Zitate von Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr Foto
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Reinhold Niebuhr

Geburtstag: 21. Juni 1892
Todesdatum: 1. Juni 1971

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Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr war ein einflussreicher amerikanischer Theologe, Philosoph und Politikwissenschaftler.

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Zitate Reinhold Niebuhr

„Gott gebe mir die Gelassenheit, Dinge hinzunehmen, die ich nicht ändern kann, den Mut, Dinge zu ändern, die ich ändern kann, und die Weisheit, das eine vom anderen zu unterscheiden.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Gelassenheitsgebet in einer verbreiteten deutschsprachigen Version, oftmals fälschlich Friedrich Christoph Oetinger zugeschrieben, siehe Referat von Dr. Eberhard Zwink, Württembergische Landesbibliothek Stuttgart, 19. Februar 2007; abgerufen 15. April 2011

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„It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of .“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of. On the conceits of pious theists and rationalistic atheists.

„The separation of church and state is necessary partly because if religion is good then the state shouldn't interfere with the religious vision or with the religious prophet.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The separation of church and state is necessary partly because if religion is good then the state shouldn't interfere with the religious vision or with the religious prophet. There must be a realm of truth beyond political competence, that's why there must be a separation of churches, but if religion is bad and a bad religion is one that gives an ultimate sanctity to some particular cause. Then religion mustn't interfere with the state — so one of the basic Democratic principles as we know it in America is the separation of church and state. … 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.

„Historical communities are, in short, more deeply involved in nature and time than the individual.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The brotherhood of the community is indeed the ground in which the individual is ethically realized. But the community is the frustration as well as the realization of individual life. Its collective egotism is an offense to his conscience; its institutional injustices negate the ideal of justice; and such brotherhood as it achieves is limited by ethnic and geographic boundaries. Historical communities are, in short, more deeply involved in nature and time than the individual.

„The inevitable hypocrisy, which is associated with the all the collective activities of the human race, springs chiefly from this source: that individuals have a moral code which makes the actions of collective man an outrage to their conscience.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The inevitable hypocrisy, which is associated with the all the collective activities of the human race, springs chiefly from this source: that individuals have a moral code which makes the actions of collective man an outrage to their conscience. They therefore invent romantic and moral interpretations of the real facts, preferring to obscure rather than reveal the true character of their collective behavior. Sometimes they are as anxious to offer moral justifications for the brutalities from which they suffer as for those which they commit. The fact that the hypocrisy of man's group behavior... expresses itself not only in terms of self-justification but in terms of moral justification of human behavior in general, symbolizes one of the tragedies of the human spirit: its inability to conform its collective life to its individual ideals. As individuals, men believe they ought to love and serve each other and establish justice between each other. As racial, economic and national groups they take for themselves, whatever their power can command. pp. 8-9

„We don't properly discriminate.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: 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.

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„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“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The separation of church and state is necessary partly because if religion is good then the state shouldn't interfere with the religious vision or with the religious prophet. There must be a realm of truth beyond political competence, that's why there must be a separation of churches, but if religion is bad and a bad religion is one that gives an ultimate sanctity to some particular cause. Then religion mustn't interfere with the state — so one of the basic Democratic principles as we know it in America is the separation of church and state. … 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.

„The naïve faith of the proletarian is the faith of the man of action. Rationality belongs to the cool observers.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The naïve faith of the proletarian is the faith of the man of action. Rationality belongs to the cool observers. There is of course an element of illusion in the faith of the proletarian, as there is in all faith. But it is a necessary illusion, without which some truth is obscured. The inertia of society is so stubborn that no one will move against it, if he cannot believe that it can be more easily overcome than is actually the case. p.221

„There were experiences in previous centuries which might well have challenged this unqualified optimism.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: There were experiences in previous centuries which might well have challenged this unqualified optimism. But the expansion of man's power over nature proceeded at such a pace that all doubts were quieted, allowing the nineteenth century to become the “century of hope” and to express the modern mood in its most extravagant terms. History, refusing to move by the calendar, actually permitted the nineteenth century to indulge its illusions into the twentieth. Then came the deluge. Since 1914 one tragic experience has followed another, as if history had been designed to refute the vain delusions of modern man.

„The inertia of society is so stubborn that no one will move against it, if he cannot believe that it can be more easily overcome than is actually the case.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The naïve faith of the proletarian is the faith of the man of action. Rationality belongs to the cool observers. There is of course an element of illusion in the faith of the proletarian, as there is in all faith. But it is a necessary illusion, without which some truth is obscured. The inertia of society is so stubborn that no one will move against it, if he cannot believe that it can be more easily overcome than is actually the case. p.221

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„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.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: 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. Nonetheless, the human situation is so, and this is why I think that the Christian faith is right as against simple forms of secularism. That it believes that there is in man a radical freedom, and this freedom is creative but it is also destructive — and there's nothing that prevents this from being both creative and destructive. That's why history is not an answer to our problem, because history complicates, enlarges every problem of human existence.

„We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: 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.

„The fact that the prevailing mood of modern culture was able to transmute the original pessimism of romanticism into an optimistic creed proves the power of this mood.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The fact that the prevailing mood of modern culture was able to transmute the original pessimism of romanticism into an optimistic creed proves the power of this mood. Only occasionally the original pessimism erupts in full vigor, as in the thought of a Schopenhauer or Nietzsche. The subjugation of romantic pessimism, together with the transmutation of Marxist catastrophism establishes historical optimism far beyond the confines of modern rationalism. Though there are minor dissonances the whole chorus of modern culture learned to sing the new song of hope in remarkable harmony. The redemption of mankind, by whatever means, was assured for the future. It was, in fact, assured by the future.

„I wouldn't judge a man by the presuppositions of his life, but only by the fruits of his life.“

—  Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: 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.

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