An Atheist And An Absurdist

Although I prefer the Christian brand of existentialism, I’ve always admired Camus for his joy in life and heroic response to the human condition as he perceived it. If you haven’t read any of his works, I recommend you start with The Stranger or The Plague then proceed to The Myth of Sisyphus.

The Dish

Michael W. Nicholson claims that the atheists he most wants to engage are those “who wrestle seriously with the implications of their affirmation that the Deus Absconditus is finally the Deus Absentia.” He puts Albert Camus at the top of that list:

Beginning with his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus,” Camus focused his literary investigations on the question of 640px-Albert_Camus,_gagnant_de_prix_Nobel,_portrait_en_buste,_posé_au_bureau,_faisant_face_à_gauche,_cigarette_de_tabagismehow to overcome nihilism in an absurd world in which, he believed somewhat paradoxically, reason and logic pointed to a cosmos with no meaning for man: “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need [for happiness and reason] and the unreasonable silence of the world.”

Camus’s starting-point was the assumption that humanity’s own rational, scientific enterprise had revealed that the heart of existence was a closed material universe that itself was utterly indifferent to the deepest human longings. In such a universe, “suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man…

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