Nietzsche, Camus, and the Ghost of Christianity

Joseph S. Spoerl


Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus had much in common. Both were atheists. Both were skeptics who affirmed the inability of human reason to make sense of the universe. Both denied that there was a source of meaning objectively there in the world apart from the human will. When Camus cites Nietzsche, it is more often than not with sympathy. Yet there are some major differences between these two quintessentially modern European thinkers. This essay argues that one major difference was that Nietzsche made a more consistent and decisive break with the Christian values of European culture. Camus, in contrast, despite his atheism, retained a surprising amount of Christianity in his world view.