Primetime choices pit heaven against Las Vegas

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Viewers disappointed by television's reluctance to tackle the really big questions should sample "The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings). Based on a popular undergraduate course taught by Harvard professor Dr. Armand Nicholi, "Question" uses dramatic reenactment, numerous interviews and Nicholi's narrative to examine the lives and writings of the two seminal 20th-century figures, and their very different positions on life, reason and spirituality.

Freud saw reason as supreme, dismissing religion as "the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity." After the carnage of World War I, Lewis had also abandoned God, only to develop a spiritual thirst that reason alone could not quench.

Nicholi and "Question" employ each man's teachings and biography as object lessons in the eternal battle between believers and unbelievers. He also discusses how an individual's choices color their experience of life's other great questions about love, sexuality, right, wrong and the meaning of life itself.

Tonight's other highlights