lennon asked us to imagine a world without religion, but we don’t have to imagine it, another Lenin gave us a real life example.
In 1917, Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik revolution that brought the Communist to power in Russia. Upon assuming power, he officially declared the Soviet Union an atheist state, and God dead in Russia. The Communist Party was now the sole and ultimate moral authority. They seized and destroyed thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples. They persecuted people of faith and murdered hundreds of thousands of religious clerics. Over the next 30-years, the Communists, without the restraint of a higher moral authority, and under the control of the dictator Joseph Stalin, murdered at least 20 million people. Many perishing in labor camps, executed by the secret police, or starved to death in a purposely imposed famine.
This is the future of a world without God. Can you imagine it? It’s easy if you try.