Friday, November 22, 2013
Lewis Remembered. Kennedy, Not So Much.
Today, most of the media attention is going to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But Kennedy was not the only famous person to die on November 22, 1963. Renowned Christian apologist C.S. Lewis also died on that day.
I predict that in the long run, C.S. Lewis will be remembered by far more people than President Kennedy. C.S. Lewis's accomplishments were far more consequential than Kennedy's.
The reason that Kennedy gets so much more attention is due to the violent, tragic nature of his death. Those old enough to remember have had their memory of Kennedy's murder seared by this shocking, evil event. However, dispassionate historians have to admit that Kennedy's achievements as president are hardly as consequential as many of his contemporary presidential peers. He was timid in his legislative agenda, afraid to offend his southern base by strongly supporting civil rights. His actions during the Bay of Pigs fiasco contributed to it's failure. Kennedy increased American involvement in Vietnam, leaving Johnson feeling no choice but to continue on with what Kennedy started. He can be praised for the handling of the Cuban missile crisis, but many historians believed his botched foreign relations with the Soviets earlier in his presidency caused it in the first place. His name is on a best selling book, Profiles of Courage, but it was ghost written by his speechwriter, Ted Sorenson. His reckless serial adultery, often engaged in by abandoning his Secret Service protection, and in at least one case involving Mafia figures, was a huge character flaw.
Given enough time, Kennedy will become the 20th Century's James Garfield, a 19th Century president who was also killed early in his presidency before he had time to do anything of consequence.
In comparison, C.S. Lewis is a beloved author whose books remain popular with millions of readers and have reached classic status. His Chronicles of Narnia books are being read by the great grandchildren of his original audience. His many books of Christian apology from The Screw Tape Letters to Surprised by Joy to Mere Christianity will be read for generations. All who read Lewis cannot help but feeling their lives have been made richer and more meaningful.
Lewis is an icon who is troubling to the secular intelligentsia because, by training, he should be one of them -- an atheist who is governed by reason and logic. How could a brilliant man use reason and logic to abandon atheism and embrace the Christian faith? If he made such a radical change, should they also consider following his example? For most secularists, that is the last thing they want to do; they prefer to wallow in their atheistic superiority.
I've blogged before about C.S. Lewis, you can read about it at Ayn Rand vs. C. S. Lewis.
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