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Reading Response: The Question of God

Introduction

In the Question of God by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Nicholi portrays atheists as wandering sheep that are led astray and do not turn to God for his redemptive power through the depiction of Sigmund Freud. This book also flips the coin and depicts C.S. Lewis, who is a believer in Christ. Both people are portrayed in this book. Therefore, this paper looks at the two separate, distinct worldviews of Sigmund Freud and C.S Lewis through the critical analysis of The Question of God.

Background

Nicholi (2018, 5) wrote that these two people, Sigmund Freud and C.S Lewis, are used to “look at human life from two diametrically opposed points of view; those of the believer and the unbeliever.” Nicholi’s purpose of the book is to compare the materialistic belief of Sigmund Freud to the Christian belief of C.S Lewis. Sigmund Freud was an atheist his entire life, whereas C.S Lewis became a Christian. Nicholi reports that Sigmund Freud believes that there are two categories of people: those who are believers, and those who are unbelievers. Freud believes that the believers are those that are resolved in Christlikeness and the unbelievers are those who hold true to the materialistic worldview. C.S Lewis, however, is a firm believer that there is a Creator because of the signposts (universe). For example, one of the signposts are starry skies. C.S Lewis, as portrayed in The Question of God, calls for the waking up of unbelievers to see these signposts and believe in the one and only Creator who is the one true God (Jer. 10:10).

Why C.S Lewis and Freud?

The Author of The Question of God explained that he used C.S Lewis and Freud for two reasons. The author wrote, “First, both write extensively about a specific, representative worldview with great depth, clarity, and conciseness. Second, both wrote autobiographies and thousands of letters that provide a reasonably good perspective on how they lives” (Nicholi 2018, 7-8).The intended audience of The Question of God is students, scholars, and professors alike. The Students should be impacted by the book because they should see that the Christian worldview is more accurate than blindly believing in the materialistic worldview.

The Weaknesses of the Book

There are several weaknesses to this book. First, this book did not explicitly say that it is wrong to have sex before marriage Societies, like America, should not have sex before marriage because it disrupts your relationship and decreases your chance of having a pure life with Christ. Paul explicitly warns in 1 Thessalonians 4 that you should abstain from sexual immorality. Sex before marriage should have be addressed in this book because the consequences of having Sex before marriage are Astronomical. Another weakness is that The Book did not show enough Bible verses to back up the Biblical Worldview. It was mostly the Author’s opinion. I believe the book could have been strengthened by including Bible verses like Genesis 1:1, Romans 5:8, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23. First the author could have backed up God being the Creator with Genesis 1:1. Genesis 1:1 states “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” The Author could have backed up agape love with Romans 5:8. Romans 5: 8 states “But God demonstrates his own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This would have gave C.S. Lewis a renewed spirit knowing that God Loves him so much that he was willingly to give up Jesus as a ransom for many. But Sigmund Freud doesn’t have a renewed spirit because he restricts his mind to Atheism. Atheism doesn’t give him Love. He believes love is just sexual. Last weakness was that it was gloomy. This book didn’t give me a renewed spirit. It gave me sadness and anxiety because this book did not give the positives of why the Biblical Worldview is accurate and true.

The Strengths of the Book

The strengths of the book are the following. First the research the author conducted was good because he did not only go with the online sources but he dove right into personal letters. This gave us a personal view of C.S Lewis and Sigmund Freud’s views. For example, Nicholi states, “both wrote autobiographies and thousands of letters that provide a reasonably good perspective on how they live” (pg. 7-8). Therefore, we have personal view since Nicholi added more detail with the personal letters. other books could possibly not be as accurate as Sigmund Freud’s and C.S Lewis own written collections. For example, the personal letters of Sigmund Freud indicated that he doubted his friends, whereas the personal letters of C.S Lewis indicated that he was privileged to have friends like J.R.R Tolkien. Second, he explained what a worldview is. A worldview influences “how we perceive ourselves, how we relate to others, how we adjust to adversity, and what we understand to be our purpose” (Nicholi 2018, 4).

The Comparison

A Materialistic Worldview is “rooted in Ancient Greece with its emphasis on reason and acquisition of knowledge and its motto ‘What says Nature?’” (Nicholi, 2018, 5). The Phrase “What Says Nature” indicates that the Atheists follows the facts that are revealed in nature like the evolutionary processes. The Materialistic Worldview, as portrayed in the Question of God, is the following. First, the materialistic worldview teaches that Jesus is not worth talking about. Second, the materialistic worldview teaches that miracles cannot happen. Third, the materialistic Worldview teaches the Bible is full of false information. However, this is not the case. A spiritual worldview, however, is “rooted primarily in ancient Israel, with its emphasis on moral truth, and right conduct and its motto of Thus saith the Lord”. The Phrase “Thus Saith the Lord” indicates that Christians listen and obey God’s Word. This is practical because the believers need to obey God in order to know how to make a difference in a person’s life.

Why Worldviews are Important?

Worldviews are important because it guides us on how to live. Materialist, like Sigmund Freud, has no hope and no future. The Materialist are living here and now. Whereas C.S Lewis lives in the future and is assured that he is going to Heaven because he believed that Jesus is his personal Lord and Savior. He knows that he is not alone in his suffering. God is comforting C.S Lewis. Romans 8:18 states “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This verse is indicating that C.S Lewis’s sufferings are not worth comparing to the present. However, Sigmund Freud has Materialistic worldview that indicates that he is alone in his suffering and has no hope. Romans 6:23a “The Wages of Sin is death” He has not believed, now he is condemned. How sad! Therefore, based on these two worldviews and the definitions, worldviews are influential on how Sigmund Freud and C.S Lewis lived and is one of the strengths of this book. What was the Impact on my Own Worldview? The impact of the Question of God on my Worldview is astronomical. It has impacted me greatly. The book taught me that we should be living our faith intrinsically. This means that the believers should be living out their faith ourselves and not allowing someone to dictate what we believer. Therefore, we should be living our faith intrinsically not extrinsically. This book also taught me that we shouldn’t take pleasure in the earthly things. Instead, we should take pleasure in a personal relationship with God. God wants to know us and he wants us to pursue a personal relationship with him. We should also value that God created the earth and it wasn’t just a mere accident that happened. You came to this earth to do something and that something is to show kindness and the Truth to transform the believers for the better.

Conclusion

We should live like C.S Lewis, rooted in the faith of Jesus Christ. Inner circles are one of the reasons why people are living the church and why Sigmund Freud believes everyone is not lovin g. therefore, we should be loving others and not having an inner circle because truth plus relationship equals influence. Inner circles are referencing leaving people out from a group just because you have nothing in common. We need to not create cliques but we need to form friendships with everyone. We should be a renewed spirit striving to spread the Gospel to everyone. People should wake up and live the Christian faith. The Christian faith gives us hope and a future. Secularists’ worldview gives us gloomy news. We need to defend the faith and have a Christian Worldview. Once, we have these two things, we can transform a person’s life through the power of Christ. If Sigmund Freud had a Christian friend, I believe he might have transformed by the Gospel to be a Christian. We need to share the Gospel and develop a Christian Worldview. Even though there are shortfalls to his book, the author was just comparing two people, Sigmund Freud and C.S Lewis.

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