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Diane

The Question of God

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Airing September 15 & 22. More info here.

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I highly recommend the book of the same name, on which the PBS series is based. It's a highly readable comparative biography of these 2 fascinating figures, looking not only at their lives but their respective theologies and philosophies of life, love, sexuality, etc.

The author, Armand Nicholi, truly knows his stuff -- for perhaps 2 decades, he's been teaching a course on this very subject at Harvard. Nicholi is a well-known psychiatrist, the editor of the Harvard Guide to Psychiatry - as a med student, this was the first psych text I ever read; I suspect its erudition and literary quality were a helpful factor in turning me on to psychiatry.

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I saw the five minute promo just now. Looks real good. I gotta tell my agnostic brother about this. He's reading Mere Christianity right now.

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Nicholi will be speaking here at Gordon-Conwell Seminary this semester. It's a big deal, and the whole school is reading his book to prepare.

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Nicholi will be speaking here at Gordon-Conwell Seminary this semester. It's a big deal, and the whole school is reading his book to prepare.

Any idea when the date of Nicholi's talk is? I'm about an hour-and-a-half from Gordon and would love to take it in.

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Any idea when the date of Nicholi's talk is? I'm about an hour-and-a-half from Gordon and would love to take it in.
South Hamilton, MA - Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in pleased to announce the inaugural Colson Lectureship on Christian Worldview which will be held on September 21, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. on the South Hamilton campus. The Keynote address will be made by Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nicholi will be speaking on the subject "The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life."

More.

See what I do for you.

Edited by Ben

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Anyone fancy taking some notes for the rest of us? smile.gif

Phil.

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If anyone is coming to GCTS to hear Nicholi speak, let's try to get together.

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I'm not sure if it was the same guy or not, but I attended a seminar on this very topic at a recent L'Abri conference and it was very interesting. If anything, I came away with a much deeper understanding of Freud, whom I, like many Christians I think, had always written off a bit of a nut and a pervert. Hearing more about the man's life proved very eye-opening.

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Sounds like it's well worth a watch. I remember reading Mere Christianity Lewis made a small mention of Freud and psycho-analysis. His attitude being along the lines that although he disagreed with some of the conclusions, he understood where the desire for such analysis came from. Which struck me as a useful starting point.

Phil.

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Yep, that's a terrific chapter in 'Mere Christianity,' making 2 key points as I recall: 1) distinguishing Freud the expert on psychology (insightful) vs. Freud the religionist and anthropologist (a lot of bunk); 2) explaining the value of psychotherapy in providing personal psychological understanding, yet leaving it in the patient's hands whether he/she uses this improved self-knowledge for good or evil.

I used this chapter as assigned reading in a Sunday school class I taught on the religion/mental health interface, and I think people found it helpful.

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Any idea when the date of Nicholi's talk is? I'm about an hour-and-a-half from Gordon and would love to take it in.
South Hamilton, MA - Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in pleased to announce the inaugural Colson Lectureship on Christian Worldview which will be held on September 21, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. on the South Hamilton campus. The Keynote address will be made by Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nicholi will be speaking on the subject "The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life."

More.

See what I do for you.

Thanks, Ben!

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Did anyone actually catch this last night?

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I TiVo'd it, and will watch it on the weekend.

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Watched part one last night, so

spoilers1.gif

for those who haven't. (If such a thing as spoilers really applies to something like this)

It was a fascinating two hours of television, that raised a lot of good questions about the theistic/atheistic worldview split. I thought that Lewis and Freud were evenly treated, and that there was a solid Christian presence on the panel, as well as convincing naturalists, and some weird, way-out-there folks. It was a good mix. Niccoli did a good job moderating the discussion, which seemed to get somewhat heated at times (mostly due to the atheists, interestingly) but never out of control.

The dramatic cut-aways were helpful to setting the questions in the context of the two thinkers' lives, though if you've read the book, you know that Freud's rejection of God was not anywhere near as final in real life as in these clips. He vaccilated between theism and atheism all the way to the end of his life, but you'd not know it from the simplified version shown here. I'd say that's understandable, if this were not a show on precisely that question. I guess they were trying to draw the worldviews as two stark contrasts, but I think the panel discussion showed that they are not as clear-cut as the dramatic scenes made them out to be.

There was a revealing moment when one of the naturalists admitted that he was a naturalist primarily because he liked the naturalists he met better than the theists he'd met, and thought they had a cooler lifestyle. Only later did he develop arguments to support his naturalism. That opened up a good discussion of the reasons people believe.

If there is some complaint that this show doesn't present the Christian worldview forcefully, I'd counter that it's not an evangelistic piece, in its first priority. It's a piece designed to open up the questions. On the other hand, I thought that the theistic worldview came across very well. I was impressed that Niccoli called together some solid thinkers on the Christian side. These were not people who were lightweights.

Although...

My one complaint is with the two spacy women. Mrs. CrimsonLine remarked that she thought the casting of this show gave a poor view of women. Both were spacy, new-age type ladies. Not dumb, but neither one holding firmly to any sort of convictions. And as a complaint part deux, the African-American filmmaker guy was a cipher. The camera kept cutting to him nodding, or looking intensely, as if to remind us he was there, but he spoke maybe three times, and at least one of those times was not a complete sentence, he got cut off. Poor guy! At least they didn't go the cliche'd route of casting an African-American reverend who is the only voice for God on the panel, as so many PBS shows do.

It's got me looking forward to the lecture on the 21st here at GCTS.

BUT.

The book is better, more nuanced, and far more in-depth.

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Hmm, Crimsonline, IIRC, Freud made a decisive break from theism in early adulthood with little conscious wavering thereafter. (His letters to Lutheran minister and lay analyst Oskar Pfister, spread out over 2-3 decades make for fascinating reading; in these, he is consistently advocating an atheistic position.) Interestingly, for a fellow who considered that slips of the tongue, jokes, etc., are gateways into the unconscious, Freud's letters are full of phrases such as 'if God wills it...'

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Hmm, Crimsonline, IIRC, Freud made a decisive break from theism in early adulthood with little conscious wavering thereafter. (His letters to Lutheran minister and lay analyst Oskar Pfister, spread out over 2-3 decades make for fascinating reading; in these, he is consistently advocating an atheistic position.) Interestingly, for a fellow who considered that slips of the tongue, jokes, etc., are gateways into the unconscious, Freud's letters are full of phrases such as 'if God wills it...'

I'm going based off of Niccoli's analysis - he quotes Freud's letters liberally. Those kinds of phrases in his letters - along with a bunch of other startling passages that Niccoli quotes, indicate to me that while he may have made an intentional and lifelong break with theism early on, he could never escape the idea that God was there, and in his core could not shake himself of the "mass delusion" of God's existence.

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AAARRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

Last night I retrieved the tape I had placed in the VCR, only to discover my wife had TURNED ON the VCR before part 1 aired last week. I've checked all the local PBS stations to see if part 1 will air again, but can only find listings for part 2.

If anyone finds out they're going to replay the show in its entirety, PLEASE let me know. Thanks!

cussing.gif

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You can buy it on DVD...

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I saw the DVD on PBS's website, but if I can avoid spending the 35 bucks and tape it for free ... well, you know. tongue.gif

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Went to the lecture last night - and if you've read the book (highly recommended) or seen the PBS special (recommended) then there was nothing new in the lecture. It actually felt like a redacted version of the first chapter of the book.

The questions weren't that great, either - which surprised me, given the excellent questions that were asked when Miroslav Volf was here.

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