It is hard to find two better intellectual representatives in the twentieth century of belief and unbelief than C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. This very readable book seeks to present their contrasting views objectively and lets the reader decide their merit. Besides the question of the existence of God, issues discussed include the problem of pain and suffering, the nature of love and sex, and the ultimate meaning of life and death. Remarkably dispassionate in approach, the author's clinical experience as a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School nonetheless reveals (without polemical apologetics) the practical benefit of Lewis' worldview. The fruit of a course he has taught for 25 years, Nicholi reveals some surprisingly similar backgrounds to Lewis and Freud: both men suffered the loss of their mother at an early age, hostility toward their fathers and teenage unbelief. The point at which they diverge, with Lewis' conversion, is a fascinating case study in the reasons for belief and unbelief.
An Eighth Day View:
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.