Russell and Duenes

“Imagine All the People Living for Today”

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So said John Lennon. He told us we should imagine that “there’s no heaven, no hell below us, above us only sky.” And if we came to believe in such a universe, where there’s no God and no ultimate judge nor justice in the universe, then just imagine what a paradise it would be, what with all the people “living for today.” And so I try to imagine it.

And my imagination runs wild. I think of the people who run drug cartels, killing, raping, kidnapping, stealing and destroying other people’s lives because, don’tcha know it, there’s no God to whom they’re accountable. I imagine the underlings of drug cartels: dealers and runners. I imagine the killing that takes place to keep the drugs and money moving. I imagine what goes on in the choked prisons by hardened criminals. I imagine the crooked cops, politicians and lawyers who want in on the action. I imagine that they aren’t too worried about what happens when they die. They’re “living for today.” I imagine priests who continue to molest children and never get caught. They keep doing it because they are living for today, and they’re not worried about God’s judgment. I imagine this because I have absolutely no thought whatsoever that “religion” keeps people from wickedness. There’s religious sin and non-religious sin, and whatever kind of person who perpetrates it clearly has no fear that ultimate justice will be meted out to them. But I digress.

I imagine gang members killing other gang members by the thousands so that they can have “respect.” They’re living for today. I think of corrupt and murderous dictators the world over who are getting away with it, and since there’s no hell nor heaven, they will eternally get away with it. I imagine secret police who wrongfully arrest and beat people because they defy wicked leaders. I imagine Christians and Jews being persecuted and killed for their faith. I imagine mafia members killing and stealing and getting away with it. I imagine men catching flights from San Francisco to Thailand so they can have sex with teenage girls who’ve been sold into sex slavery. I imagine pimps and brothel owners “living for today,” as they watch the money roll in, without a thought in the world that God will call them to account. I imagine tax evaders, welfare and medicare fraudsters, sexual predators, extortioners, embezzlers, money launderers, identity thieves and computer hackers all “living for today,” secure in their crimes. I imagine men who selfishly neglect and mistreat their wives and are indifferent or even hostile to their children. I imagine people who destroy whole families through adultery, fornication, abuse and greed.

And this is all just scratching the surface because the amount of sin and wickedness going on in the world today defies description. And it goes on because “there is no fear of God in their eyes.” Now, is there any sense of common decency among people? Indeed there is, but that’s only because there actually is a God who has given us a conscience that tells us that human life has some kind of transcendent value. There certainly does not exist some kind of “empathy gene” that fosters a “brotherhood of man.” The real world – for those who care to see it – is far too full of horror and pain to believe anything like that. And if such a gene did exist, then people really aren’t responsible for the wickedness they commit. They simply lack the proper genetic make-up. Imagine that!

Unfortunately, John Lennon didn’t imagine hard enough.



Written by Michael Duenes

July 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

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