Reinhold Niebuhr Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes

#1. Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#2. We don't properly discriminate. We never discriminate properly when we're dealing with another group and one of the big problems about religion is that religious people don't know that they are probably as flagrant in these misjudgments as irreligious people. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#3. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#4. What is funny about us is precisely that we take ourselves too seriously. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#5. History may defeat the Christ but it nevertheless points to him as the law of life. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#6. The significance of the law of love is precisely that it is not just another law, but a law which transcends all law. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#7. It is my strong conviction that a realist conception of human nature should be made a servant of an ethic of progressive justice and should not be made into a bastion of conservatism, particularly a conservatism which defends unjust privileges. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#8. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#9. Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#10. Man is both strong and weak, both free and bound, both blind and far-seeing. He stands at the juncture of nature and spirit; and is involved in both freedom and necessity. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#11. The cross symbolizes a cosmic as well as historic truth. Love conquers the world, but its victory is not an easy one. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#12. If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#13. The individual or the group which organizes any society, however social its intentions or pretensions, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#14. Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#15. All men are naturally included to obscure the morally ambiguous element in their political cause by investing it with religious sanctity. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#16. The history of mankind is a perennial tragedy; for the highest ideals which the individual may project are ideals which he can never realize in social and collective terms. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#17. A republic properly understood is a sovereignty of justice, in contradistinction to a sovereignty of will. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#18. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#19. Nothing worth doing can be accomplished in a single lifetime. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#20. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes #1091911
#21. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#22. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#23. Forgiveness is the final form of love. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#24. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#25. Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#26. I think I should know how to educate a boy, but not a girl; I should be in danger of making her too learned. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#27. It is the evil in man that makes democracy necessary, and man's belief in justice that makes democracy possible. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#28. Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#29. The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#30. It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of rationalism. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#31. Faith is the final triumph over incongruity, the final assertion of the meaningfulness of existence. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#32. Perhaps the most significant moral characteristic of a nation is its hypocrisy. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#33. Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted; and pure love without power is destroyed. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#34. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#35. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#36. Cheese, wine, and a friend must be old to be good. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#37. Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be changed. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#38. The old prose writers wrote as if they were speaking to an audience; while, among us, prose is invariably written for the eye alone. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#39. Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#40. Humor is a prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#41. The evils against which we contend are frequently the fruits of illusions which are similar to our own. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#42. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#43. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#44. The pretensions of final truth are always partlyan effort to obscure a darkly felt consciousness of the limits of human knowledge. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#45. To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#46. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#47. There was a time when I had all the answers. My real growth began when I discovered that the questions to which I had the answers were not the important questions. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#48. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#49. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#50. Reason tends to check selfish impulses and to grant the satisfaction of legitimate impulses in others. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#51. [There is] an increasing tendency among modern men to imagine themselves ethical because they have delegated their vices to larger and larger groups. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#52. As racial, economic and national groups, they take for themselves, whatever their power can command. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#53. Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#54. All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#55. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#56. Ultimately evil is done not so much by evil people, but by good people who do not know themselves and who do not probe deeply. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#57. Until the fear of catastrophe amends, or catastrophe itself destroys ... - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#58. Man is his own most vexing problem. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#59. Human Beings are just good enough to make democracy possible ... just bad enough to make it neccessary. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#60. God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#61. All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#62. Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#63. Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#64. There are no simple congruities in life or history. The cult of happiness erroneously assumes them. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#65. There is no social evil, no form of injustice whether of the feudal or the capitalist order which has not been sanctified in some way or other by religious sentiment and thereby rendered more impervious to change. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#66. To be religious is not to feel, but to be. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#67. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#68. The more complex the world situation becomes, the more scientific and rational analysis you have to have, the less you can do with simple good will and sentiment. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#69. Nationalism: One of the effective ways in which the modern man escapes life's ethical problems. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#70. A wise architect observed that you could break the laws of architec75tural art provided you had mastered them first. That would apply to religion as well as to art. Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#71. For man as an historical creature has desires of indeterminate dimensions. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#72. If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#73. Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,
he courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes #90419
#74. Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#75. Our dreams of a pure virtue are dissolved in a situation in which it is possible to exercise the virtue of responsibility toward a community of nations only by courting the prospective guilt of the atomic bomb. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#76. There is no cure for the pride of a virtuous nation but pure religion. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#77. There is no deeper pathos in the spiritual life of man than the cruelty of righteous people. If any one idea dominates the teachings of Jesus, it is his opposition to the self-righteousness of the righteous. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#78. History is a realm in which human freedom and natural necessity are curiously intermingled. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#79. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#80. Better not read books in which you make acquaintance of the devil. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#81. Life has no meaning except in terms of responsibility. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#82. What is so funny about us is precisely that we take ourselves too seriously. Laughter is the same and healthy response to the innocent foibles of men; and even to some which are not innocent. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#83. Man is always worse than most people suspect, but also generally better than most people dream. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#84. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#85. All you earnest young men out to save the world ... please, have a laugh. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#86. The final test of religious faith ... is whether it will enable men to endure insecurity without complacency or despair, whether it can so interpret the ancient verities that they will not become mere escape hatches from responsibilities but instruments of insights into what civilization means. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#87. (I)ndividual selfhood is expressed in the self's capacity for self-transcendence and not in its rational capacity for conceptual and analytic procedures. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#88. Great talents have some admirers, but few friends. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#89. 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. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#90. The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#91. We have, on the whole, more liberty and less equality than Russia has. Russia has less liberty and more equality. Whether democracy should be defined primarily in terms of liberty or equality is a source of unending debate. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#92. Men have never been individually self-sufficient. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#93. I'm not afraid of too many things, and I got that invincible kind of attitude from my father. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#94. Rationality belongs to the cool observer, but because of the stupidity of the average man, he follows not reason, but faith, and the naive faith requires necessary illusion and emotionally potent oversimplifications which are provided by the myth-maker to keep ordinary person on course. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#95. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#96. It's always wise to seek the truth in our opponents' error, and the error in our own truth. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#97. All men who live with any degree of serenity live by some assurance of grace. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#98. The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#99. For democracy is a method of finding proximate solutions for insoluble problems. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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#100. The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it. - Author: Reinhold Niebuhr
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