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Quotes

Quote #7

"Paneloux is a man of learning, a scholar. He hasn’t come in contact with death; that’s why he can speak with such assurance of the truth—with a capital T. But every country priest who visits his parishioners and has heard a man gasping for breath on his deathbed thinks as I do. He’d try to relieve human suffering before trying to point out its excellence." (2.7.50)

Rieux condemns religious men not for being religious men, but for speaking in abstractions from a lack of experience.

Quote #8

Rieux said that […] if he believed in an all-powerful God he would cease curing the sick and leave that to Him. But no one in the world believed in a God of that sort […]. And this was proved by the fact that no one ever threw himself in Providence completely. (2.7.56)

Rieux explains that he fights the plague not in spite of his atheism, but rather because of it. If God isn’t around, someone has to take a stand in his place.

Quote #9

The old woman went to Mass every morning. "Don’t you believe in God?" she asked him.

On Rambert’s admitting he did not, she said again that "that explained it." "Yes," she added, "you’re right. You must go back to her. Or else—what would be left you?" (4.2.23-4)

Those who are religious in The Plague seem to identify a hollowness in those who are not. In this woman’s eyes, because Rambert doesn’t believe in God, he must need to fill his life with something else (like the love of this woman in Paris).

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