“Imagine”: Communism vs. A Biblical View

Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven,

It’s easy if you try,

No hell below us,

Above us only sky,

Imagine all the people

living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries,

It isn’t hard to do,

Nothing to kill or die for,

No religion too,

Imagine all the people

living life in peace…

You may say Im a dreamer,

but Im not the only one,

I hope some day you’ll join us,

And the world will live as one.

(Imagine all the people sharing all the world)

Imagine no possessions,

I wonder if you can,

No need for greed or hunger,

A brotherhood of man,

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world…

You may say Im a dreamer,

but Im not the only one,

I hope some day you’ll join us,

And the world will live as one.

An indicator of how radical my beliefs and values are in comparison to the society in which I live is John Lennon’s song, Imagine.  From the first time I heard it, in the early seventies, there was something about the lyrics that didn’t quite feel right to me.  But now, after having read and studied the Bible for three decades, my view has become decidedly Biblical, and I can say without hesitation exactly why I do not like this song.  (Of course, I am specifically referring to the lyrics, not the melody, which is lovely.)  This isn’t simply a matter of my not particularly caring for Imagine.  Everyone has the right to his own taste in music, and it serves no purpose to go to great lengths just to say why I don’t like something.  But what motivates me to express my reaction to Imagine’s lyrics is that it is an attack on my very faith.  And I will not let that attack remain unaddressed.

As I was praying this morning, the scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) came to me as an answer from the Lord.  That verse continues, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  The song’s first stanza instead exalts “all the people”.  They are the end all and be all.  There is nothing over them or under them.  There is no good or evil, right or wrong in the traditional sense, except whatever “all the people” (the ultimate authority) decide.  John Lennon himself said the message of his song was basically the Communist Manifesto.

Over the years, this song has remained very popular, beloved by the masses and lifted up as emblematic of John’s great humanism.  Like the choral message of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the “Brotherhood of Man” is exalted.  The song begins, “Imagine there’s no heaven”.  If heaven doesn’t exist, then the God of heaven certainly can’t exist.  And though humans are free to imagine whatever they want, this imagination seeks to undercut the very foundation of Western Civilization.

Over the past 45 years, education in most American schools has become iconoclastic of our traditional foundations and doctrinaire of anti-nationalism in general, with an emphasis on anti-Americanism.  Included in the contemporary idea of being educated are the intolerant attitudes of anti-religion in general, especially Biblical religions.  They go on to include anti-capitalism, anti-individualism, and even anti-linear and critical thought.  The pattern of change is turning from what we have understood freedom to mean (the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) to whatever “all the people” want.  The problem with this is two-fold.  It defies human nature and the only way to implement it is via some form of dictatorship.  Now I’m the first person to endorse being a dreamer, but this is a dream for the destruction of everything I hold dear.

The second stanza imagines the world living in peace because there is nothing to kill or die for; no countries or religion.  I have never been able to understand how an otherwise intelligent person could accept this totally unrealistic concept.  There is no way this “perfect” world could deal with megalomaniacs any better than we ever have.  Communism has demonstrated that the only way the “dictatorship of the proletariat” can work is by the ruthless exercise of power by the few to oppress the many.

Lennon’s presumption was that we need some excuse to go to war, so let’s eliminate those excuses: countries and religion.  Biblical Christianity poses a different view.  Revelation 7:9 describes a throng in heaven as, “… a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language …”  Here is universal unity based on faith in the one true God who created us, not faith in Man, the created being, as was the case in Genesis 11, where in verse 4 they say, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves …“   In their focus on the unity among themselves, their pride became a challenge to the authority of God.  “The Lord said,” (v. 6) “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”  So, like the Tower of Babel, unity that exalts Man is doomed to destruction.  However, unity in Christ is eternal because we are under God (as our nation once tried to be).

Let’s further explore the notion that somehow we can attain peace if only we can bring about the absence of killing.  There is so much confusion in our popular culture about it.  There are demonstrations against the death penalty every time a convicted murderer is about to be executed.  Yet, millions turn a blind eye to the infanticide society has come to accept as a “woman’s right”, in spite of what is known scientifically about when a human life begins and what actually constitutes a human being.  Euthanasia is becoming an acceptable “medical procedure”.  But war is wrong.

Simplistically speaking, it boils down to this:  If I or my family are attacked by an intruder in our home, am I going to fight back or am I going to allow the intruder to have his way?  This choice is a very real one because things like this happen every day.  Those who don’t fight back will always suffer some loss; personal property at the very least, personal injury or possibly rape or death.  But those who risk defending themselves do so in the hope of minimizing their losses.  They may still be hurt or suffer loss, but they may also be able to prevent loss and perhaps save themselves or their family.  Self defense is an acceptable reason to kill another person.  The law has become murky in this kind of scenario because, as I mentioned above, education has been attacking traditional values and beliefs for a long time.

And like the law, our political thinking is equally murky.  We are currently engaged in a war on terrorism.  But this very description of the war prevents us from naming the enemy.  In a war you fight an enemy, not a tactic.  Terrorism is a tactic of the Islamofascists, and yet in our P.C. shackled thinking, we aren’t allowed to say the war is against Islamic terrorists.  We aren’t allowed to use racial profiling which is a proven, effective crime fighting tool, long used by police.  In fact, 911 would have been prevented if the former racial profiling techniques had still been in force.  Several of the Saudi terrorists who flew the planes into the Twin Towers were delayed at an airport.  Red flags went up when security noticed they were of middle eastern appearance, they had one way tickets and had paid cash.  But when this was brought to the attention of the airport authorities, they let them go, unhindered because recently another airport had lost a big lawsuit for racial profiling and they didn’t want to risk a law suit of their own.  The rest is history.

So, the question remains:  Are we going to defend ourselves?  Because if we are, we’d better be ready for the consequences; people are going to be killed.  But if we try to fight a war without killing anybody, or at least try to kill as few as possible, there will be no victory.  There is no such thing as fighting a “nice” war.  If we defend ourselves, if we go to war, it should be done for nothing less than total victory.  Otherwise, why risk such great loss?  Of course the other option, to simply do nothing, opens ourselves up to attack by anyone for whatever reason.  Is killing worse than that?

I have heard critics of war and the death penalty quote the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13) and then expect a Bible believer to be caught in a contradiction of his own belief system.  The fact is, that if you read the text in the original Hebrew, it translates as “murder”, not “kill”.  In spite of the confusion of today’s understanding, killing someone in self defense or in a legitimate act of war is not murder.  Execution of the death penalty is not murder.  Infanticide and euthanasia are.

The last stanza of Imagine addresses possessions, greed and hunger.  The linking of these three suggests that possessions are the fruit of our greed, resulting in the inequitable distribution of goods.  It is classic Marxism: the haves and have-nots must “share” so that everyone gets their “fair share”.  This is accomplished  by the redistribution of wealth: “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.”  Again, this kind of thinking is misplaced idealism.  The goal is, “And the world will live as one.”  But it ignores the reality of human nature.  If someone is prevented from having something (possessions) he can call his own, where does he find his identity?  Imagine gives us “all the people”.  The individual becomes lost in a sea of faceless sameness.

But the God of the Bible truly values the individual.  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” _ Jesus (Matthew 10:29-31).  Also, possessions represent the personal character and qualities of the individual.  “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:11b)  God values us so much that He wants us to have good things.  That’s what the Promised Land was all about (“…a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey – the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.” (Exodus 3:8).  “Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.” (Numbers 33:53).

The Bible demonstrates that God values human beings (in this case, His Chosen People) so much that He wants to bless them with possessions (in this case the Promised Land).  By this example, It also demonstrates that war is not immoral, but sometimes necessary and in accordance with God’s plan.  Before I became a Christian I had some first-hand experience in war.  I came away from the Vietnam War feeling it was wrong, or at least pointless that we were fighting it.  But my perspective has changed.  The real “wrong” thing about the Vietnam War was that we never fought it to win.  In fact, the last war (not including small skirmishes like Grenada) we won (WWII) we actually fought it to win.  We didn’t in Korea, we didn’t in Vietnam, we’ve never done it since.  And we certainly aren’t fighting the War on Terrorism to win.

In spite of the fact that our military was winning in Vietnam, (Even the Tet Offensive wasn’t a military victory.  It was a media victory for the anti-war crowd.) our politicians did everything they could to ensure defeat.  I often tell the story of being in a multi-force operation, in which marines awaited in a trapping position and other units held the flanks while our company chased the enemy.  We were not only trying to get them out of one area to make it safe, but hoped to eventually capture and disarm them.  This was called “pacification” and we worked it area by area, gradually making more and more land safe for the civilians.  This process took days and sometimes weeks for each area.

More than once, in the midst of one of these operations, we received orders to stand down, find a local hill, sit on top of it and just wait.  The reason: the peace talks were in progress and the North Vietnamese had insisted that all hostilities cease.  So we would sit atop some hill, looking down at the valley through which we had just chased the enemy, and we would watch them (NVAs) going back through the valley, returning to their former positions.  They were perfectly aware that we were not allowed to shoot at them. Later, when we got new orders, we would have to go back and start all over.  The only thing was, this time they were dug in and expecting us.  That’s no way to win a war.

Regarding the special “immorality” ascribed to the Vietnam War, I don’t think it was any more or any less moral than any other war in history.  Yet it is held up today as an example of how evil war is in general, so much so that few ever make the effort to really examine or think about what the war really represented: political ambivalence, indecisiveness and the transition from nationalism to globalism.

Finally, at first glance, “a brotherhood of man” seems like a lofty and noble goal.  No war, no greed, etc.  But in essence, this concept completely shuts its eyes to reality.  Can the utopian goal of removing want do anything to address the sin issue?  In the garden of Eden, Adam’s family had everything they could possibly need.  That didn’t stop them from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  That didn’t stop Cain from killing his brother.  Human nature is a sinful nature.  The only way we can change that is one person at a time; one heart at a time.  John 1:12 reads, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God …”  And if children of God, then brothers in the family of God.  As referenced above, that family includes “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language”.  I consider myself a citizen of Heaven, not a citizen of the world.

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About retiredday

I am Michael D. Day, a regular, everyday guy -- retired. I stand for God-given freedom, which means I think for myself. I believe in being civil, because the Bible teaches that we should love our enemies. But I also believe in saying it how I see it, and explaining just why I see it that way, sort of like 2 Timothy 4:2.
This entry was posted in Military, Politics, Religion, World View. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Imagine”: Communism vs. A Biblical View

  1. hoboduke says:

    Your meditation on IMAGINE is excellent contrasting the “I’m okey your’re okey” amoral value system. The word of God, the love of family, and the love of our country are values I don’t need to imagine. These are worth living for, and as we honor their memories of my son’s comrades; we know worth dying for.

    Like

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