During the closing ceremony of this summer’s Olympic Games, there was a touching tribute offered to John Lennon in the form of a chorus of youngsters singing his most iconic tune: ‘Imagine.’ Of course, this rendition has deeply touched the hearts of peace loving folk everywhere, inspiring happy thoughts, hand holding, and other classic symbols of solidarity. Gotta love it.
But you know what would be really great? If these peace-lovers actually sat down and realized what a pie-in-the-sky piece of tripe ‘Imagine’ actually is. That’s right, I said it. And I want peace just as much as the next guy, but we’re not going to get it trying to live out ‘Imagine.’ Yes, this flies in the face of what common thought dictates, but seriously, let’s follow this song to its logical conclusion.
“Imagine there’s no heaven…no hell below us.”
Ok, so what is the reason we make day to day decisions? Hopefully we make them out of consideration of others, and not just ourselves. If you’re religious, you’re trying to square what you’re doing with possibilities of the afterlife. In Christianity, there’s two forms of contrition. Perfect Contrition is when we are sorry for sinning because we hurt God, Imperfect Contrition is when we’re sorry because we are scared of heading to hell when we die. But whether we’re acting on love of God, or fear of hell, we’re doing good regardless. Judaism, Islam, or other religions, most of them have stipulations for where you go after you die. Even in reincarnation, we’re trying extra hard so we don’t come back as a barnacle or something like that.
But what if you’re an atheist? You can still do good if you don’t believe in God. I totally agree with that. Of course you can. But you can choose not to, just the same as anyone. The difference is that, if the atheist is right, they don’t have anywhere to go whether they do good or bad. Life ends, you live on in the hearts of your friends, and so on. So here’s the thing…
If there is no heaven and no hell, so no afterlife, then there is no reason to be upset at anyone for what they do. Let’s live this out. One day, I think it would be fun to punch someone in the face. Sure, someone else would get hurt, but he’ll get over it. Oh, I’m hurting someone? I should respect them more? But they are going to be dust soon anyway, why can’t I have my fun? It offends you? Oh, well it offends me that you want to tell me what to do? How is this peaceful? If I want to enslave you, talk mean to you, why shouldn’t I? All we have is your will versus mine. If there’s no God, no religion, no heaven, then there is also no reason I can’t do whatever I want. And that includes getting some friends together and marching over to your house, and claiming it as my own, or killing everyone who has different skin colors, because I don’t like it. In fact, if this is all we get, I better have as much fun as possible while I’m around. And if you want to still do good stuff, that’s fine, but I don’t, I’m cool.
“Nothing to kill or die for…”
So now you’re gonna go and assert that everyone is perfect. How do I get that? Well, since it doesn’t matter what we do as there is no afterlife, then we’re going to assume that everyone is perfect, otherwise there would be no reason to fight.
Nothing to kill or die for? So if some mentally unbalanced person comes along and tries to shoot my family, there’s no reason for me to fight for their lives? Well, that’s different you say. That person isn’t normal. But none of us are perfect. There are affairs and cheating, should we fight for our marriages? Should we fight for good working conditions? You see, even the most well intentioned people can disagree. And some of those people can be way wrong. Shouldn’t we fight for what is right? Only the spineless coward would try to assert that there are no reasons to die for anything. I’ve got plenty in my life I’d be willing to lay down my life for, and bland is the life of the person who doesn’t.
“You say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
Oh, I really hope you are.