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The Importance of Religion in The Stranger by Albert Camus

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Oxford Dictionaries defines religion as the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. Religion is important in life because it not only gives humanity order, but it also gives people a reason for life. Without religion, perhaps society would be one big pile of corrupt, evil, and selfish human beings. This is something that Meursault struggles with the concept of religion the entire novel because he has a strong belief in the truth, which opens up a wide spread of issues. Some of his beliefs about life include that it is absurd because he thinks it’s just a game, and that it is mankind’s responsibility to look over oneself because death is a traveling burden. Even during his trial he is at a disadvantage because of his inability to connect with the conventions of society. In Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault loses his faith in life, God, and society because of his lack of understanding and comprehending his feelings and emotions. If the purpose of religion is to bring people together in unity and also give them a sense of hope, then why is Meursault so uninterested and unaffected by any of the events that took place during the novel such as his mother’s funeral, his relationship with Marie, or even his trial? The real purpose Meursault acts the way he does is because he loses is faith in himself and humanity. This feeling of nothingness inside Meursault is most evident in the first line of the novel, “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know,” showing no sign of grief or mourning for the loss of his mother (1). The death of his mother serves as a disruption of the status quo in his life, it is the beginning of his emotional journey of deterioration and separation from...

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...everyone is surrounded by death. Camus explains that life isn’t about what is not envisioned, but it’s about what is evident. Meursault’s feeling of apathy is directly related to his conviction that life lacks necessary order and meaning, “As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope…I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world,” as he awaits his impending death, he finally recognizes that life is the most complex entity in the universe and one only has one life to live, so live it wisely (122). In the end, Meursault changed spiritually because he didn’t concentrate as much on the physical world because while he was in prison, he thought about life’s gifts and (although still atheist) realizes that faith in yourself and life is very important. There is also some irony here; he finally realizes the meaning of live just as he awaits his death.
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