Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and the Apostle Paul’s wicked generation

It’s the 29th day of counting the omer. Each day I post a little something to help me count. Previously I wrote a critique of the “god of the gaps” atheist philosophy. Today, a short word about humanism and the worship of self.

Paul wrote a letter to Rome some 1,950 years ago, and that letter is as prescient as ever. It accurately describes what happens when humanity turns away from God:

God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against humanity’s ungodliness and unrighteousness. In unrighteousness they suppress the truth, because what can be known about God is plain to them—for God has shown it to  them… Claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image in the form of mortal man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.

Romans 1

What happens when humans turn away from God? They worship people and nature. We often read this as old world idol worship, but in some ways it’s still here today. The secular West worships man, worships self, worships nature.

When Bob Dylan turned to God in the 1970s, he wrote “Serve Somebody”:

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Dylan’s poignant lyrics of serving somebody – either God or the devil – stirred up a hornet’s nest of opposition. The humanistic John Lennon, himself fully disconnected from God, responded in song with “Serve Yourself”

You say you found Jesus Christ;
He's the only one.

Well there's somethin' missing in this God Almighty stew,
And it's your mother, (your mother, don't forget your mother, lad.)
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.

Lennon’s self-centered narcissism shouldn’t come as a surprise to students of the Bible. The generation that turns away from God will still worship something. It may be idols and false gods, sure, but here in the West, it’s worship of humans, worship of self.

Our political atmosphere is fraught with battles of self-worship:

  • Self-morality: Whether something is right or wrong is now defined by self: if it feels good to me, it’s OK. This translates into real policies like the holocaust of unborn children that is abortion. “My body, my rules.” It places self over morals and ethics.
  • Self-identity: We ignore biology and let people identify as anything they want. If you’re biologically and physiologically a man, you can nonetheless identify as a woman and everyone must agree with you or be called a bigot. This places self over biology.
  • Self-feelings: It it feels good, do it. #lovewins and who am I to judge, amirite? This gives way to policies that place the feelings of self above the good of civilization. Gay marriage doesn’t produce children. No children, no families. No families, no civilization. This feelings-based morality produces the moral cowardice we see in the university today, with its safe spaces, ideological uniformity, leftist monoculture, and opposition to free speech.
  • Self-service: Europe, and increasingly the United States, is moving towards a socialist civilization model, in which other people (by their taxes) provide for all your needs. College, abortions, healthcare, housing. These government entitlements create people who feel entitled (surprise) to what others have. It undermines “You shall not covet”, and perhaps more pressingly, it breaks the golden rule that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Instead of loving and serving our neighbor, we’re increasingly serving ourselves.

Worship of self is increasingly ubiquitous.

This generation also worships celebrities: They’re the modern equivalent of the Greek pantheon. Our magazines, newspapers, TV shows, news, music, entertainment, and grocery store aisles are lined with the latest rumors and gossip and insider stories about them. And it’s not just secular Hollywood: millions in the West follow, learn from, and support cult-of-personality televangelists.

Lennon’s narcissistic “Serve Yourself” was prophetic. The divine warning found in Paul’s letter remains ever prescient.

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Husband, dad, disciple of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, technologist. Author of Chavah Messianic Radio, MessianicChords, and EtzMitzvot. @judahgabriel


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