The song Imagine by John Lennon includes the line: ‘And no religion too’, and in the song we are also exhorted to imagine no heaven and no hell.
As a one-time admirer of John Lennon, who had great musical ability – my conclusions about the lyrics of the song – is ‘yes I do say you are a dreamer, regardless of the fact that you may not be the only one’.
And no I won’t be ‘joining you’ in taking on board the conclusions reached in the song.
The song for me is written by someone who spent his life searching. Searching for something, he honestly seemed unable to find.
I didn’t and don’t, know the man’s innermost world. But once likened my own search to his.
There is a heaven and there is a hell, but it is not found within the confines of the mental comprehension and limited perspective that man places upon it.(Revelation 4/1), (Matthew 10/28)
Nevertheless it doesn’t do any harm to keep the conclusions that we come to – simple, about ‘heaven and hell’. Because at the end of the day (indeed the end of days as we know them) there is a place of eternal bliss, and a place of eternal justice – having it’s day.
As we used to say Christ’s Salvation is ‘a hell to be shunned’ and a ‘heaven to be gained’.
The idea of Heaven – most can live with.
But the subject of hell – well, this is the subject that usually gets everyone’s heckles up – and before you know it anyone who suggests there is a hell – get’s lambasted and caricatured as a stern faced, foaming at the mouth, judgementalist, who considers themselves superior to everyone else and hasn’t an ounce of compassion in their little finger.
Bit like, the way Jesus exposed some of the Pharisees to be.
But hold on – weren’t they the religious ones?
What’s that John? – ‘imagine there’s no religion…’ – yes – I can do that!
* James 1:27
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, – To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Oh so that’s what true/pure religion is!
No I don’t want to imagine that missing. We need that. We need pure ‘Biblical’ religion, as just described.
But religion that says man is his own salvation, obtained through some kind of mental gymnastics involving tricks of the mind, where a personal God (as in God being a Person, a personality even…) is replaced by some kind of impersonal electrical vibration that is conjured up by repetitious chanting – sorry not for me.
We could always stick the word ‘science’ upon such practices – in that way we can reinforce the conclusion that we have no need to look any further than ourselves.
We can sit back and affirm our own ingenuity at working out the mysteries of the universe, the old chestnut: ‘you have your truth and I have mine’.
In which there is only relativism but no absolutes. So – no total assurance of any kind that we have found ‘absolute truth’, about the creator of the universe.
Again in Lennon’s song – ‘Brotherhood of man’ – is a great idea, but it ain’t gonna happen.
To treat our fellow human beings with respect, and to share with and help as best we can is certainly proof of any kind of faith we might have, and racism should be shunned.
But we all know the reality of a sin-sick world – the need is enormous and someone greater than ourselves who came to earth to provide a way back to the Almighty (who is transcendent) – must step into history. And He has in the person of the only begotten Son of the Living God.
So when we try to figure this heaven, hell, afterlife, god thing out – we can do what John says – just imagine it all away.
After all (many conclude) it is ‘imagined’ anyway – who really knows? – is their agnostic conclusion.
Some would say we need someone back from the dead who has been there and bought the celestial tee shirt – with ‘I got to the afterlife by imagining it didn’t exist, but here I am back again to tell you the right way of it’.
That Person (Jesus Christ) who imagined no such thing – has been back from the dead, and lays it all out clearly in a book we call the bible.
He tells us we can imagine all we like, but there is a heaven and there is a hell, and there is a way to ensure we shall have eternal life in a dwelling place, specially prepared for those who will believe in the King of heaven. (John 14/2)
He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
So we can imagine all we want, and if you have visited this blog – you will know I ‘champion’ imagination through my art – but heh! Let’s get real – imagination is imagination – reality is reality.
So whatever your religion, please allow me to respect you first as a human being and to be a friend. But sorry if I can’t take on board any other *religion other than the one referred to in the Bible.
In fact as I stated once before – I am not religious in the widely accepted sense – for me it’s simple: Christ Jesus came into the world that I might have life and life more abundantly – both now and for eternity.
I have proved this to be so – through knowledge of the truth and through experiencing The Spiritual Life and Personal relationship Jesus Christ the Son of God offers to the needy heart.
So let me plagiarise John Lennon’s line: ‘I hope some day you’ll join us…’
1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.