Great Men vs. Good Men
“Great men are almost always bad men” – Lord Acton
What do we mean when we refer to someone as a “great man?” Theoretically, we mean a man who accomplished great feats, but in actuality the term is almost always used to refer exclusively to men of the State, such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, or Abraham Lincoln. By contrast, when we say someone is “good man,” we mean that he is someone with integrity, a person who displays kindness and who follows an objective moral code. People assume great men have a wider influence simply because their names are prominently featured in the pages of history, but this is actually a serious miscalculation. I will illustrate this point with two examples, the first one being a mere reflection of the Great Example.
On November 22, 1963, the unthinkable happened: the President of the United States was assassinated. The news, of course, shocked the country and the world, throwing Americans into a state of confusion and despair. However, something else significant happened that day, something that was largely ignored by the press and almost entirely unnoticed by the population: the death of the great Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis. Lewis, after his conversion in 1931, spent his life defending and explaining Christianity using philosophy, theology, and Scripture. He was a brilliant philosopher and rhetorician, with an uncanny ability to explain dense topics in a remarkably clear way. JFK and Lewis had very different views on almost everything, in
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