Reinhold Niebuhr

Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr (/ˈraɪnhoʊld ˈniːbʊər/; June 21, 1892 – June 1, 1971) was an American theologian, ethicist, public intellectual, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years. The brother of another prominent theological ethicist, H. Richard Niebuhr, he is also known for authoring the Serenity Prayer, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. Among his most influential books are Moral Man and Immoral Society and The Nature and Destiny of Man, the second of which Modern Library ranked one of the top 20 nonfiction books of the twentieth century. Starting as a minister with working-class and labor class sympathies in the 1920s oriented to theological pacifism, he shifted to neo-orthodox realist theology in the 1930s and developed the theo-philosophical perspective known as Christian realism. He atta... More

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Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes

Reinhold Niebuhr #Age

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

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone therefore we are saved by love.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Change #Courage #God #Wisdom

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 #Courage

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

Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Faith #History

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 #Forgiveness #Love

Forgiveness is the final form of love.
Reinhold Niebuhr #God

The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Change #Courage #God #Wisdom

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Wisdom

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

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime therefore we must be saved by hope.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Nature

If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Nature

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

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Power

Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted and pure love without power is destroyed.
Reinhold Niebuhr #War

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 #Family

Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Religion

There is no cure for the pride of a virtuous nation but pure religion.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Truth

I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.
Reinhold Niebuhr #Peace #War

Democracies are indeed slow to make war, but once embarked upon a martial venture are equally slow to make peace and reluctant to make a tolerable, rather than a vindictive, peace.