In 1971, John Lennon wrote a song that captured the spirit of a generation—“Imagine.” In it, he invited us to imagine a world with “no heaven above us,” “no hell below us,” “nothing to kill or die for,” and “no religion.” The result he envisioned?
“Imagine all the people / Living life in peace.”
Nearly a half century later, John Lennon’s vision of religion-less peace is as alive as ever. But the question is: Was he right?
How did we get here?
There is a growing sense in the United States that strong forms of religion—such as Christianity—are the enemy of peace and brotherhood. Many Americans have now come to believe that Christianity is inherently hateful or bigoted.
John Lennon didn’t invent this view. Historically, it began around the sixteenth century, when many Europeans, tired of their so-called “religious wars,” sought to invent a liberal, secular notion of “tolerance” to counter the inherently “intolerant” nature of Christian belief.
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