John Lennon on Christians Who Are ‘so Busy Condemning Themselves and Others’

John Lennon shared his thoughts on Christianity and the ‘so-called Christians’ who are ‘killing for Christ.’ Here’s what we learned from the writing of Lennon in Skywriting by Word of Mouth.

What were the religious beliefs of John Lennon?

John Lennon being interviewed by journalist Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental magazine
John Lennon being interviewed by journalist Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental magazine | Michael Putland/Getty Images

John Lennon was a member of one of the world’s biggest bands — The Beatles. At one point, Lennon even said the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” sparking controversy among people who practice Christianity. 

“I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not saying we are greater or better,” Lennon said in a press conference, according to History.com. “I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky.”

“I’m sorry I said it, really,” he added. “I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. From what I’ve read, or observed, Christianity just seems to be shrinking, to be losing contact.”

According to Hollow Verse, Lennon’s partner, Yoko Ono, was raised as a Buddhist and as a Christian. The website continues that much of her current spirituality is informed by “eastern philosophies, mysticism, and astrology.”

John Lennon shared his thoughts on Christians who are ‘so busy condemning themselves and others’

Lennon rejected some religions into the 1970s. The artist elaborated on his opinions in Skywriting by Word of Mouth, commenting on the “so-called Christians” who are busy “condemning themselves and others, or preaching at people, or worse, still killing for Christ.” 

“None of them understanding, or trying in the least, to behave like a Christ,” Lennon wrote. “It seems to me that the only true Christians were (are?) the Gnostics, who believe in self-knowledge, i.e., becoming Christ themselves, reaching the Christ within.” 

“Christ, after all, is Greek for light,” the author added. “The Light is the Truth. All any of us are trying to do is precisely that: Turn on the light. All the better to see you with, my dear.”

Ono added a blurb to Lennon’s writing, saying that she and Lennon recognized the accepted translation of Chris as “the anointed one.”

“We, however, were told that in the original Dead Sea Scrolls, it is revealed that the true translation of Christ is ‘light,’ which to us made more sense,” she wrote.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono advocated for peace with ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’

As a solo artist, Lennon released “Imagine,” later earning over 470 million Spotify plays in the process. John Lennon and Yoko Ono also released “Give Peace a Chance” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

“War is over, if you want it,” the artists sing in “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” which remains a holiday favorite even decades after its release.

Lennon and Ono also spent their honeymoon hosting their infamous “bed-in for peace” at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, followed by a second bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. There, they had a chance to speak on the Vietnam War, advocate for peace, and elaborate on their relationship. 

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