I have never met a serious fan of The Beatles who did not have one favorite Beatle. (I’m sure it is obvious which Beatle is my favorite.)
As for Yoko Ono, she is a highly polarizing figure among Beatles fans — they love her, or they hate her, but there is very little, if any, in-between, which is why I omitted “middle-ground” answers to the “Yoko question” in this chart.
Image credits: I found the pictures shown on these websites.
- John Lennon: http://www.ranker.com/list/a-list-of-famous-john-lennon-quotes/reference
- Paul McCarney: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChESbrLRGUGuZFbQP0L68vg
- George Harrison: http://www.whosampled.com/George-Harrison/covered/?sp=1
- Ringo Starr: http://www.emp3.ws/img.php?i=http://i1.sndcdn.com/artworks-000128059093-u6x1oa-large.jpg
- Yoko Ono: http://www.fundacionsantandercreativa.com/web/evento-auna/conferencia-yoko-ono-por-marta-mantecon.html
Source for John Lennon quote: this website.
The source of this quote is this Lennon song, which you can hear by following this YouTube link.
I’ve been a fan of John Lennon for as long as I can remember, and October 9, his birthday, has always been a special day for me. In 1983, when I was a high school junior, celebrating his birthday changed from something I simply did, by choice, into what, at the time, I considered a moral imperative.
In October of ’83, I was a student — a junior — at McClellan High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, and October 9th happened to be the day that all juniors were, according to that school’s administration, required to take the ASVAB: the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. While this is a standardized test, it isn’t like other standardized tests — it is actually a recruitment tool for the United States military.
At the time, Ronald Reagan was president, and we were in one of the many scary parts of the Cold War, with the threat of global thermonuclear war looming over us at all times. If you are too young to remember the Reagan era well, it may be hard to understand just how real, and how scary, it was to grow up with a president who did such things as making “jokes,” like this, in front of a microphone:
Reagan made this extremely unfunny “joke” the next year, in 1984, but the climate of fear in which he thought such a thing would be funny was already firmly in place in 1983, and I was already openly questioning the sanity of our president. My own anti-war attitudes, very much influenced by Lennon and his music, were already firmly in place. For the few unfamiliar with it, here is a sample of Lennon’s music.
So here I was, a high school junior, being told I had to take a test, for the military, on John Lennon’s birthday. I reacted to this in pretty much the same way a devout Jew or Muslim would react to being told to eat pork chops: I absolutely refused to cooperate. “Blasphemy” is not a word I use often now, and it wasn’t then, either, but to cooperate with this would have been the closest thing to blasphemy which I was capable of understanding at that age (I was 15 years old when this happened).
The other juniors got up and shuffled off, like good, obedient soldiers, when the intercom told them to go take the ASVAB. I simply remained seated.
The teacher told me it was time to go take the ASVAB. I replied, calmly, that no force on earth could compel me to take a test for the military on John Lennon’s birthday. At that point, I was sent to the office. Going to the office posed no ethical nor moral dilemmas for me, for I wanted the people there to know, also, that it was wrong for them to give a test for the military on October 9, of all days.
The principal, a man already quite used to dealing with me and my eccentricities, knew it would be pointless to argue with me about the ASVAB. He simply showed me a chair in the main office, and told me I could sit there that day, all day, and I did. To the school, this might have been seen as a single day of in-school suspension, but I saw it for what it really was: a one-person, sit-down protest for peace, in honor of the greatest activist for peace the world has ever known. It was an act of civil disobedience, and I regret nothing about it.
I will be sharing this story with Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, a woman I very much admire, and the greatest living activist for peace in the world today. Yoko, I do hope you enjoy this story. You and John have done great things, and they will not be forgotten, as long as people remain alive to tell about them.
Peace to all.
[Credits: photo from rollingstone.com; videos from YouTube.]
This is one of the most vicious, cutting songs ever written. Here is a video for it, so you can hear it for yourself, and see the things to which the song refers.
It was, of course, written targeting one specific person, but it isn’t difficult to listen to it, and think of other people to whom this question could — and perhaps should — be asked. In other words, there is no reason, in today’s world, to limit this song to merely being an “attack song” against Paul McCartney, although that was certainly John Lennon’s intent when he wrote it.
When anyone does horrible things — far worse than anything McCartney ever did — this song’s title makes a good question one could ask them: how do you sleep?
After thinking about it, I have come up with five possible answers.
- Some people lack a conscience, and so are untroubled by guilt — ever — no matter what they do.
- Delusional people can do horribly evil things, but be convinced that they are moral, righteous, and doing what they should be doing. If you have never encountered such behavior, consider yourself fortunate.
- Sometimes, people are simply ignorant of how harmful their actions have been. One cannot feel guilty over harm one does not know one caused.
- Even those who are tormented by their own consciences, and past actions, can still sleep with the aid of sedatives, whether over-the-counter, or prescribed. This is risky, of course, and should only be done under the care, and following the instructions, of a physician. (Yes, I am aware that illegal drugs — or legal ones that aren’t considered medicines, such as alcohol — can also be used for this purpose, but that’s even more risky, and I wish to make it perfectly clear that I strongly advise against doing that.)
If you can think of any others, please leave them in a comment.
The term “evangelical atheism” may seem like a contradiction, but, hopefully, the image above clarifies what it means. It’s the zealous pushing of others to abandon religious beliefs, and it isn’t helpful to anyone.
John Lennon never, to my knowledge, publicly proclaimed a personal religious belief, but he didn’t apply the word “atheist” to himself, either; others did that. The same thing has happened repeatedly to Neil deGrasse Tyson, as he explains further, below. In both cases, these are people who are fiercely independent in their thinking, and not afraid to offend others — but that doesn’t mean they want to be associated with evangelical atheists, whose hostility to religion, and religious people, makes the world a more dangerous place. The more logical goal is a peaceful world, and that means one where the faithful and the skeptical can coexist peacefully.
For this to happen, work is needed on both sides, by the people on each side. The reasonable and moderate religious millions have religious extremists to (try to) calm down, each in their own groups, and they’ve got their hands full with that. It falls to non-religious people to deal with the extremists on the other side — the type who go beyond Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens, all three of whom conceded, in books of theirs which I have read, that they would change their minds on the subject of the existence of a deity, shown adequate empirical evidence for the existence of one. This was a consequence of the fact that all three men have written things based on rational thought. (They’ve also let their emotions get in the way sometimes, and become overly angry, but I’m referring to their better works, especially that of Harris.)
Evangelical atheists don’t write books. They can’t calm down long enough for that. Instead, they are more likely to speak out through angry and insulting videos they post on YouTube, harassment of believers (or agnostics, or those who simply don’t want to be labeled by others) on Facebook, and, of course, old-fashioned, face-to-face bullying.
I prefer the term “skeptic” for myself, as I have explained here before, for I like that balance struck by that term: insistence on evidence, balanced by openness to new evidence, even if it contradicts previous views (about anything). I also don’t want to associate myself with the evangelical atheists, which is the primary reason I abandoned use of the word “atheist” for myself, some time ago.
This made a few evangelical atheists angry, some to the point of losing all ability to reason (predictably), to the point of open warfare on my Facebook. To stop this, I literally deactivated that account for several days, that being the easiest option to shut that down quickly.
As for Neil deGrasse Tyson and John Lennon, I will let them speak for themselves.
Religious people aren’t going away any time soon. Neither are the non-religious. If we’re going to enjoy “living life in peace,” the hatred and hostility both need to go, from both sides of the “divide of belief” . . . and that isn’t too much to ask.