The Olympics opening ceremonies in Tokyo featured one of the worst pop songs of all time: Yes, I’m speaking of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” sung by a large children’s choir and a bevy of celebrities.
As a fan of the Beatles and Lennon especially, it pains me to say this, but it’s true: While its melody and arrangement are indeed beautiful, the lyrics are an invitation to moral and political chaos.
Consider the opening verse: “Imagine there’s no heaven / It’s easy if you try / No hell below us, above us only sky / Imagine all the people livin’ for today.”
I frankly can’t imagine anything worse. To say that there is no heaven or hell is to say that there is no absolute criterion of good and evil — no way of meaningfully determining the difference between right and wrong, no standard outside of the subjectivities of each moral actor by which to say any one agent is better than any other.
If you doubt the convictions of a Roman Catholic bishop, take a good hard look at the tens of millions of corpses piled up in the last century by people who took very seriously the proposition that there is “no hell below us; above us only sky.”
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