Anyway, here's the heart of Moll's account:
[T]he biggest influence on my spiritual journey was the novels and philosophy of Albert Camus, a French existentialist of the 1940s and '50s—and an atheist. C. S. Lewis warned, "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." Camus should have been safe territory for me, but as I like to say now, I was saved by an atheist....
The world, as Camus found it, is absurd. Humans yearn for meaning, yet life offers none. God is absent. But Camus argued against the nihilism of his fellow Europeans who found life meaningless and therefore flocked to totalitarian, fascist, or communist philosophies. "I don't know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it," Camus wrote in The Myth of Sisyphus, his argument against suicide. "But I know that I do not know that meaning." Rather than take a leap of faith, Camus sought to "know whether I can live with what I know and with that alone."
He illustrated his philosophy of creating meaning in the face of meaninglessness in the novel The Plague. When the city of Oran is struck by disease, officials quarantine the city. The main character, the physician Rieux, chooses to stay, throwing himself into caring for the sick. This is how one creates meaning amid the meaninglessness of the sudden outbreak of plague. And life is no different, Camus believed. We are to work against wrongs and injustice, with humility, trying to aid others in small ways.
Rieux....realized that "I, anyhow, had had plague through all those long years in which, paradoxically enough, I'd believed ... I was fighting it." Not only that: "I have realized that we all have plague."
Camus was right, and I, too, had plague. I was sick and in need of a Physician. Camus' willingness to accept the truth that humans are fallen allowed me to do the same. Camus held a mirror to my face—in a way that no pastor, preacher, or professor had—and I knew I needed salvation.There's much more in the essay that makes it worth taking five or six minutes to read. Indeed, there's much in others of Camus' works that's worth reading, not just in The Plague but also in his other famous novel The Stranger. Camus doesn't shrink from portraying the awful emptiness of a life lived in the absence of God. To repeat Lewis' words, "A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading."