In The Plague, how does religion affect the mind and decisions of the town?

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As with most of the work by Albert Camus, The Plague is highly critical of organized religion. When a plague hits the Algerian city of Oran, the townspeople are left to live in isolation. Many of the townspeople are forced to deal with this plague through their religion, particularly because they are left virtually powerless. While it's very interesting to look at how the townspeople are influenced by religion, it's also quite important to focus on Rieux.

Rieux is often influenced by religion in a different manner. Where many other townspeople find their strength and make their decisions based on their religion, Rieux uses his lack of religion to guide him. At one point in the novel, the text reads,

Rieux said . . . 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. (56)

Rieux's skepticism of religion...

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