Thank you for being a valued part of the CNET community. As of December 1, 2020, the forums are in read-only format. In early 2021, CNET Forums will no longer be available. We are grateful for the participation and advice you have provided to one another over the years.


CNET Support

General discussion

Remembering John Lennon

Dec 7, 2007 10:20PM PST

Hard to believe it's been 27 years but it has. I'm in NYC this week visiting my Mom and will stop by the Dakota later today to pay my respects.

Rest in peace, John. You remain in my heart now and forever.

Discussion is locked

- Collapse -
Ah yes ...
Dec 8, 2007 9:10AM PST

John Lennon, that humble soul who proclaimed at the height of Beatles? fame in the 60s, "Christianity will go. We?re more popular than Jesus now."

Better to forget Lennon and others of similar ilk.

- Collapse -
i believe the quote was closer to
Dec 8, 2007 2:56PM PST

"more people have heard of the beatles (today) than jesus (in his time)"


- Collapse -
(NT) Of course it was...
Dec 8, 2007 3:04PM PST
- Collapse -
The quote...
Dec 8, 2007 9:42PM PST

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.... I don't know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. We're more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

You know, he was a good songwriter and part of a pop phenomenon, that's it. Politically he was an idiot and by all accounts as a person he was a miserable jerk.

I like his songs, but there's no reason to revere him.

- Collapse -
The quote, IN CONTEXT....
Dec 8, 2007 10:14PM PST

...was in reference to the decline in interest in religion among British teenagers at that time. The statement was also factually correct within that context. It was the American media that turned it into a circus, complete with record burnings.

- Collapse -
It was a pretty dumb and arrogant statement.
Dec 8, 2007 10:51PM PST

Lennon was, after all, trying to sell his product. Intelligent marketing does not gratuitously attack cultural or religious icons. It's called a lose-lose strategy.

He was, of course, also wrong. Jesus will be revered and worshiped long after the Beatles fade into historical oblivion. I wonder if, even today, there are many kids who even know who they were.

- Collapse -
It was an offhand remark...
Dec 8, 2007 11:23PM PST

at the time (as a teenage Beatles fan) I thought way too much was being made of it, and I still think that today. He was a pop star; an entertainer, not a philosopher or leader. He was not that deep a thinker IMHO.

If Lennon were alive today he would probably be laughing at those who deify him.

Same thing is happening nowadays with Oprah's political musings. I can't believe people are taking her so seriously.

- Collapse -
ain't that the truth!
Dec 8, 2007 11:42PM PST

The British public took the comment as what is was: An opinion voiced by an artist known as much for his hummingbird mind as for his considerable talent. In July, however, an American teen magazine called Datebook quoted the infamous Jesus statement without reprinting the original article. It appeared as part of a cover story called "The Ten Adults You Dig/Hate the Most."

The American reaction was instantaneous. Radio stations across the country, but especially in the South and in the Midwest, stopped playing Beatles records. Death threats began pouring in, directed against not only John, but the other Beatles as well. Bonfires appeared, with Beatles pictures and albums providing the fuel. Maureen Cleave tried to explain that "John was certainly not comparing the Beatles with Christ. He was simply observing that so weak was the state of Christianity that the Beatles were, to many people, better known. He was deploring, rather than approving, this," but to no avail.


- Collapse -
Even then, PR people knew how to try to spin a stupid
Dec 9, 2007 4:49AM PST

or ill considered comment to try to alter the meaning of what was said. Some people actually believe the spin.

- Collapse -
John (reluctantly) held a press conference to explain
Dec 8, 2007 11:53PM PST

In it he commented that if he had said television was more popular than Jesus, there would likely not have been any fuss about it. He felt that it was because he used the Beatles as the point of reference that it got misinterpreted.

- Collapse -
(NT) Yep, he was a Sean Penn ...
Dec 9, 2007 1:08AM PST
- Collapse -
It may well have been an offhand remark. It was still
Dec 9, 2007 4:44AM PST

pretty dumb and arrogant. Offhand remarks are a remarkable way to glimpse a person's soul, and the view was not very flattering.

- Collapse -
Dec 9, 2007 5:09AM PST

What's wrong with being arrogant?

- Collapse -
Sure Josh, sure it was ...
Dec 9, 2007 1:07AM PST

The quote and the FULL CONTEXT in which it was used can be read here:

Lennon's response(s) and the usual appologists denial and spin can all be located here:

Exactly NONE of it refutes the statement not the context in which it was used.

Reid has been quoted as saying we have lost in Iraq despite all evidence to the contrary and his most ardent wishes. He has been reading the MSM about Iraq (as lennon was said to be about religion) so does that somehow change the context of Reid's equally vapid and blasphemous utterings? Not just no, Jopsh but HE__ (double toothpicks) NO!

- Collapse -
(NT) {yawn}
Dec 9, 2007 5:49AM PST
- Collapse -
That;s correct, Josh.
Dec 9, 2007 1:42AM PST

He was speaking to a journalist friend in England, and was referring to the British teens.

BTW, the Catholic Church accepted his apology,

We were big fans, and enjoyed them with our children. (The kids had Beatles wigs, cards, and guitars.)

When that story broke, our reaction was that it was true. We discussed it with our children, as well, in the context in which it was said.

I think I once told you that my husband met him at a booksellers event. He signed a copy of "In His Own Write" to our daughter. My husband described him as soft-spoken and friendly.

Josh, there are/were other entertainers, artists, writers, etc. that I especially enjoyed. Some had "feet of clay". But that does not detract from their work and the pleasure it gave me.

I'm sorry this was even brought up as it serves no useful purpose except to put down a person you and others admire.

Speakeasy Moderator

- Collapse -
Dec 9, 2007 1:52AM PST

he said LATER that he was referring to British teens. Nothig in the original statement indicates that.

But really, who cares?

- Collapse -
A current equivalent......
Dec 9, 2007 5:55AM PST

....might be to say that Britney Spears is more popular than Jesus within certain demographics. Making the observation and believing it to be a good thing are not the same.

John was NOT suggesting that the Beatles deserved to be more popular than Jesus, which is why he later said that had he used television as his point of reference, it would not have caused such a ruckus.

I was fortunate enough to meet him once as well, and saw him and Yoko around the neighborhood several times. We lived around a mile apart.

I'm also sorry this subthread was started at all.

- Collapse -
I'm sorry Josh...
Dec 9, 2007 11:25AM PST

"I'm also sorry this subthread was started at all."

I was probably the one to start it with my deleted post to Edward. I just couldn't keep my peace when I read it...


- Collapse -
Dec 8, 2007 10:45PM PST

Ed's reporting of the quote was verbatim, as was mine. Lennon was not saying anything about how well Jesus was known in his own time.

- Collapse -
I believe that you should CHECK before ...
Dec 9, 2007 12:57AM PST

making incorrect statements.

I do apologize for omitting the elipsis (but the omission in no way changed the content) but the full quote was:

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right, and I will be proved right. We are more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first -- rock'n'roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." - -- John Lennon to British reporter Maureen Cleave for the London Evening Standard, March 4 1966

No more "Deals"?

- Collapse -
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.
Dec 9, 2007 1:03AM PST

Did he say when?

- Collapse -
why should i check?
Dec 9, 2007 1:55AM PST

you do it for me, thanks....

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right, and I will be proved right. We are more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first -- rock'n'roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

We are more popular than Jesus now; isn't that what i said?.....

isn't that what Lennon said? wasn't he making a point about the immense WORLD WIDE popularity of the beatles?


- Collapse -
Yes, that's what you said. No, he didn't say what you said.
Dec 9, 2007 4:55AM PST

The full quotation makes that clear. He was not referring only to his contemporary scene.

BTW, history has now shown just how wrong he was.

- Collapse -
Dec 9, 2007 12:11PM PST

if i said what he said, and you say that i said it then how come i didn't say what i said he said......Wink

like it or not, more people (30 years ago) knew of the beatles than the number of people who knew of jesus when he was alive, and like it even less maybe, but that was the point of lennons remark...


- Collapse -
That may be true except for one minor point,
Dec 10, 2007 9:06AM PST


In spite of the attempt to spin the quotation, we do actually have the quotation in all its glory. I know you would like to rewrite the quotation, but that simply will not work.

- Collapse -
I was there today. Beatiful as usual!
Dec 8, 2007 12:18PM PST

He IS a man to remember Josh. Thanks for posting about it!

- Collapse -
I think you mean he was a man to remember.
Dec 8, 2007 12:51PM PST

Unless there is a God, the man he was no longer is.

- Collapse -
Dec 8, 2007 3:03PM PST

to me he IS a man to remember. His music and his artistic work still live!


- Collapse -
Few people have heard this I think...
Dec 8, 2007 3:06PM PST