IMAGINE THERE IS NO HEAVEN
In 1971, he came out with a song, an anthemic song that is still stewed in controversy. A song pregnant with different interpretations. A song that is bad and yet is good in some ways. A song that urges us to imagine the unimaginable: Imagine there is no heaven. And imagine there is no hell. All above us is nothing but clouds and blue skies. It is unimaginable, but you can imagine it, if you try, says John Lennon in his song, Imagine there is no heaven. Who is John Lennon? Of course, you know him.
John Lennon of the famous Beatles, who infamously said, at the height of his fame, that he is more famous than Jesus Christ. A remark that sparked uproar in Christendom for which he later apologised. John Lennon, who was killed by a deranged man, a fan who loved him so much that he had to shoot him dead at close range—in the name of love.
Were he to be alive, Lennon would have been 70 this October. But he is gone, dead and gone. Only God knows where he is now. John Lennon. He who said there is no heaven and there is no hell. And that once you are dead, you are dead. There is no afterlife; there is no paradise, where you are rewarded for your earthly good deeds. And there is no place of burning fire where you are sentenced for your earthly crimes. So sings John Lennon.
It is a song I like very much. I love the melody and I love some parts of the lyrics, even though I don't agree wholeheartedly with what he preaches. I am not alone in loving John Lennon's controversial song. In opinion polls among music lovers all over the world, Imagine is rated as one of the best songs ever crafted in the history of pop music. So popular is the song that many musicians, from Randy Crawford to Stevie Wonder to Jennifer Houston, have all done their own cover versions of it. Amnesty International loves it to the point of adopting it as its official anthem.
John Lennon is dead and gone, but his songs live on. He is the author of another pacifist anthem: Give Peace a Chance, a song so popular among Nigerian soccer fans. When the Super Eagles are not scoring, the anxious fans would chant their own version of John Lennon's song, singing: 'All we are saying, give us a goal…'
He may be an atheist but John Lennon is an apostle of peace, who advocates a world where peace reigns and people live in peace. Peace of mind. Peace at home. Peace at work. Peace everywhere. No war. Just peace. Peace and love. Peace perfect peace.
He sings of a world where there is no religion. No people fighting and killing each other in the name of religion. No terrorism caused by religious bigotry. No suicide bombers.
In Lennon's imaginary world, there is no country. No need for country versus country. Countries have no borders. Everywhere is so borderless that you can move anywhere and stay anywhere without a passport or a visa. From Nigeria, you can choose to live in Britain or the United States. You don't need to win a visa lottery to stay there. You have the freedom to live anywhere you choose to. Oh, what a beautiful world that would have been!
In John Lennon's imaginary world called Nutopia, we all live as one in the brotherhood of man. No fighting. No quarrelling. No greed. No rich man. No poor man. No cheating. No one is being used and dumped by the mighty and the powerful. No one is being abused. No one is being refused.
'Imagine all the people, sharing the world,' he sings. 'You may think I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one, I hope someday you will join us. And the world will live as one.'
If you want to listen to John Lennon's Imagine, you can hear it on Youtube.