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The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
(click images to enlarge) The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life

The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life

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Throughout the ages, many of the world's greatest thinkers have wrestled with the concept of -- and belief in -- God. It may seem unlikely that any new arguments or insights could be raised, but the twentieth century managed to produce two brilliant men with two diametrically opposed views about the question of God: Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. They never had an actual meeting, but in The Question of God, their arguments are placed side by side for the very first time.
For more than twenty-five years, Armand Nicholi has taught a course at Harvard that compares the philosophical arguments of both men. In The Question of God, Dr. Nicholi presents the writings and letters of Lewis and Freud, allowing them to "speak" for themselves on the subject of belief and disbelief. Both men considered the problem of pain and suffering, the nature of love and sex, and the ultimate meaning of life and death -- and each of them thought carefully about the alternatives to their positions.
The inspiration for the PBS series of the same name, The Question of God does not presuppose which man -- Freud the devout atheist or Lewis the atheist-turned-believer -- is correct in his views. Rather, readers are urged to join Nicholi and his students and decide for themselves which path to follow.

Of course we can never really answer the question of whether God exists. And of course it would have been highly unlikely for Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis to discuss this question in person, considering that they were born in different countries and a generation apart. Nonetheless, The Question of God allows readers to listen in on one of the most articulate debates possible by creating a virtual meeting of Freud and Lewis. For the past 25 years, Armand M. Nicholi has taught a similar course at Harvard, where he compares Freud’s atheist-based reasoning against the atheist-turned-believer C.S. Lewis. Both men were considered brilliant, highly educated thinkers who profoundly influenced 20th-century thought. And both men presented compelling arguments for and against the existence of God.

At the core is Freud’s assertion that God is a figment of the imagination (more accurately, God is an outcome of our deep-seated need for protection, stemming from the helplessness of early childhood). Lewis, on the other hand, did not see the belief in a higher power as a childish need for comfort. In fact, he wrote, "rendering back one's will which we have so long claimed for our own, is, in itself, extremely painful. To surrender a self-will inflamed and swollen with years of usurpation is a kind of death." Nicholi never take sides. Instead he gives both men a chance to eloquently answer the big questions of humanity: why is there suffering? What should be our guiding belief? How do we form a moral compass? Surprisingly, this debate turns out to be a fascinating page-turner, with most of the credit going to Nicholi. Because he understands these men's arguments so well and respects their beliefs so thoroughly, believers could begin to have doubts and atheists could start to wonder. Regardless of where you ultimately land on the question of God, this stellar book will deeply enrich your understanding of humanity. --Gail Hudson