Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes & Wallpapers

Reinhold Niebuhr
Total Quotes: 198

For democracy is a method of finding proximate solutions for insoluble problems. Reinhold Niebuhr

Our age knows nothing but reactions, and leaps from one extreme to another. Reinhold Niebuhr

God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed. Reinhold Niebuhr

The significance of the law of love is precisely that it is not just another law, but a law which transcends all law. Reinhold Niebuhr

Despotism, which we regard with abhorrence, is rather too plausible in decaying feudal, agrarian, pastoral societies. That's why we must expect to have many a defeat before we'll have an ultimate victory in this contest with Communism. Reinhold Niebuhr

The pretensions of final truth are always partlyan effort to obscure a darkly felt consciousness of the limits of human knowledge. Reinhold Niebuhr

Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity. Reinhold Niebuhr

There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war. Reinhold Niebuhr

Life has no meaning except in terms of responsibility. Reinhold Niebuhr

Marxism was the social creed and the social cry of those classes who knew by their miseries that the creed of the liberal optimists was s snare and a delusion... Liberalism and Marxism share a common illusion of the "children of light." Neither understands property as a form of power which can be used in either its individual or its social form as an instrument of particular interest against the general interest. Reinhold Niebuhr

Liberalism makes this mistake in regard to private property and Marxism makes it in regard to socialized property... The Marxist illusion is partly derived from a romantic conception of human nature... It assumes that the socialization of property will eliminate human egotism... The development of a managerial class in Russia, combing economic with political power, is an historic refutation of the Marxist theory. Reinhold Niebuhr

Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values. Reinhold Niebuhr

The society in which each man lives is at once the basis for, and the nemesis of, that fulness of life which each man seeks. Reinhold Niebuhr

We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about a particular degree of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimatized. Reinhold Niebuhr

My personal attitude toward atheists is the same attitude that I have toward Christians, and would be governed by a very orthodox text: "By their fruits shall ye know them." I wouldn't judge a man by the presuppositions of his life, but only by the fruits of his life. And the fruits - the relevant fruits - are, I'd say, a sense of charity, a sense of proportion, a sense of justice. And whether the man is an atheist or a Christian, I would judge him by his fruits, and I have therefore many agnostic friends. Reinhold Niebuhr

It's always wise to seek the truth in our opponents' error, and the error in our own truth. Reinhold Niebuhr

Nothing that is worth anything can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Reinhold Niebuhr

Perhapsthemost sublimeinsights oftheJewishprophets and the Christian gospel is the knowledge that since perfection is love, the apprehension of perfection is at once the means of seeing one's imperfections and the consoling assurance of grace which makes this realization bearable. This ultimate paradox of high religion is not an invention of theologians or priests. It is constantly validated by the most searching experiences of life. Reinhold Niebuhr

The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it. Reinhold Niebuhr

The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery. Reinhold Niebuhr

Civilization depends upon the vigorous pursuit of the highest values by people who are intelligent enough to know that their values are qualified by their interests and corrupted by their prejudices. Reinhold Niebuhr

The idea that the profits of capital are really the rewards of a just society for the foresight and thrift of those who sacrificed the immediate pleasures of spending in order that society might have productive capital, had a certain validity in the early days of capitalism, when productive enterprise was frequently initiated through capital saved out of modest incomes. Reinhold Niebuhr

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. This prayer was first printed in a monthly bulletin of the Federal Council of Churches and has become enormously popular. It has been circulated in millions of copies. Reinhold Niebuhr

[There is] an increasing tendency among modern men to imagine themselves ethical because they have delegated their vices to larger and larger groups. Reinhold Niebuhr

God give me the serenity to accept things which cannot be changed; Give me courage to change things which must be changed; And the wisdom to distinguish one from the other. Reinhold Niebuhr

Toleration of people who differ in convictions and habits requires a residual awareness of the complexity of truth and the possibility of opposing view having some light on one or the other facet of a many-sided truth. Reinhold Niebuhr

All men who live with any degree of serenity live by some assurance of grace. Reinhold Niebuhr

The essence of man is his freedom. Sin is committed in that freedom. Sin can therefore not be attributed to a defect in his essence. It can only be understood as a self-contradiction, made possible by the fact of his freedom but not following necessarily from it. Reinhold Niebuhr

Man is endowed by nature with organic relations to his fellow men; and natural impulse prompts him to consider the needs of others even when they compete with his own. Reinhold Niebuhr

Reason tends to check selfish impulses and to grant the satisfaction of legitimate impulses in others. Reinhold Niebuhr

The measure of our rationality determines the degree of vividness with which we appreciate the needs of other life, the extent to which we become conscious of the real character of our own motives and impulses, the ability to harmonize conflicting impulses in our own life and in society, and the capacity to choose adequate means for approved ends. Reinhold Niebuhr

Faith is the final triumph over incongruity, the final assertion of the meaningfulness of existence. Reinhold Niebuhr

I think I should know how to educate a boy, but not a girl; I should be in danger of making her too learned. Reinhold Niebuhr

I thank heaven I have often had it in my power to give help and relief, and this is still my greatest pleasure. If I could choose my sphere of action now, it would be that of the most simple and direct efforts of this kind. Reinhold Niebuhr

I cannot worship the abstractions of virtue: she only charms me when she addresses herself to my heart, speaks through the love from which she springs. Reinhold Niebuhr

The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning. Reinhold Niebuhr

The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan values and ends is... the source of all religious fanaticism. Reinhold Niebuhr

There are evidently limits to the achievements of science; and there are irresolvable contradictions both between prosperity and virtue, and between happiness and the good life,' which had not been anticipated in our philosophy. Reinhold Niebuhr

History may defeat the Christ but it nevertheless points to him as the law of life. Reinhold Niebuhr

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Reinhold Niebuhr

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Reinhold Niebuhr

If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else. Reinhold Niebuhr

The scientific observer of the realm of nature is in a sense naturally and inevitably disinterested. At least, nothing in the natural scene can arouse his bias. Furthermore, he stands completely outside of the natural so that his mind, whatever his limitations, approximates pure mind. The observer of the realm of history cannot be disinterested in the same way, for two reasons: first, he must look at history from some locus in history; secondly, he is to a certain degree engaged in its ideological conflicts. Reinhold Niebuhr

...(I)ndividual selfhood is expressed in the self's capacity for self-transcendence and not in its rational capacity for conceptual and analytic procedures. Reinhold Niebuhr

The cross symbolizes a cosmic as well as historic truth. Love conquers the world, but its victory is not an easy one. Reinhold Niebuhr

To be religious is not to feel, but to be. Reinhold Niebuhr

The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men. Reinhold Niebuhr

Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments. Reinhold Niebuhr

One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun. Reinhold Niebuhr

For man as an historical creature has desires of indeterminate dimensions. Reinhold Niebuhr

This insinuation of the interests of the self into even the most ideal enterprises and most universal objectives, envisaged in moments of highest rationality, makes hypocrisy an inevitable by product of all virtuous endeavor. Reinhold Niebuhr

Our dreams of bringing the whole of human history under the control of the human will are ironically refuted by the fact that no group of idealists can easily move the pattern of history toward the desired goal of peace and justice. The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning. Reinhold Niebuhr

A church has the right to set its own standards within its community. I don't think it has a right to prohibit birth control or to enforce upon a secular society its conception of divorce and the indissolubility of the marriage tie. Reinhold Niebuhr

All men are naturally included to obscure the morally ambiguous element in their political cause by investing it with religious sanctity. Reinhold Niebuhr

All you earnest young men out to save the world... please, have a laugh. Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. Reinhold Niebuhr

A republic properly understood is a sovereignty of justice, in contradistinction to a sovereignty of will. Reinhold Niebuhr

There are evidently limits to the achievements of science; and there are irresolvable contradictions both between prosperity and virtue, and between happiness and ``the good life,' which had not been anticipated in our philosophy. Reinhold Niebuhr

Nothing worth doing can be accomplished in a single lifetime. Reinhold Niebuhr

It is the evil in man that makes democracy necessary, and man's belief in justice that makes democracy possible. Reinhold Niebuhr

The finiteness, the dependency, and the insufficiency of man Reinhold Niebuhr

Adam Smith's was a real universalism in intent. Laissez Faire was intended to establish a world community as well as a natural harmony of interests within each nation... But the "children of darkness" were able to make good use of his creed. A dogma which was intended to guarantee the economic freedom of the individual became the "ideology" of vast corporate structures of a later period of capitalism, used by them, and still used, to prevent a proper political control of their power. Reinhold Niebuhr

We have previously suggested that philanthropy combines genuine pity with the display of power and that the latter element explains why the powerful are more inclined to be generous than to grant social justice. Reinhold Niebuhr

Religion, declares the modern man, is consciousness of our highest social values. Nothing could be further from the truth. True religion is a profound uneasiness about our highest social values. Reinhold Niebuhr

Every experience proves that the real problem of our existence lies in the fact that we ought to love one another, but do not. Reinhold Niebuhr

The dimension of depth in the consciousness of religion creates the tension between what is and what ought to be. It bends the bow from which every arrow of moral action flies. Reinhold Niebuhr

The individual or the group which organizes any society, however social its intentions or pretensions, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself. Reinhold Niebuhr

Great talents have some admirers, but few friends. Reinhold Niebuhr

Nationalism: One of the effective ways in which the modern man escapes life's ethical problems. Reinhold Niebuhr

The prophet himself stands under the judgment which he preaches. If he does not know that, he is a false prophet. Reinhold Niebuhr

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