God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain
I'll say it again
God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain

I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-Ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in yoga
I don't believe in kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
And that's reality

The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
Yesterday
I was the dream weaver
But now I'm reborn
I was the Walrus
But now I'm John
And so dear friends
You'll just have to carry on
The dream is over


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

God Lyrics as written by John Winston Lennon

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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God song meanings
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  • +9
    General Comment

    I'm not sure if this song is anti-faith, it seems like it literally but I think the song is really about self-reliance. The only thing that you can control is yourself, and I think John is saying that he's given up on everything else except himself, because that's all important to him.

    MrMojoRisin5552on May 06, 2002   Link
  • +8
    General Comment

    for the longest time i thought he didnt believe in cinnamon, and wondered why?? whats wrong with cinnamon, it tasts so good.. lol .. but now i know its zimmerman, aka bob dylan right?? and one more thing, this song is so friggn moving it makes my heart ache.

    cowyowon December 07, 2004   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    “God is a concept by which we measure our pain. I'll say it again: God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

    I don't believe in magic. I don't believe in I-Ching. I don't believe in Bible. I don't believe in tarot. I don't believe in Hitler. I don't believe in Jesus. I don't believe in Kennedy. I don't believe in Buddha. I don't believe in Mantra. I don't believe in Gita. I don't believe in Yoga. I don't believe in Kings. I don't believe in Elvis. I don't believe in Zimmerman. I don't believe in Beatles.

    I just believe in me. Yoko and me, and that's reality.

    The dream is over. What can I say? The dream is over — Yesterday. I was the dream weaver, but now I'm reborn. I was the Walrus, but now I'm John. And so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on. The dream is over.”

    John opens the song with the declaration that God is only an idea created by man, and the more pain we feel, the more we produce the legend of God for our own superficial comfort and hopes. A clever device devised by man to avoid the work of dealing with our internal personal psychological and emotional battles, which too often seems too painful to acknowledge.

    I don't believe in magic.
    I don't believe in I-Ching. I don't believe in Bible. I don't believe in tarot.

    Then Lennon emphasizes his non-belief in things associated with magic and superstition. Illusions that contribute to an already heavily disillusioned world.

    I don't believe in Hitler. I don't believe in Jesus. I don't believe in Kennedy. I don't believe in Buddha.

    John stresses the point that no human, especially political and/or spiritual leaders, can pave the way for others. Each person has got to realize their own inner truths through self awareness. John knew that praying for a savior is a waste of time and avoids the personal issues within that we each must look at and deal with if we expect individual peace and love, which could then blossom and flower worldwide. He had become “one” with himself, and thus had a more meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling relationship with his fans and Yoko.

    I don't believe in Mantra. I don't believe in Gita. I don't believe in Yoga.

    John continues with his disbelief's. Such things as chants, scriptures, and physical exercises, which are supposed to enlighten us, actually do not. Again, John understands the importance of inner reflection above all else.

    I don't believe in Kings. I don't believe in Elvis. I don't believe in Zimmerman. I don't believe in Beatles.

    Lennon returns to humans as his source and outlet for disapproval. At the very end of the “I don't believe” chants, John echoes the syllables, “Bea-tles” with clarity and might. John accents his disfavor of the Beatle myth. John felt that the Beatles were nothing more than a vehicle of illusion just as Christ, Hitler, the I-Ching, Elvis, and the rest of man's fanaticisms, which John no longer wished to be a part of or involved in.

    He acknowledges that too much power in a few hands (Kings) over the masses is rarely good, Elvis had lost himself trying to live up to the legend the populace had created of him with his over-indulgence of drugs, Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) was really nothing more than a poet - far from being worthy of leading people to inner peace, and the Beatles were guilty of creating the illusion 'We can save you,' just as the Bible, Christ, and all of the other names and practices he denounces in the song. At this time John despised the Beatles as a mere “magic act,” who gained in popularity, but didn't do much more good than the other cult heroes of ancient and modern times. John went from, “We are more popular than Jesus,” during his time with the Beatles, to “I don't believe in Jesus” or “Beatles” while with Yoko. John, at this time, had become one with himself, and was writing his songs truthfully. personally, and less commercially without care of public scrutiny.

    I just believe in me. Yoko and me, and that's reality.

    John again alerts us to his awakening. He sees that putting faith in others for one's own salvation is an invalid approach to intrinsic treatment. Only we know what we are up to when we check our ulterior motives. No President, priest, performer, or card-reader can sort out our hallucinations and misconceptions for us. We must honestly and willingly seek our own salvation through internal observation and actions. This is the reality!

    The dream is over. What can I say? The dream is over — Yesterday.

    I think these two lines are amazing! John states how the “dream” he, Paul, George, and Ringo had created was finally behind him, and now he was going to reveal a more self-reliant Lennon to the world in the hopes to rid himself of the burden of “savior” once and for all. Also, the word “Yesterday” was a song Paul had written with the Beatles, which John did not think much of, and here he uses it the way he feels it fits best. John didn't believe in the notion of yesterday the way Paul did. John didn't like the idea of wishing for or living in the past, so for him yesterday was as good as gone - just as the Beatles were gone. “Today” was always a natural new beginning to John.

    I was the dream weaver, but now I'm reborn. I was the Walrus, but now I'm John.

    John feels a sense of guilt that he added to the illusions of the world — a world so bent on looking to “Redeemers” for their own personal guidance. “I was the dream weaver, but now I'm reborn,” defines a critical time in John's life. He can now concentrate on being a creative songwriter and activist, as opposed to wasting his remaining years being a guru to a Beatle cult audience who interpreted every Beatle word literally, much like the Bible and Gita. His songwriting had matured away from the whimsical style of the fab four.

    And so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on. The dream is over.

    John let's us know it is time for all of us “to carry on “ with our lives, and to stop looking up to the Beatles, Christ, Buddha, Kennedy and others for guidance. Lennon's message is uncomplicated. LOOK WITHIN — NOT OUTWARD! ...The dream is over folks!

    Kenny5271957on May 11, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    I think self-reliance is just a second meaning to the song, the first being the obvious literal translation of the song as Mojo pointed out. Great song! To me, he's saying, I don't believe in faith, I believe in what's real. I believe in what's happening here and now, and everyone may not like it, but it's the truth and they will just have to "carry on."

    dollersparkon August 02, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Forget about the meaning for a second and look at the structure of the song. So very interesting and it makes the listener want to hear more. It is very experimental and unique todays musicans sould take a listen and maby they'll realize how one dimentional their songs are

    meaningmanon October 06, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    I think this is John Lennon saying that at that point in his life nothing else matters or is important to him other than his happiness with his wife. The long list are just examples of things and people that have in some way influenced great masses of people in the past and are of no importance to him. The last line expressing his non-belief in 'Beatles' is what leads him to say that 'the dream is over - what can i say - the dream is over - yesterday. Though he is well beyond the Beatles at this time he realises that they are still important to a great many people. He is basically apologising for not being John the Beatle anymore, that he still regards them all as friends though they will have to carry on. The dream (being the Beatles) is over . .

    jessyjackon October 24, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    How do you not believe in Zimmerman?

    Idreambluepeachon July 23, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Alot of good ideas about this.. but I think not enough about the context of this song...

    Lennon achived what few other people can possibly claim to.. a level of success that is so high you can never achive again. The beatles had just offical broke up.. the album was released no more than a year after they already knew it was happening.

    This is probably best described as breaking up from a mariage in the emotion pain and hard to underscribe professional pain as "The Beatles" a sureal ride was over.. you are left falling.. what in life matters now?

    He talks about alot of topic and they are a great checklist for what he tries to grab onto as he is falling. The fact he ends the verses of being lost with "I dont belive in beatles!" I think shows the prime motivation. He cant belive in them, they are gone.. what left is there?

    "I just belive in Me, in Yoko and me".

    Thats all thats left that is real and he can hold onto. Of course this is melodramatic. The best music is about the moment, not a well balanced lookat your life.

    Anyhow, for me I always find great power in this song.. even though its never evoked the same peak of emotion as some songs. it has a lasting quality that I find addictive. If I think about the beatles or listen to them for a while.. I always want to listen to this song. I suppose for me it is the very Lennon like bitter taste to all that might be seen as "good".

    Rest in peace John.. you might have been an arsehole at times.. but at least you were a constructive one :)

    danielg001on August 16, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    What John is saying is that God and all those other people like Hitler, Jesus, Buddha, Kennedy, are just concepts that are based largely in our minds. In reality they were just people, and all too often we hide behind the fabrications of these people and what they represent to justify our actions. When in reality, if God is anything he is love. And the only ones capable of bestowing love are us. You and me. So what John is saying is, believe in the reality of yourself, not the false reality of others.

    degree7on July 16, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I agree with a lot of what you guys say. I also think that, underneath all the religious metaphors and whatnot, John was just trying to tell the world, "Hey guys, the Beatles are not coming back. They're done, forget them."

    wolfplaya07on May 21, 2004   Link

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