Essay on Camus’ The Stranger (The Outsider): Finding a Rational God through Nature

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Finding a Rational God through Nature in Camus' The Stranger (The Outsider)

Turning towards nature for fulfillment, The Stranger’s Meursault rejects the ideology of God as a savior and is consequently juxtaposed against Jesus Christ’s martyrdom, Christianity and the infamous crucifixion. To the inexperienced reader, Meursault appears to be an extreme atheist. Later in Albert Camus’ novel, he is revealed as a humanistic soul that’s in touch with the universality of the earth and soil he treads upon. Through the use of blunt and undefined nature images, Meursault’s revelations and newfound trust within an environment outside of society are softly whispered by Camus. In essence, Meursault imposes his need for meaning upon nature as
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To understand Meursault’s mindset, the reader must first look into the author’s perspective on humanism and its relation to Christianity. Camus has been categorized by many critics as a humanist; his outlook on life does not exclude religion but rather combines it to make the religious experience more realistic and more “human” (Hanna 48-49). Because Camus intertwines Christianity and his own divine-like humanism, he has been also described as an “aesthetic humanist” (Cruickshank 315). Although he does not “believe in God,” Camus refuses to believe that there is no possibility of human transcendence: “I do not believe in God, that is true, but I am not thereby an atheist” (Peyre 66). He recognizes his “religious need” (Cruickshank 324) and because of it, does not reject religion. As a result of this “need,” Camus transforms Christianity to create his own humanistic philosophy. James W. Woelfel’s Camus: A Theological Perspective acknowledges this by contrasting Camus’ “new humanism” (Bree 48) against Christianity to show the subtle, yet quite extreme differences between the two. Instead of experiencing the “supernatural” in Christianity, Camus humanistic experiences are equated to being “natural” (Woelfel 39). Evil, in Camus’ mind, is “irreconcilable” whereas in Christianity evil is “part of a larger good” (Woelfel 39). Camus believes in “exile,” “human solidarity,”
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