Narrator: All over the world people are asking the same questions:
What does it mean to love your neighbor? Why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? What does it take to be a moral person? Is there a god?
A man who has spent his life exploring these questions is Dr. Armand Nicholi, a Harvard University professor and practicing psychiatrist.
His lectures and seminars draw on the lives of Sigmund Freud — the founder of psychoanalysis and an atheist — and C.S. Lewis, the most influential voice of faith in our time.
Armand Nicholi: Why Freud and Lewis? Well, few individuals have influenced the moral fabric of contemporary Western civilization more than Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis.
Lewis: We mortals have a root in the absolute. We yearn for that unity which we can never reach except by ceasing to be separate beings called we.
Narrator: In Dr. Nicholi's seminar, C.S. Lewis the believer and Sigmund Freud the atheist are brought together in debate.
Freud: It has been my life's work to show man that his beliefs and his behavior are rooted not in divine truth but in his own childhood fears and desires.
Narrator: For this series Dr. Nicholi invited a panel of seven thoughtful men and women to grapple with the fundamental riddle of our existence.
Armand Nicholi: Whether we realize it or not, all of us possess a worldview. We make one of two basic assumptions. We view the universe as an accident or we assume an intelligence beyond the universe who gives the universe order, and for some of us, meaning to life.
Louis Massiah: To me there is an order for the way things are and — and uh, the central question is whether you want to say that the orderer is God. That's — that's another thing.
Margaret Klenck: Can I jump in for a second? I think that, that —
Louis Massiah: Order.
Margaret Klenck: Order doesn't necessarily mean intelligence. And intelligence you know, consciousness —
Narrator: Throughout the series we will move from their debate into episodes from the lives of Freud and Lewis. The panel will discuss issues of faith and doubt in their own lives.
Frederick Lee: Uh, a large part of me, at many times for a lot of reasons, has wanted to not believe because it would be so much easier in many ways.
Jeremy Fraiberg: The question is, I think, for me anyway, to what extent can somebody foist their beliefs on others or claim that their beliefs are true and that your beliefs are false? True for you or true for all?
Margaret Klenck: I've experienced God, and I can talk from my experience, and I can trust, as you say, and I have surrendered to that trust.
Michael Shermer: Naturalism is my philosophy. That all, all phenomenon have natural explanations. There is no supernatural, there's just the natural and stuff we can't yet explain.
Doug Holladay: We're all betting on something and we have incomplete information to place that bet.
Winifred Gallagher: Ever since I've been a little girl, I've had very powerful experiences of God's presence.
Armand Nicholi: Let's look at these early life experiences as they occurred in Lewis and Freud's lives.