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Doubt About The Song God
30 May 2012
5.24pm
darksoda
A Beginning
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Hey people i have some doubt about the famouse phrase of john lennon ´´God is a concept which we use to measure our pain´´ second him said he is argument that people think more in god in their moments of pain. someone agree??? someone have other opinion???

 

just to be clear not a religious fight if is possible i just want opinions of the meaning.

30 May 2012
8.28pm
Ben Ramon
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I've often wondered what John meant by this. I reckon he was saying that people in times of suffering people often refer to what has happened or is happening in the lives of people they admire or want to model themselves on; which is why people may listen to sad or melodramatic music at these times, or subconsciously compare it to a scene from a film; detach themselves from their own reality in order to make more sense of what is happening. Hence his stressing that God is a "concept", not a person, and therefore it is improper to "measure our pain" in this way. The breaking up of the Beatles is the same; people grew up with them and admired them to a deity-like extent, but all they were essentially was a "concept", four people joined together to create something bigger than the sum of its parts, and now those four people have gone their separate ways the concept has disappeared and it is a fool's errand to grieve its disappearance.

Sorry if this came out very garbled and poorly written, I'm extremely tired but thought I'd throw in my two cents.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
30 May 2012
9.09pm
darksoda
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thanks for answer, i always think measure pain is something strange, but any way i agree john retrats god like a concept or some idea not a fisic person.

30 May 2012
10.49pm
mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
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Trying to get into Lennon's mind and what he meant is a fool's game – must be why I'm trying!

Those who believe tend to pray more at a time of pain, and typically they sense God's involvement most at those times. Seeing as how those who've had such pain believe more, it's fair to say what Lennon did say.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
19 June 2012
7.02am
Old Siam Sir
The Jacaranda
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I read a biography on Paul. When his mother died he prayed to God and asked where he was. People do tend to pray more when they are hurt or need something (I think they miss the point, it's like only telling your spouse you love 'em after sex). They also tend to blame God when things go wrong and there's no one else to blame. I think it's funny when even atheists curse the Lord when shit goes south. You can't curse him if you don't believe in him. I think John was trying to say that God was only a concept that we use to measure our pain. Paul prayed again when Linda died asking God where he was. He said he heard an answer "I'm here, in every song you write). The music was God's way of healing the pain Paul felt from the losses. He was able to divert his grief into something positive and divert his thoughts to something creative. Sounds like Paul had a better grasp on that concept.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-All Good Children go to Heaven
19 June 2012
5.00pm
The Walrus
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I remember reading some person recall explaining to John that religion was most common in the most deprived societies, as if worshiping was a way of coping with life. John came out with "oh, so God is a concept by which we measure our pain".

Assuming that's true (at the very least I imagine that the speaker slightly adapted John's reply to fit exactly with the "God" lyric), then we have our inspiration, unless John was formulating that line for a while looking for the opportunity to express it.

Whilst there may be correlation from comparisons of whole societies, I doubt that pain causes religious belief, just from personal observation. The most religious people I know come from affluent middle class homes and seem to have the most stable home lives. Pain seems to create cynics.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
19 June 2012
11.06pm
mithveaen
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From my Catholic point of view, that line is related to "if you have pain in your life, that's because Jesus loves you". Catholic church teaches you that if you suffer for your religion, if you have pain in your life, it's because God is purifying you.

 

I remember this because my Mom taught me that the way some interpret this concept is bullshit. When she was young, (in the 40s) she had a neighbor whose husband beated her to death, and one day when my Mom got sick of that, she went to the house and told the guy to stop. The woman told my Mom "This is the husband God sent me, so please go away".

 

It seems when the abused woman went for an advice to the priest, and the man told the woman that she had to take all the crap her husband was giving her because a. They were married by Catholic church so they had to be together til death, and b. because that was the man God chose for her, so she had to take the pain. 

 

So, in my opinion, the line is like : the more you "embrace" your pain (even if you can improve your situation), the more you will love God.

 

Now, I'm talking about pain you can avoid if you want. If the woman didn't believe that, she would have stopped her pain with a divorce. But if we're talking about the loss of a relative, or a terrible illness, then believing in God might help you a lot to overcome it.

 

Mhhh now I understand why I am so rebellious when it comes to Catholic church….. I got that from my Mom…. a-hard-days-night-paul-10a-hard-days-night-paul-10

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
19 June 2012
11.32pm
meanmistermustard
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Which John wrote in the song Girl, Mith.

 

"Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure?

Did she understand it when they said;

That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure?

Will she still believe it when he's dead?"

 

Personally i think John was talking about how folks call out to God when things go wrong, either in need or in blame, whether they have a real believe in God (whatever their image of God is) or not. This idea or concept can also applied to the pain and suffering in the world, "if God exists why is there pain and suffering?" which is how many people deal with the God question.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
20 June 2012
12.23am
kedame
Miles above you
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I sort of see it as John saying God (or religion in any sense) is a crutch for those in pain. You need some reason to believe everything will be alright, and religion offers that. The more in pain you are, the more likely you will be to turn to a "higher power."

I guess.

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
20 June 2012
12.57am
meanmistermustard
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Should add that personally i think John was saying the amount of pain, darkness etc depends on whether or not folks go to God or not; God only exists at certain times in a persons life, dependant on circumstance.

When I find myself in times of trouble

Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And in my hour of darkness

She is standing right in front of me.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Paul words but still relevant in part i think.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
20 June 2012
1.05am
mithveaen
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Interesting interpretation of the words of Girl Meanmrmustard.  I always thought it was about a girl who was taught that the men would have to give her everything because she deserves it so, that's why she could hurt men without remorse.

 

I know a couple of girls like that. But your interpretation is quite interesting. a-hard-days-night-george-4a-hard-days-night-george-4

 

Edit : Kedame, your opinion is also interesting. The other way to see religion and pain.

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
20 June 2012
1.32am
mr. Sun king coming together
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kedame said

I sort of see it as John saying God (or religion in any sense) is a crutch for those in pain. You need some reason to believe everything will be alright, and religion offers that. The more in pain you are, the more likely you will be to turn to a "higher power."

I guess.

(Trying quoting from my iPod. Hope it works.)
Kedame, that's what I was trying to say, but of course, you say it more elequantly then I did. Welcome back, by the way!

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
20 June 2012
3.06am
meanmistermustard
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mithveaen said
Interesting interpretation of the words of Girl Meanmrmustard.  I always thought it was about a girl who was taught that the men would have to give her everything because she deserves it so, that's why she could hurt men without remorse.

I know a couple of girls like that. But your interpretation is quite interesting. a-hard-days-night-george-4a-hard-days-night-george-4

Edit : Kedame, your opinion is also interesting. The other way to see religion and pain.

 

I dont use wiki as a creditable source more a handy place for beatle info found in books etc. Anyway it has this about Girl which saves me looking thru books and writing anything.

 

According to McCartney, he contributed the lines "Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure" and "That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure." However, in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon claimed that he came up with these lines as a comment on Christianity which he was "opposed to at the time". He explained: "I was just talking about Christianity in that – a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven. [...] – be tortured and then it'll be alright, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it. But I didn't believe in that, that you have to be tortured to attain anything, it just so happens that you were."

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
20 June 2012
5.47am
kedame
Miles above you
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mr. Sun king coming together said

kedame said

I sort of see it as John saying God (or religion in any sense) is a crutch for those in pain. You need some reason to believe everything will be alright, and religion offers that. The more in pain you are, the more likely you will be to turn to a "higher power."

I guess.

(Trying quoting from my iPod. Hope it works.)
Kedame, that's what I was trying to say, but of course, you say it more elequantly then I did. Welcome back, by the way!

Thanks, SunKing! You know, we often do agree on things! I've been away for awhile, I know. Been caught up in tumblr land, and I've had quite a few personal developments. I'm moving to Mobile in a month for medical school. I'll be using the Beatles fandom as a crutch for the first few weeks I'm alone before school starts so I'm not so lonely!

"You can manicure a cat but can you caticure a man?" John Lennon- Skywriting by Word of Mouth
18 July 2012
9.21pm
Dipsy
Turned left at Greenland
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kedame said
I sort of see it as John saying God (or religion in any sense) is a crutch for those in pain. You need some reason to believe everything will be alright, and religion offers that. The more in pain you are, the more likely you will be to turn to a "higher power."

I guess.

This is exactly what I think he meant. While some people turn to drugs or alcohol in a time of pain, others turn to God. Of course, at the time this song was written, John hadn't yet figured out the whole religion thing for himself; in fact, I'm not so sure he ever did. I think he may have been expressing his frustration with worshipers in a single line: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain". I think there was an underlying message to people of faith implying that they were no more righteous than the drug addicts or alcoholics they seemed so quick to judge. Because in the end, they were doing the same thing: using God as a sort of escape from reality. In Christianity it's all about the future rather than of the here-and-now (which was summed up beautifully by meanmistermustard's connection to "Girl"), so John's idea was that God was nothing more than the pain we experience now. Just like an alcoholic will go harder on the whiskey in a time of pain, believers will pray and/or go to church more often in a time of need. That being said, I can also see this song as being one of John's "stick-it-to-'em" songs, saying that you're not necessarily a "Christian" if you only turn to God in times of pain or need. The idea that you only WANT God when you NEED Him. So, do people really want God? Or do they want the comfort that the CONCEPT of God brings?

 

*Disclaimer: I was in no way trying to knock religion or God as a being: I was trying to see the song through John's eyes (who, as we know, is a known anti-establishment type of guy haha). So, I really hope this post didn't offend anyone. That was not my intention at all. So, have an apology apple just in case! a-hard-days-night-george-10 apple01*

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
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