From Richard Peachey:

benaffleck_as_batman_by_guat-d6jcc9rBatman star Ben Affleck recently received a double dose of embarrassment — first over his ancestors, then over his attempted coverup:

I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11553967/Ben-Affleck-says-he-regrets-covering-up-slave-owner-in-the-family.html

This episode brought to mind an incident from C. S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian:

. . . Sir,” said Caspian [after being told of his descent from pirates], “I was wishing that I came of a more honourable lineage.”

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.” (p. 185)

Similarly, from Pascal’s Pensées:

What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstrous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earthworm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe!” (Pensée 131)

Man’s greatness and wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of wretchedness.” (149)

And those who most despise men, and put them on the same level as the beasts, still want to be admired and trusted by them, and contradict themselves by their own feelings, for their nature, which is stronger than anything, convinces them more strongly of man’s greatness than reason convinces them of their vileness.” (470)

It is dangerous to explain too clearly to man how like he is to the animals without pointing out his greatness. It is also dangerous to make too much of his greatness without his vileness. It is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both, but it is most valuable to represent both to him.” (121)

For more along these lines, see:

• Douglas Groothuis, “Deposed Royalty: Pascal’s Anthropological Argument

• Robert Velarde, “Greatness and Wretchedness: The Usefulness of Pascal’s Anthropological Argument in Apologetics

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