Forty years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, only half of Americans are alive to remember it, and many Americans are looking away from the Kennedy's Camelot to the fairytales of another man who died that day: Clive Staples Lewis.

C.S. Lewis's death was overlooked on that November 22 in 1963, but historian Mark Summers of the University of Kentucky argues that today Lewis is more relevant to those who cannot answer the question "where were you when JFK was shot?" "In terms of how he's affected the kids of my generation and the rest, I have a feeling that C.S. Lewis may have affected them more than John Kennedy." Summers told The Louisville Courier-Journal.

The attacks on September 11 have provided a new point of reference, but Joe Loconte argues that C. S. Lewis continues to teach us about faith at a time when "sane thinking about religion" is especially needed. Lewis's late conversion to Christianity allowed him to see clearly when the faithful saw only cliché, Loconte says.

A British soldier in World War I, Lewis came of age during the rise of communism and fascism. Along with his generation, Lewis saw evil as a potent force, which he confronted in his books of apologetics and fairytale.

In Saturday's New York Times, Loconte writes, "In a harrowing scene from his science fiction novel Perelandra, the protagonist, Prof. Elwin Ransom, battles a mad scientist horribly disfigured by his lust for power. Lewis writes: "What was before him appeared no longer a creature of corrupted will. It was corruption itself to which will was attached only as an instrument." It was the tragedy of human nature to have the free will to choose, and to choose evil. Loconte says, "While Oxford agnostics howled, Lewis gave BBC talks ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.