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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis
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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
This PBS presentation beautifully lays out contrasting views (theism/atheism)... yet somehow never comes off as advocating either one; letting the viewer decide. As much as I love Freud and also warm up to such deep-thinkers as C.S. Lewis... it was the periodic "roundtable" discussion sessions moderated by Dr. Armand Nicholi that blew me away. I found myself pausing this DVD over and over again as I wrote down my own thoughts and, yes, my own spontaneous revelations. It's that sort of program. It makes you want to grab a notebook and a pencil.

I won't tell you which way I lean (Freud? Lewis?)... but I will say BUY THIS! SEE IT! It is quite possibly one of the only sources giving equal time to both sides of this age-old issue. If nothing else, you'll be fascinated at the eruption of thoughts/realizations that you-the viewer will most-certainly experience.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 23, 2004
I watched this on PBS the past two weeks. It's 4 hours total, and shows the personal history of these two men (complete with some well done reenactment) and how they came to their beliefs interspersed with a panel of people with different beliefs (believers and nonbelievers) talking about a lot of the basic issues with religion and Christianity. The panel includes a Dr. from Harvard, the editor of Skeptic magazine, and some other really interesting people.

As is to be expected (hey, it's PBS :) The Question of God is very well done. Extremely fascinating, and it makes you think. I was so impressed by it that I'm seriously considering buying it. I'm also going to read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2006
I expected this video to lean noticeably to either a pro evolution or pro theistic viewpoint. The editors have done an excellent job at presenting both sides fairly. It was very helpful to see the story of Freud and Lewis' childhood and early adulthood. This is an important video for anyone interested in the current debate.

I was especially pleased with the roundtable discussions of a focus group. It is a delight to see unscripted opinions being expressed in a non confrontative format. The panel is also well balanced, with no shills on either side. This has become my favorite Nova presentation and I highly recommend it to just about anyone interested in a well rounded education.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2005
I have watched this DVD for the past week now. It's a great, in depth look at two powerful, twenith-century thinkers. I also find myself returning to it over and over. It has a great staying power and keeps the interest held high.

The DVD successfully intertwines both actors protraying Freud and Lewis and a roundtable discussion of the ideas behind the two men. I found both aspects of the DVD to be very well done. The actors did an amazing job playing Freud and Lewis and the discussions were well intentioned and provided some thought-provoking information.

That being said, I did have a hard time with some of the people participating in the discussion. For the most part, they were well informed and very well educated. Some though, simply did not have any sort of rationale or basis for their opinion/beliefs (either theistic or atheistic). Perhaps experts in this field would have suited the debate better and provided a more meaningful discussion. (i.e. Philosophers, theologans, professors, etc.)

Overall, an excellent DVD.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2004
This program is a must see to those who are skeptical or questioning their beliefs in God. These two men (Freud and Lewis) are so contrasted and different from each other that it makes for a good argument by both sides. No doubt, Lewis' testimony and influence is widespread and powerful. The arguments in which scholars and psychologists alike test the waters of their beliefs and world view further enhance the program and Freud's and Lewis' beliefs. An excellent witnessing tool for Believers to show to non-Believers who struggle with these tough questions!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2005
C.S. Lewis has always been a hero of mine--even before I knew anything about his personal life.

I'd read his books for years (in fact, I've read MERE CHRISTIANITY several times) but didn't know much about him until I saw the movie SHADOWLANDS with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger in 1993. What an introduction! Since then, I've read several biographies, watched the British TV version of SHADOWLANDS, and even attended a stage version. I've actually started reading his Narnia books as well, looking forward to the big-budget Hollywood version heading to screens in Christmas of '05.

So I watched with much interest this PBS show that compared and contrasted the lives of Lewis and Sigmund Freud. The best parts for me were watching the recreations of their lives and intercutting their words into a dialogue or argument. I don't know as much about Freud but I think they did a great job of portraying Lewis and representing what his life and writings meant.

The only part that didn't really work was the roundtable discussions with the professor who taught this study as a class. A couple of people came off as rather shallow since they were trying to sound deep about something they didn't really believe in the first place. There were a few interesting moments, but it felt tedious to be cutting away from the biographical segments that were so much more interesting.

Still, definitely worth having and watching.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2008
The PBS home video, The Question of God based off of Dr. Nicholi's book compares the lives of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. While the book was exceptional, the DVD is mediocre. The DVD features a comparison of the lives of these two greats with a narration and actors depicting Lewis and Freud. The quality is excellent, but, it lacks the depth of the book.

The other part of the DVD is the round table discussion, and here it utterly fails. There is really one person, Michael Shermer, who is impressive in answering the questions offered by Nicholi. On the religious side, most of the "religious people" (from Buddhism to Christianity) fail to really answers agnostic and atheists objections beside "it is faith" or "many types of evidence." While there may some truth to this, they fail in their presentation and in providing larger, stronger arguments. One wonders if anyone on the panel really ever read Lewis at all? The other "non-believers" raised the typical straw men objections and other silly statements (the attorney is absolutely, horrible, I hope he doesn't use his own criteria when evaluating a case). Shermer, while I think he is often wrong, does a very good job (as always, Shermer is always likable and presents his points well). There are good answers to his statements, but no one on this panel presented any.

I am surprised by the many five stars. Maybe I am missing something, but I really think this is average, no better, no worse.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Whether theist or atheist most people gravitate toward resources that offer evidence for their preconceived opinions. This series doesn't do that. At times the persuasion of C. S. Lewis is so strong that the DVD feels like the sort of evangelical piece that should be shown in churches. At these moments one wonders if it would be banned in our public school system. At other times the logic of Sigmund Freud pulls just as strongly towards atheism. At these moments one wonders if the entire series would be banned from many churches. To add further dimension to the discussion Dr. Armand Nicholi created a panel of seven intelligent persons to wrestle with the question of God. Three of these are theists and three are atheists. Dr. Nicholi fills the seventh chair as a moderator. He takes great pains to be unbiased while making sure the discussion stays on track. After viewing this series one may have all sorts of ideas, but one will not be able to honestly label either side as "backward" or "less intelligent".

As a college philosophy instructor I particularly like the format of the discussion. While not using philosophical jargon the series starts with a section on Epistemology (theories of knowledge) by pitting the scientific world view against the spiritual world view. From here the series naturally leans toward Metaphysics (the big picture questions, God, cosmos, ontology, etc.). The series next follows a logical progression into Ethics with discussions on morality. Finally there is a perfect wrap up section on pain and dying.

The DVD contains a study guide that works well with each section. There are nine sections, but some may be coupled to complete the series in fewer sessions. I originally intended to skip a few sections but quickly discovered that doing so created a bias toward or against religious belief. While I personally don't have a problem with such a bias, everyone has a bias on this subject, creating the bias destroys the intent of the entire series and reduces the work to a propaganda piece. This is easy to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2011
I initially saw this production by chance while taking a University course. The program is so influential I immediately sought a personal copy to review and take time to bring all aspects of this work into perspective.
I will say that it is one of the best ever made. The train of thought, based on a course of instruction, links a discussion panel that ranges from Atheism to Believer and includes acted scenes of both Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, comparing their lives where one remained an Atheist and the other changed his view from Atheist to Believer during roughly the same period of life and experiencing the same situations of world events. It has a great musical score produced by Milan Kymlicka and the discussion panel will have you attentive to the back and forth views of each one of them. Michael Shermer dominates the panel with his skepticism but it is all very informative and entertaining.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The documentary "The Question of God" looks comparatively at the lives and personal philosophies of Sigmund Freud and Clive Staples Lewis. The viewer is taken to the heart of their philosophies and the many experiences that helped define their lives.

No doubt Freud was passionate about his philosophy, yet much of what he believed he could not live out. He was a sad man, and undoubtedly his philosophy was based on his cynical and dark view of existence itself. C.S. Lewis, on the other had, came to a belief in God by mere happenstance, although later he says that he believes God had been seeking him the entire time. C.S. Lewis embodied his beliefs, and as a result he seemed happier and more content with life than Freud. What is the point of having a philosophy for life that one can't live out? The viewer is left to discern the answer to this question.

It is a question we all have to ask ourselves: do we live out what we believe - does God exist, and if he does what role should that play in our lives, and if he doesn't, then what role should that belief play in our lives? Many people hold on to views that would crumble the minute they are tested by experiences. I think that this documentary shows that a true philosophy for life is one that holds up in reality, experience, and the individual's reality. A must see!
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