Tag Archives: Marcel

Thoughts for Sunday Morning: The Believer’s Duty, According to Gabriel Marcel

Marcel often helps me do some sorting-out:

We shall understand nothing of the relation between the believer and the non-believer and there is danger of giving the most harmfully pharisaic interpretation of it if we fail to perceive something else which is even more mysterious, namely the symbiosis of belief and disbelief in the same soul. If the believer has any duty at all, it is to become aware of all that is within him of the non-believer.Gabriel Marcel, in “From opinion to faith,” Creative Fidelity

I might break it down this way:

  1. We shall understand nothing of the relation between the believer and the non-believer
  2. if we fail to perceive the co-existence of belief and disbelief in the same soul
  3. and if we fail to perceive that co-existence, we’ll probably be Pharisees, or pharisaic,
  4. so if you or I count ourselves among believers, we should probably get our heads around our own unbelief and our own non-believer tendencies before we consider ourselves too distinct.

Is the life of faith a mystery or a problem?

Is the life of faith a mystery or a problem?

A few thoughts from Gabriel Marcel, a French playwright and philosopher, who lived 1889-1973:

“The problem is something that I could isolate. Problems have solutions or potential solutions…. The problem stands outside me. Mystery, I’m inside it. Mystery, I can’t get distance on myself, or it or that other person.”

“A genuine problem is subject to an appropriate technique…. whereas a mystery, by definition, transcends every conceivable technique. It is, no doubt, always possible (logically and psychologically) to degrade a mystery so as to turn it into a problem. But this is a fundamentally vicious proceeding, whose springs might perhaps be discovered in a kind of corruption of intelligence.”

“Reality cannot be summed up.”