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The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis (2004)

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Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis with Dr. Armand Nicholi

This program is based on a best-selling book by Dr. Armand Nicholi, a faculty member at Harvard University. Nicholi is also a practicing psychiatrist and a long-time member of the Board of Trustees at Gordon College. Nicholi's book, The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life, was released in 2002. The book is now in its 23rd printing and has been on the New York Time and Amazon.com best-seller list. The Question of God is a four-hour series on PBS that explores in accessible and dramatic style issues that preoccupy all thinking people today: What is happiness? How do we find meaning and purpose in our lives? How do we reconcile conflicting claims of love and sexuality? How do we cope with the problem of suffering and the inevitability of death?

The series illustrates the lives and insights of Sigmund Freud, a life-long critic of religious belief, and C.S. Lewis, a celebrated Oxford don, literary critic and perhaps this century's most influential and popular proponent of faith based on reason.

"It may be that Freud and Lewis represent conflicting parts of ourselves," Dr. Nicholi notes. "Part of us yearns for a relationship with the source of all joy, hope and happiness, as described by Lewis, and yet, there is another part that raises its fist in defiance and says with Freud 'I will not surrender.' Whatever part we choose to express will determine our purpose, our identity, and our whole philosophy of life."

Through dramatic storytelling and compelling visual recreations, as well as interviews with biographers and historians and lively discussion, Freud and Lewis are brought together in a great debate.

"The series presents a unique dialogue between Freud, the atheist, and Lewis, the believer," says Catherine Tatge, director ofThe Question of God. "Through it we come to understand two very different ideas of human existence, and where each of us, as individuals, falls as believers and unbelievers."

The important moments and emotional turning points in the lives of Freud and Lewis that gave rise to starkly different ideas fuel an intelligent and moving contemporary examination on the ultimate question of human existence: Does God really exist?

The film begins with the early stories of Lewis and Freud and how each embraced the religion of his family and how they came to drift from it. It traces the path each took - one returning to his faith and the other moving far from it - as they developed ideas and philosophies. Nicholi helps examine how each was personally tested by tragedies in life. It also shows how each man held to his beliefs to the end of their lives.

Tags: documentary

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