On this day in 1966, John Lennon made a controversial statement in an interview with London's Evening Standard newspaper, where he stated:
"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink...We're more popular than Jesus now."
The quote sparked immediate backlash from the public, particularly in the United States, where many radio stations boycotted the Beatles and burned their records in protest. Even the KKK picketed (although we doubt that John Lennon would have been compelled by this particular group’s demonstration).
Lennon later apologised for the statement, explaining that he was not trying to diminish the importance of religion, but was instead commenting on the decline of Christianity's influence on youth culture.
Despite the controversy, the quote has become a well-known part of Beatles history and serves as a reminder of the power and influence of popular culture on society. But how does John Lennon’s remark hold up 52 years later?
According to the Guardian, census records from 2011 and 2021 show that Christianity is declining in the UK: a decline of 13.1% in 10 years, to be exact. Despite this, it’s safe to say that religion isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with catholic core becoming a staple of the TikTok trend cycle, it’s impossible to guess what’s in store for the future of organised religion.
John Lennon’s imagined utopia of a world with no religion remains just a line in a song—at least for now.
Cover image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com
Released on September 26, 1969, Abbey Road showcased The Beatles at the zenith of their creative powers. From the iconic cover art depicting the Fab Four striding across the zebra crossing, to the last harmonious notes of ‘The End’, the album exudes innovation and brilliance. Over half a century later, Abbey Road remains a timeless classic.