Carl Eric Scott, "Carl’s Rock Songbook, No. 106, John Lennon, 'Imagine No Religion'" (National Review, May 21, 2015), offers a read, as one correspondent suggests, that is "long, hard to read, and perhaps brilliant." Really. This is a pretty amazing tour-de-force for an online article. In it you learn about John Lennon's brief flirtation with Christianity, his re-immersion into the occult with Yoko Ono, and a whole lot more, all the while accompanied by the thoughtful musings of the author. Like this:
Such a thesis would still predict the more intellectual types abandoning religion as the world modernizes, but would also predict that the less educated masses remain “religious,” by serially entertaining diverse spiritual teachings, as in the days of the pre-Christian Roman Empire. This eclecticism could show up on surveys as a wide belief in “religion,” but this would be misleading if thought about in the old way. For the heretical religiosity of the many would join the secularism of the elite upon precisely one point: defensive opposition to the truth-claims of orthodox Biblical religion, and to the slightest hints of government, corporate, or associational respect being given them. Additionally, this adjusted thesis would regard it as perfectly predictable that the “Great Disruptions” of the 60s and their aftermath, and particularly in the area of sexual relations, would provoke a counter-reactive revival of traditional Judeo-Christian faith for a generation or so. However, the newer generations of those who lost connection with orthodox religion would find ways to live without it, and, to more practically live with the new personal freedom. The latter pattern would be in marked contrast to the wild experiments undertaken by the original revolutionary generation. So in the aggregate sense, the population would return to the overall modern trajectory of decreasing belief in Biblical religion after the 80s/90s plateau, or apparent reversal. It was also predictable that the new personal freedom would license and encourage a greater exploration of religions and religious practices that had never been collectively authoritative—either by law or by common opinion–in America and Europe. The champions of my posited adjusted secularization thesis would admit that the new personal freedom has lead to a lot of “bad religion” of the individualistic and crudely-thinking sort that Douthat describes, but would claim that much of this is pretty harmless and unserious.