Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Did Sartre get religion?

Maverick Philosopher posts a link to about the atheist existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre "getting religion" near the end of his life. I have heard references to this story, but assumed it was one the many evangelical urban myths that seem to abound. Turns out, according to the site, that Sartre did take a religious turn near the end of his life--toward Judaism.

The story, according to the report, is based on an interview with Sartre conducted by Benny Levy, his personal secretary, which ran in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur a month before Sartre's death in 1980, leaving Sartre's many atheist fans in a difficult intellectual position. Levy, who himself returned to Judaism later in life, died in 2003.

Again this is from a website, and this IS the Internet, after all, but it doesn't seem implausible.

Sartre is a sort of atheist icon for many people, and the story that he may have abandoned his own position near the end of his life would, if true, obviously be a difficult one for some people to have to stomach.

It could just go to show that no one can really face a meaningless existence--or one, apropos of Sartre, in which the only meaning comes from ourselves--in an amoral world.

No comments: