English Internal Assessment
To what extent does Camus’ deconstruction of religion throughout The Stranger justify his absurdist standpoint?
Camus integrates the philosophy of the absurd in many ways throughout the novel, most prominently shown through religion. Through Meursault, the philosophy deems religion irrelevant in finding meaning in life, and therefore breaks down the point of religion in general. The first instance we see this is when the clerk is interviewing Mersault to find out about his trial, after he has been arrested. “He (Magistrate) said that all men believed in God, even those who turn their backs on him. That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless” (Camus 66).…show more content… This notion completely obliterates the core of religion, which validates each person and promises an afterlife. This idea is further portrayed in the chapter, when the chaplain is pressing Mersault harder for answers. “I know that at one time or another you’ve wished for another life.’ I said of course I had, but it didn’t mean any more than wishing to be rich, to be able to swim faster, or to have a more nicely shaped mouth” (Camus 114). From this phrase, the religious aspect of the afterlife is deemed fake to Mersault.. If it was just an endless cycle of meaningless living, then, as mentioned, it shows no difference than material things such as being rich. The point is further followed up a few sentences later when Mersault attacks the chaplain. “Nothing nothing mattered and I knew why. So did he” (Camus 115). Mersault makes it extremely clear here that nothing matters in life, and that life is therefore meaningless. When he says, “So did he”, Mersault claims that the chaplain is a liar because he is trying to falsely preach and propagate a belief he knows doesn’t exist, because if it did, life would indeed have meaning, and since it doesn’t there is no religion. This is further hammered in through the following sentences. “What did other people’s deaths or a…show more content… This theme is more prominently developed in the conflict between Meursault and the society that ultimately condemns him. In the end, however, that conflict is not just about religion and rather more about the issue of differing views about the meaning of existence. In one interrogation scene in the novel (too lazy to find page number), religious beliefs are presented not as evil and corrupt, but as products of ignorance that gives rise to bigotry. Throughout the scene, Meursault is asked if he believes in God and responds “no.” The response enrages the Magistrate, the interrogator, who strongly believes that God should be recognized with unquestioned certainty of which the meaning of his very existence absolutely depends on: ‘He sat down indignantly. He said it was impossible; all men believed in god, even those who turn their backs on him. That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless. “Do you want my life to be meaningless?” he shouted. As far as I could see, it didn’t have anything to do with me, and I told him so.’ (… Camus). The extract brings forth the evident nature of Meursault’s naïveté. His very reasonable belief in freedom of thought, shown through his right to think differently without consequence or implications on others (and himself), serves as a contradiction of that belief. Ironically, his own rationality