John Updike, Prize-Winning Novelist, Dies

“Cosmically, I seem to be of two minds. The power of materialist science to explain everything—from the behavior of the galaxies to that of molecules, atoms, and their sub-microscopic components—seems to be inarguable and the principal glory of the modern mind. On the other hand, the reality of subjective sensations, desires and—may we even say—illusions, composes the basic substance of our existence, and religion alone, in its many forms, attempts to address, organize and placate these. I believe, then, that religious faith will continue to be an essential part of being human, as it has been for me,” wrote American author John Updike in his 2005 “This I Believe” essay for NPR.
Updike, who twice won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (for his novels Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest) and explored the relationship between science and theology in his 1986 book Roger’s Version, died of lung cancer yesterday at a hospice outside of Boston. He was 76.

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus Dies

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a theologian and writer who founded the journal First Things and an influential Catholic conservative (who occasionally advised President Bush and is said to have helped guide the administration’s policy on embryonic stem cell research and other issues), died from side effects of cancer treatment yesterday in New York. He was 72.

Robert Nylen, Co-Founder of Beliefnet, Dies

Robert Nylen, the magazine entrepreneur who co-founded the spirituality Web site Beliefnet with Steven Waldman in 1999, died of cancer on December 23 at his home in Ashfield, Massachusetts. He was 64.

John Templeton Testimonial

Charles Townes, winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 2005 winner of the Templeton Prize, sent us the following note in response to the death of Sir John Templeton yesterday at the age of 95:

“Sir John Templeton was a truly remarkable person. He was very open-minded, but deeply committed and devoted to some of the most important aspects of life. We have all benefitted from his insight and remarkable work, and humans will continue to benefit. We can all be thankful.”

Thanks, Professor Townes, for sharing your thoughts.

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