The leap of unfaith & more from Updike

The leap of unfaith & more from Updike February 3, 2009

Thanks to Mollie Z. Hemingway for harvesting some other great John Updike quotes from various newspaper obituaries:

”I remember the times when I was wrestling with these issues that I would feel crushed. I was crushed by the purely materialistic, atheistic account of the universe,” Updike told The Associated Press during a 2006 interview.

”I am very prone to accept all that the scientists tell us, the truth of it, the authority of the efforts of all the men and woman spent trying to understand more about atoms and molecules. But I can’t quite make the leap of unfaith, as it were, and say, ‘This is it. Carpe diem (seize the day), and tough luck.”’

. . . . .

“When I haven’t been to church in a couple of Sundays I begin to hunger for it and need to be there,” he said, standing at a podium in front of the altar, against a backdrop of Byzantine-style mosaics and dressed in a gray suit befitting one of America’s elder statesmen of letters. “It’s not just the words, the sacraments. It’s the company of other people, who show up and pledge themselves to an invisible entity.”

. . . . . . .

[From Rabbit, Run, the Lutheran Pastor Fritz Kruppenbach telling off the Episcopal priest, Rev. Eccles, for meddling in other people’s business]: “When on Sunday morning then, when we go before their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of Christ,” he tells a disconcerted Eccles. “Make no mistake. There is nothing but Christ for us. All the rest, all this decency and busyness, is nothing. It is Devil’s work.”

Do any of you Updike fans have suggestions for good books of his to start with? The Rabbit series? ‘Month of Sundays”? Are there some that don’t have quite so much, you know, sex? (I’d suggest the short stories.)

Meanwhile, I’m intrigued with “the leap of unfaith.” I have noticed that atheists often describe their moment of rejection in the same terms that Christians often do when describing their conversion.

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