Albert Camus' philosophy of the absurd described a tension between nihilism and the impulse to resist it at the heart of human experience. His lyrical responses to the challenge of the absurd are founded on the possibility of affirming the struggle for social values in spite of absurdity without recourse to transcendence or the divine to give it meaning. In this article, I place these responses in dialogue with a religious contemporary of Camus, Simone Weil, to whom this imperative to face the absurd without God was also an imperative of Christian faith. In doing so I assess whether the theological approach to absurdity of one writer can offer any resources in tackling social transformation that the purely humanist approach of another cannot. © 2006 The Author.