Kennedy, Huxley and Lewis…Nov 22,1963

Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words… (Proverbs 1:20-21)

I believe that God speaks to us in current events and in the workings of history , that is  if we have ears to hear. The challenge is to try to interpret just what it is that God is saying in the twists and turns of daily events.

Because of the assassination of President Kennedy, November 22, 1963 is a day in history that has gone down as one of those “I know exactly where I was and what I was doing and thinking ” days, like 9-11 is to this generation. Television transmitted the nightmare instantly to hundreds of millions , and cast a surreal shadow over America and the world.

But  the events of the day overshadowed the deaths of both CS Lewis and  Aldous Huxley. All three died within hours of each other. What is it that God’s Wisdom is crying out about in this strange confluence of events?

These three, Kennedy, Huxley and Lewis were the embodiment of different ideals of the times they lived in. Their influence helped shape their own and following generations.

Kennedy was a symbol of the post World War 2 America, he was a cold warrior, and an ardent anti-communist. His inauguration was the passing of he torch to the new generation and he represented American confidence. His rhetoric was brimming with hope, the future, and sacrifice for the better good. He was young, handsome, and appeared (by carefully crafted imagery) virile and healthy.

CS Lewis, was a British man of letters, an Oxford Don, and a veteran of the horrors of World War One . He had been an atheist until sometime after the war, when he was “Dragged kicking and screaming into faith”, as “the most reluctant convert ever”.

But he would by his regular BBC broadcasts through World War 2, lucidly and confidently give a  besieged and battered people a reason for the christian hope he had within him.

His lectures on air would eventually be published as books, such as Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce,  The Abolition of Man, and Surprised by Joy.These are considered classics of apologetics.

Lewis’s children’s novels  have also become classics, such as his Chronicles of Narnia series enjoyed by millions. The Christian subtext of Narnia and his Space Trilogy as well as the non fictions books Lewis wrote have convinced millions of the claims of the christian faith.

On that same November day ,Aldous Huxley died. Huxley also represents an aspect of his times. He was the grandson of the Zoologist,Thomas Huxley, friend and contemporary of Charles Darwin,  known as “Darwin’s bulldog”, for his famous debates over clergymen who objected to Darwin’s theories.

Aldous Huxley was a man of letters also, his most famous book being Brave New World, a novel about the future of society, in which the masses are controlled  by a technocratic elite, using pleasurable Pavlovian conditioning to manipulate them.

Huxley was also an acquaintance of British occultist Aleister Crowley who introduced him to the psychedelic drug peyote as far back as the 1930’s.

As a philosopher, Huxley became a vocal advocate for various new forms of  consciousness, including Vedanta Hinduism, and the use of psychedelic drugs.

In 1954 He published an influential study of consciousness altering drugs, which he called THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION,.(Jim Morrison named his rock band,THE DOORS having been influenced by Huxley’s ideas).Huxley was one of the leading philosophical proponents of the use of LSD in the fifties and sixties.

Each of these three were summoned to judgment on the same day in 1963. the christian apologist , the president of the world’s most powerful nation, and the atheistic advocate of hinduism and drug use.

Could it be that the Lord called them home on the same day to speak to a generation (baby Boomers) as a contrast ?  Could it be that each of them who impacted their generation and the one that followed so profoundly, were called to judgment, that we might consider our own paths?

Huxley represents the dismal end of what seemed so promising in the days of his grandfather Thomas. All society need do is dismiss the church and the Bible , and to follow Darwin, into a bright shiny future of (godless) enlightenment.

What would become of the BRAVE NEW (godless) WORLD , crafted by the west after listening to Darwin and Huxley’s grandfather ? Would the west find some new meaning now that science had finally supplanted the christian God?

Perhaps Huxley’s end was the answer to the question, for Huxley’s last request as he lay dying on November 22,  1963, was for two more doses of LSD!

Very little about Kennedy’s carefully crafted image proved to be true. Contrary to the image, Kennedy wasn’t healthy at all , in fact he took daily cocktails of  drugs  just to function without pain.

The “Camelot” Image of the wholesome young family man, in love with his beautiful wife, was only made possible because a fawning press covered over his penchant for adultery.

When it became politically untenable he cut ties with Frank Sinatra so as not to be (rightly) perceived as being too comfy with people connected to Mafioso.

The generation that came into adulthood would come to be disillusioned by ‘the crafted Image’ in general, after Kennedy’s death. Pessimism would replace the unbounded confidence in Government, and in America as a force for good.

Unfortunately Kennedy’s hidden sexual morality would come to be openly  embraced by a whole generation of young cynics, shortly after his death. But since most people aren’t ‘Kennedy’s’ the consequences of such actions cannot easily be swept under the rug.

Out of the “sexual revolution” that would soon sweep away ‘traditional’ American Judeo Christian virtues, would come the bitter harvests of illegitimacy, poverty, the breakdown of the family and society, that we see today.

How many of these disaffected young people, having long lost their faith through the “Scientific Atheism” of Thomas Huxley, or had tried to fill the vacuum in their lives by Aldous Huxley’s promotion of Drug use, or Eastern Mysticism, have picked up a copy of Mere Christianity at some point in their life, and found a reason again to believe in God, and in Jesus Christ His Son?

I wonder how many who had embraced the godless hedonism embodied by Kennedy, and instead of play acting as he did, just dropped all pretense and “Did their thing”, until it ruined them morally,spiritually and even physically?

But I know for a fact that time and again this has happened , that people like this have been given,  perhaps a copy of THE ABOLITION OF MAN, or MERE CHRISTIANITY By CS Lewis and they found the understanding they needed to find their way back to God and sanity .

I think God let these three die on the same day for us to consider these things. What kind of legacy would you want to leave?

This entry was posted in notable people good and bad, Wisdom Cries Out. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Kennedy, Huxley and Lewis…Nov 22,1963

  1. Sam Randles says:

    Excellent!

    I can’t help but love Kennedy as a war hero, an American President who injected a dose of much-needed confidence into the American psyche, a man who stood up to Kruschev and the Russians, etc. That said, there is no denying that he was a prolific womanizer and a man who lived most of his life without God…

    Profiles in Courage > Brave New World
    but
    Mere Christianity/Surprised by Joy/the Great Divorce etc > Profiles in Courage

  2. Maureeen Leigh says:

    Not having had much of an education ( I failed my 11 plus and left school at 15) I didn’t know Kennedy was a war hero. I did know about his womanising through various books and articles.
    When I first became a Christian I looked for abook to give to my family (who thought I had gone mad)
    I found “Mere Chrisitianity” and it was just the thing!
    Brave New World has never interested me, I can’t say why..
    C S Lewis’ books (Screwtape and co.) were helpful to me. I am thankful I read C S Lewis, I liked his points of view, he seemed a godly man.

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks for the comments Maureen. I don’t agree with everything of Lewis but he has had some amazing insights. “Mere Christianity” was originally his weekly radio programs during WW2 , on the BBC, so I have heard. God bless you-

  3. Maureeen Leigh says:

    Also after my salvation I read a lot of books by Billy Graham; my friend was saved at one of his tent meetings (an arena in London!)
    HIs work was thrilling. Imagine my utter dismay on hearing he had denied the Lord, saying one can be saved without even hearing about Jesus and His cross.
    I was devastated. Still don’t understand what happened to him.

  4. Laurie Veneklasen says:

    good article about 11/22/1963! Best I have seen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s