This article will discuss Faust’s belief or disbelief in God. In the scene called Marthe’s Garden, Margarete begins to question Faust about his views on religion:
Margarete:Tell me, dear, in what do you believe? Although you are a good and loveworthy man, religion means little to you, that I know.
Faust:Let that be, my child! You feel my love, is it not true? For those I love, I’d lay my life down too; I would rob no one of his faith and trust.
Margarete:That’s not enough! One must believe, one must!
Even though Faust has rejected the herd mentality, which includes the requirement that one believe in the tenets of Christianity, he still falls in love with Margarete, who believes in them adamantly. She wants to control Faust’s thinking because she thinks he will be condemned to an eternal punishment if he refuses. She wants what she thinks is best for him. She doesn’t understand the process of self-realization spinning within him. Faust knows full well what it would mean for him to return to the static and narrow views of the Church; he knows that the process would cease. Perhaps he even wishes he had never become involved with Margarete, but, intuitively, he knows that their relationship is part of the process. So, he must learn to balance his love for her with his desire for individuation. Not an easy thing to do!
Faust is not an atheist. Even though he has rejected the Christian concept of God, he has his own view, which he has formulated from his own life experiences. Later in the scene, Faust attempts to explain why he does not fit into Margarete’s mold of what a religious person should be:
Who would dare to say, “I do not believe in Him?”
Experiencing Him everywhere. . .
This entire passage sets out Faust’s religious viewpoint, which seems to be a sort of pantheism. Primarily, I think he is saying that God is everywhere and in everything. Happiness, heart, love, God, Faust says he cannot name it.
Feeling is all!
The feelings we experience when we gaze at a true work of art, or when we look at the stars at night, or when we look into our lover’s eyes. Call it what you will, says Faust, this is his idea of God.
The name is only sound and smoke
Which fogs the glow of Heaven.
Margarete tells him he has no sound Christianity. Then she begins to rail on him for his association with Mephisto. This is quite interesting. We know Mephisto represents Faust’s dark side or his shadow, using the Jungian term. Margarete doesn’t like him at all. She refuses to accept the fact that all human beings have a dark side. She denies her own shadow. She projects her own shadow onto Mephisto. She wants Faust to stay away from him. He, however, recognizes the necessity of Mephisto:
Such queer fish must also be.
Faust has reconciled himself to his dark side, which is a giant step in the process of self-realization. Margarete still has far to go on her journey.
Why did Faust fall in love with Margarete in the first place, seeing they have dissimilar aspirations? The Jungian idea of projecting the anima onto a beautiful woman is intriguing. Faust is searching for his own soul in her. Or is it the anima which does the projecting?
In everything there is tragedy. All good things must run alongside the bad. Faust has found his true love, but he must endure her immaturity and lack of understanding in the matters of Becoming.