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Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes

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Reinhold Niebuhr Quotes: “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.” — Serenity Prayer

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.

— Serenity Prayer



Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Forgiveness is the final form of love.”

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the sky.”

Aim for the stars and maybe you’ll reach the sky.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be changed.”

Change what cannot be accepted and accept what cannot be changed.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.”

Love is the motive, but justice is the instrument.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Man is his own most vexing problem.”

Man is his own most vexing problem.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope.”

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Cheese, wine, and a friend must be old to be good.”

Cheese, wine, and a friend must be old to be good.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “A genuine faith resolves the mystery of life by the mystery of God.”

A genuine faith resolves the mystery of life by the mystery of God.

— Reinhold Niebuhr



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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”

Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “One of the fundamental points about religious humility is you say you don’t know about the ultimate judgment. It’s beyond your judgment. And if you equate God’s judgment with your judgment, you have a wrong religion.”

One of the fundamental points about religious humility is you say you don’t know about the ultimate judgment. It’s beyond your judgment. And if you equate God’s judgment with your judgment, you have a wrong religion.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Nationalism: One of the effective ways in which the modern man escapes life’s ethical problems.”

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “The chief source of man’s inhumanity to man seems to be the tribal limits of his sense of obligation to other men.”

The chief source of man’s inhumanity to man seems to be the tribal limits of his sense of obligation to other men.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted; and pure love without power is destroyed.”

Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted; and pure love without power is destroyed.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.”

Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.

— Reinhold Niebuhr



Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.”

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions.”

All human sin seems so much worse in its consequences than in its intentions.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “The fence and the boundary line are the symbols of the spirit of justice. They set the limits upon each man’s interest to prevent one from taking advantage of the other.”

The fence and the boundary line are the symbols of the spirit of justice. They set the limits upon each man’s interest to prevent one from taking advantage of the other.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it.”

Original sin is that thing about man which makes him capable of conceiving of his own perfection and incapable of achieving it.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


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

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


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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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



Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Great talents have some admirers, but few friends.”

Great talents have some admirers, but few friends.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses.”

Human beings are endowed by nature with both selfish and unselfish impulses.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Reason is not the sole basis of moral virtue in man. His social impulses are more deeply rooted than his rational life.”

Reason is not the sole basis of moral virtue in man. His social impulses are more deeply rooted than his rational life.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power.”

The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “All known existence points beyond itself.”

All known existence points beyond itself.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.”

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.”

Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.

— Reinhold Niebuhr



Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


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

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

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “Marxism is the modern form of Jewish prophecy.”

Marxism is the modern form of Jewish prophecy.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.”

All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “History is a realm in which human freedom and natural necessity are curiously intermingled.”

History is a realm in which human freedom and natural necessity are curiously intermingled.

— Reinhold Niebuhr


Reinhold Niebuhr Quote: “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.”

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


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