I was 12 years old when the John Lennon song, “Imagine” came out.
Looking back, it seems like the whole world was changed by that song.
There’s no doubt Lennon was a musical genius and “Imagine” was and is the most famous song of his solo career. It’s a beautiful song, musically.
The words and thoughts in the song are easy to swallow. Lennon himself referred to it as “sugar-coated.”
Now, over 40 years later, many of the basic concepts of that sugar-coated song seem ingrained in our modern consciousness.
Chief among those concepts is that religion is not only responsible for most of the wars and killing in this world, but much of the evil.
I contend that evil (also known by the politically incorrect term: “sin”) is responsible for most of the wars and killing in this world.
An extensive study called The Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Allen Axelrod lists 1763 major conflicts in human history. Of those, 123 are classified as being fought over religious differences.
Yes, I agree that even those 123 wars (about 7%) are far too many.
But a religion-free world will not result in a world free from anything to kill or die for, nor would it result in a “brotherhood of man” as Lennon contended.
North Korea, which has one of the lowest rates of people practicing religion of any kind, is proof of that. The same goes for Communist China, which has a horrible record of human rights abuses.
No, the real causes of war are exactly what the Bible says they are: lust, greed, covetousness, the hunger for power, lies, revenge, idolatry, hate, and all manner of sin.
I will readily agree that many times in human history, religion has been used as a veil to make evil look like good.
But that doesn't make any religion evil. That makes people’s use of religion for evil an even more deplorable and despicable kind of evil.
“This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17 NIV)
I would gently and respectfully contend that evil does not exist because there are too many people in this world who know of those words spoken by Jesus, but because not enough people know of them.
And I wonder if we could imagine a world where those words were put into practice.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16,17 NIV)