It appears that a summer camp for "atheists" is being opened in England this summer by Richard Dawkins. As the Christian Century reports it, children between 7 and 17 will encounter "lessons on rational skepticism and moral philosophy as well as traditional outdoor and musical community activities." (CC, July 28, 2009, p. 9) Not surprisingly, the camp sing-a-long will include John Lennon's "Imagine" - one of the blessed gifts the cranky and dare I suggest misanthropic Beatle shared with creation in the aftermath of Beatlemania - which is always a good thing.

A far better song, however, is George Harrison's "Isn't It A Pity?" What's more, I would suggest that Harrison's laments, songs of hope and acts of compassion have brought more healing and beauty to the world than all of Lennon's angry words and sarcastic attempts at art and social change.

For years I loved the "in your face" style of Lennon: he was sexually aggressive, quick witted and always over the top. But when I think about who I would want to spend time with right now, I am certain that Harrison was right: beware of darkness. Sadly, John was trapped in his darkness and all the heroin, sex, alcohol, money, fame and attention couldn't fill the hole that tortured him for most of his life. Philip Norman's new biography of my teenage hero makes this all too clear.

So, good luck to Dawkins and his team as they sing, "Imagine" - it is a great song and I wish them well. But I think they'd be better off singing Lennon's best contribution: "Help."


SGF said…
I hear what you are the songs! If they are playing music like IMAGINE then whether they know it or not it is not an atheist camp!
RJ said…
EXACTLY....! Keep on keeping on, my man.

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