The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life - eBook  -     By: Dr. Armand M. Nicholi Jr.
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The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life - eBook

Free Press / 2002 / ePub

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Product Description

What a concept! Take the best proponents of atheism and theism from the twentieth century, and allow them to debate the pressing human existential questions. Sigmund Freud, father of modern psychology and psychoanalysis, and ardent materialist, atheist and naturalist, versus C.S. Lewis, Christian, scholar, literary critic and former atheist. Dr. Armand Nicholi Jr points out in The Question of God that atheist and theist are really the only two categories necessary (Freud thought so as well); one either thinks there is a God, or one thinks that there is no God. So why Lewis and Freud as representative of these two categories? For Nicholi it was their extensive writings on the subject and the availability of accurate biographical information, which showed how consistently each lived out their worldviews.

Nicholi sees two major questions that need to be answered, each of which is subdivided into more specific questions. Part one of this book looks at the question of what we should believe, with its related questions about an intelligence beyond the universe, the existence of a universal moral law, and which road (atheism or theism) is more realistic. Part two asks how we should live, with an investigation into happiness, sex, love, pain and death.

Nicholi quotes extensively from the philosophical and personal writings of both Freud and Lewis. The philosophical writings set out what each claimed to believe; the personal writings offer a picture of the viability of the worldviews set forth in the philosophical writings. Therefore, we are treated to a fascinating look at how Lewis and Freud thought we should live, and an insightful look at how Lewis and Freud each actually lived their lives. Though Lewis and Freud never debated in the course of their lives, Nicholi's side-by-side presentation of their views makes it seem like the two truly are in the same room debating. Their arguments are allowed to speak for themselves, and the reader is left to decide who has presented the better argument. Fascinating.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Free Press
Publication Date: 2002
ISBN: 9780743242233
ISBN-13: 9780743242233
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

"This elegantly written and compelling comparison of the worldviews of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis provides a riveting opportunity to consider the most important questions mankind has ever asked: Is there a God? Does he care about me? This profound book is for anyone who is earnestly seeking answers about truth, the meaning of life, and God's existence."
-- Francis Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute
Many of history's greatest thinkers have wrestled with the ultimate question of belief and nonbelief in God. Though it might seem unlikely that any new arguments could possibly be raised on either side, the twentieth century managed to produce two men who each made brilliant, new, and lasting arguments, one in favor of belief and one opposed. Few spokesmen have ever championed their respective positions better than Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. Sadly, as far as we know, they never met or debated each other directly.
In The Question of God their arguments are placed side by side, as if they were standing at podiums in a shared room. Both thought carefully about the flaws and alternatives to their positions; each considered the other's views. Both men considered the problem of pain and suffering, the nature of love and sex, and the ultimate meaning of life and death. Here, with their debate made explicit, we can take ringside seats at one of history's most profound encounters.
For more than twenty-five years Armand Nicholi has studied the philosophical writings of both men, and has taught a popular course at Harvard that compares the two worldviews. In The Question of God he presents the fruits of years of labor among the published and unpublished writings of Lewis and Freud, including an extensive exploration of their private letters. He allows them to speak for themselves on every major question of belief and nonbelief, but also skillfully draws conclusions from their own lives. Why did Freud have such difficulty maintaining lifelong friendships? How did Lewis's friendships change after his transition from atheism to belief? Why was Freud unable to willfully ignore his own internal moral sense, even though he believed it to be purely a product of socialization and not in any way eternally "true"?
The Question of God may be the best book about belief and nonbelief ever written, since it does not presuppose which answer is correct. Instead, it uses two of history's most articulate spokesmen to present arguments on both sides. In the end, readers must join Nicholi's hundreds of former students in deciding for themselves which path to follow.

Editorial Reviews

Ken Burns Armand Nicholi has hit the nail on the head with this irresistible, expertly told story of the twin anchors -- and the dilemma -- of modern thought. Here in the lives of two real and recognizable geniuses can be found our own longing and search. Nicholi has reconciled the two disparate men and beliefs superbly. I couldn't put it down.
Peter Kreeft author of Making Sense of Suffering Some books are fair, scholarly, and objective. Others are challenging, arresting, and subjectively moving. When a book is both, it is unforgettable. Such is The Question of God. We are caught, plunged into both Freud's and Lewis's lives, honestly, deeply, with both head and heart. It is as exciting as a novel, and we must supply the ending.
Dr. Timothy Johnson medical editor, ABC News I attended some of Armand Nicholi's remarkably popular classes at Harvard and found them to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Dr. Nicholi, after more than twenty-five years of teaching and research on Freud and Lewis, has now made this experience available to all. This superb book will change your life.
Ralph Larson Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson Armand Nicholi's new book, The Question of God, is both profound and fascinating. It provides remarkable insight into the very different life views of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. All those who are searching for true meaning in their lives should take the time to read this wonderful book. I had a hard time putting it down.

Product Reviews

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  1. Spokane, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Materialist VS. Spiritualist
    December 10, 2013
    Bruce Booher
    Spokane, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    An excellent book that contrasts the opposing worldviews of two brilliant 20th century men. The take away from this book is that what we believe about our origins directly impacts every aspect of how we live our lives. Sigmund Freud spent his life searching for the very thing his worldview would not allow him to find. C. S. Lewis allowed himself, however reluctantly, to discover that which ultimately filled his life. Materialist vs. spiritualist - life's most important determination.
  2. Birmingham, AL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Very provative reading!
    January 7, 2011
    Birmingham, AL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Have not finished it yet, but it clearly shows each end of the spectrum of secular world view vs. Christian world view. Nothing has changed since they lived - except that the secularists seem to be increasing which should be a warning for us Christians to speak up more for our world view!
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 18, 2009
    Linda Moore
    This is a must read for those wondering about Christianity compared to atheism. C.S. Lewis is on such solid ground in his thoughts and writings. The book was very well written and almost made it seem like Freud and Lewis were in the same room having a conversation. I cameout voting for Lewis. Freud was a very disturbed man in spite of his great research.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 10, 2007
    Ken Winters
    This book, and the accompaning PBS special are extremely well-done. Dr. Nicholi is a deep thinker who is able to communicate the key issues of Lewis' and Freud's lives and belief systems with a very readable book with excellent clarity. It should be required reading for every High School and College Student in the U.S. so they can make an informed decision on this key question.
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