Thomas Nagel is an atheist philosopher who is well known for developing an understanding of the world that is critically different from the usual varieties of philosophical naturalism and materialism which are more are less standard in secular philosophy. His intellectual independence has made him an interesting figure, but also one who has received more than his share of harsh criticism from fellow secularists.
Lest one should regard Nagel as simply a religious apologist in disguise, it is important to point out an early essay he wrote called “The Absurd.” Christian apologists often argue that apart from belief in God life us absurd, and that this provides at least a pragmatic reason for accepting theism over atheism. In this they often quote philosophers like Sartre and Camus to the effect that in a godless universe, life is without meaning and purpose. Nagel argues that such absurdity as we find in human life is necessary, and cannot be changed regardless of how we view the world. Since it isn’t a removable feature of our lives, it isn’t cause for defiance or scorn, nor would there be, from the standpoint of Nagel’s essay, a reason to adopt some alternative world-view, such as Christianity, to overcome the absurdity of life without God.