The Plague, like many works in a similar philosophical vein, treats religion at best with indifference and at worst with contempt. Religion seeks to explain the world’s suffering and rationalize it, whereas Camus is of the camp that the suffering can’t be justified and is in fact entirely irrational. Religion seems to promote passivity and apathy, which are in contrast to the humanist notion of taking up arms against the suffering of the world.
Questions About Religion
- How does Father Paneloux evolve over the course of the novel? Compare his first sermon to his second – what are the big differences?
- How does Tarrou define "saintliness?" How can he strive for such a thing when he doesn’t believe in God?
- What is the nature of Rieux and Paneloux’s relationship? How do two men with such different beliefs view each other?
- It’s no news flash that Camus wasn’t the biggest supporter of religion. How does The Plague deride religion?
- Did you notice how the plague started going away around Christmas? It this some sort of religious thing?
- Does the novel make a distinction between religion and spirituality?
Chew on This
Though their systems of beliefs differ, Rieux and Paneloux are the most similar characters in The Plague.
Religion is the most destructive force in The Plague.