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John Lennon

Lyrics From his 1970 song "God" (album "Plastic Ono Band"):

God is a concept by which we can measure our pain...
I don't believe in magic, I don't believe in I-ching,
I don't believe in bible, I don't believe in tarot,
I don't believe in Hitler, I don't believe in Jesus,
I don't believe in Kennedy, I don't believe in Buddha,
I don't believe in mantra, I don't believe in Gita,
I don't believe in yoga, I don't believe in kings,
I don't believe in Elvis, I don't believe in Zimmerman,
I don't believe in Beatles...
I just believe in me, Yoko and me, and that's reality.'

Lyrics From his 1970 song "I Found Out" (album "Plastic Ono Band"):

There ain't no Jesus gonna come from the sky,
Now that I found out I know I can cry.

Old Hare Krishna got nothing on you.
Just keep you crazy with nothing to do.
Keep you occupied with pie in the sky,
there ain't no guru who can see through your eyes.

Lyrics from his 1971 song "Imagine":

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try.
No hell below us, above us only sky.

Lyrics from his 1979 home demo "Serve Yourself":

You say you found Jesus Christ;
He's the only one.
You say you've found Buddha,
Sittin' in the sun.
You say you found Mohammed,
Facin' to the East.
You say you found Krishna,
Dancin' in the streets.
Well there's somethin' missing in this God Almighty stew,
And it's your mother,
You got to serve yourself,
Ain't nobody gonna do it for you.
You got to serve yourself,
Ain't nobody gonna do it for you.

It's still the same old story,
A bloody Holy War,
A fight for love and glory.
Ain't gonna study war no more.
A fight for God and country.
We're gonna set you free,
We'll put you back in the Stone Age,
If you won't be like me, get it?
You got to serve yourself,
Ain't nobody gonna do for you.
You got to serve yourself,
Ain't nobody gonna do for you
You tell me you found Jesus Christ,
Well that's great, and he's the only one.
You say you just found Buddha,
Sittin' on his ass, in the sun.
You say you found Mohammed,
Kneeling on a bloody carpet, facin' the East.
You say you found Krishna,
With a bald head, dancin' in the street. 
(Well, Christ, now you're being heard.)
Well, you may believe in Jesus, and you may believe in Marx,
And you may believe in Marks and Spencer's,
And you may believe in bloody Woolworths,
But there's something missing in this whole bloody stew.
And it's your mother; your poor, bloody, mother.
It's still the same old story.
A Holy, bloody, War, you know, with the Pope and all that stuff.
A fight for love and glory.
Ain't gonna study no more war.
A fight for God and country, and the Queen, and all that.
We're gonna set you free;
Bomb you back into the fuckin' Stone Age
If you won't be like me, you know, get down on your knees and pray.
Well there's somethin' missing in this God Almighty stew,
And it's your goddamn mother you dirty little git, now.
Get in there and wash yer ears!

In a 1965 Playboy interview:

Paul McCartney: "We probably seem antireligious because of the fact that none of us believe in God."

Lennon: "If you say you don't believe in God, everybody assumes you're antireligious, and you probably think that's what we mean by that.

In a 1966 Interview:

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock and roll or Christianity."

"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."

1969 interview by David Wigg:

I don't need to go to church. I respect churches because of the sacredness that's been put on them over the years by people who do believe. But I think a lot of bad things have happened in the name of the church and in the name of Christ. Therefore I shy away from church, and as Donovan once said, "I go to my own church in my own temple once a day." And I think people who need a church should go. And the others who know the church is in your own head should visit that temple because that's where the source is. We're all God.

1970 interview by Jann Wenner:

I was just talking about Christianity, in that - a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven. [...] - be tortured and then it'll be alright, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it. But I didn't believe in that, that you have to be tortured to attain anything, it just so happens that you were.

1971 interview by Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn:

Tariq Ali: Your latest record and your recent public statements, especially the interviews in Rolling Stone magazine, suggest that your views are becoming increasingly radical and political. When did this start to happen?

John Lennon: ... In my case I've never not been political, though religion tended to overshadow it in my acid days; that would be around '65 or '66. And that religion was directly the result of all that superstar shit--religion was an outlet for my repression. I thought, 'Well, there's something else to life, isn't there? This isn't it, surely?'

Later in the interview:

... At one time I was so much involved in the religious bullshit that I used to go around calling myself a Christian Communist, but as Janov says, religion is legalised madness. It was therapy that stripped away all that and made me feel my own pain.

... Well, his thing is to feel the pain that's accumulated inside you ever since your childhood. I had to do it to really kill off all the religious myths. In the therapy you really feel every painful moment of your life--it's excruciating, you are forced to realise that your pain, the kind that makes you wake up afraid with your heart pounding, is really yours and not the result of somebody up in the sky. It's the result of your parents and your environment.

As I realised this it all started to fall into place. This therapy forced me to have done with all the God shit. All of us growing up have come to terms with too much pain. Although we repress it, it's still there. The worst pain is that of not being wanted, of realising your parents do not need you in the way you need them.

... Most people channel their pain into God or masturbation or some dream of making it.

... It's a bit of a drag to say so, but I don't think you can understand this unless you've gone through it--though I try to put some of it over on the album. But for me at any rate it was all part of dissolving the God trip or father-figure trip. Facing up to reality instead of always looking for some kind of heaven.

The complete interview is available online at CounterPunch and is also included in Tariq Ali's book, "Streetfighting Years".

1980 interview by David Sheff of Playboy:

"But the whole religion business suffers from the 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' bit. There's too much talk about soldiers and marching and converting."

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