Today, November 22, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Much reflection is taking place throughout our country to commemorate the life of a man whose life was cut short by an assassin’s bullets.
Some say that events take place in ‘threes.’ Did you know that two other famous men also died on Nov. 22, 1963? Yes, English authors Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis also died on that date. Of the three men, JFK is the most well-known by far. But I believe C.S. Lewis has impacted more people for good than the others.
Let me make a quick note about Aldous Huxley.He is most famous for the 1931 novel Brave New World, a provocative, futuristic tome that thankfully has not come true. Huxley dabbled in spiritualism and mind altering drugs, but at his death considered himself an agnostic.
Kennedy is, of course, far more famous than C.S. Lewis or Huxley. However, I think Lewis was a more transformative figure than JFK. Kennedy’s 35 month presidency was marred by controversy, from the Bay of Pigs fiasco to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the escalation of the Vietnam War. He is rightfully commended for his commitment to civil rights, expansion of the space program, and economic programs such as tax rate cuts. Kennedy cultivated a glamorous image, and he, along with his enchanting wife Jacqueline engendered a presidency sometimes called ‘Camelot.’ But Kennedy’s personal life was a mess, and he engaged in multiple extramarital affairs.
Lewis, on the other hand, was a scholar of exceeding reputation. Born in Ireland, he became an atheist at age fifteen. A life-long learner, he earned a professorship at Britain’s Oxford University at the age of 24. At the age of 32, and influenced by friends such as J.R.R. Tolkien, he converted to Christianity. What a Christian he became! As an intellectual, his writings influenced many others to accept the rational arguments regarding the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. He gave permission for highbrow seekers to accept the truth of the Gospel.But he was not just a great apologist; he wrote the Narnia series, the Space Trilogy and the Screwtape Letters which have continued to bring the power of Christ to people of all ages