Imagine John Lennon in Heaven

I was shocked when I heard someone say, vehemently, that John Lennon is burning in hell right now. What? How could they say that? How dare they make such a broad assumption? Are we now so chummy with God that we’re his right-hand men, knowing other people’s salvation? All theology aside, doesn’t God—and only God—get to make that decision?

I believe a few things that part with fundamentalism: I don’t believe in a fiery torment based on not checking the “I believe in Jesus” box, and I believe God speaks to all people, even before they know Him, understand Him, or know His name. Even if they haven’t made any conscious choice to “give their heart” to Jesus. Even if, because some Christians have rejected them, they think God has rejected them.

Only God knows what heaven and hell are like, and we can only guess. Mainstream Christians guess based on old, and very “colorful,” concepts, like “Inferno” by Dante and “Hell” by Hieronymus Bosch. (Google it. The guy had quite an imagination.) Many progressive Christians say there’s no heaven or hell. Coming from a fundamentalist background, I’m uncomfortable with that, but I can say I don’t believe in a literal heaven or hell: they’re not like anything we can dream up, because we’re human and our imagination is limited.

So, if there is a heaven, what’s it like? Without even knowing it, John Lennon described heaven:

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
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

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 I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.

John Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980)

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