A Modern-Day Blasphemy

A modern-day accusation of blasphemy took place in 1966, when John Lennon stated in an interview, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I know 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 & roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me” (Jordan Runtagh, “When John Lennon’s ‘More Popular than Jesus’ Controversy Turned Ugly,” Rolling Stone, July 29, 2016, ​​https://www.rollingstone.com/feature/when-john-lennons-more-popular-than-jesus-controversy-turned-ugly-106430/). Though Lennon later attempted to walk back his statement, the charge of blasphemy lingered, and the damage was done. After enduring the controversy and even receiving death threats, the Beatles decided never to tour again. While the public outrage was perhaps an overreaction, the whole episode points to the real need for sensitivity in how we speak about faith, especially faiths we don’t keep.