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Reinhold Niebuhr

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

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

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„Weise und große Entschließungen und Beschlüsse, wenn die Zeit und ihre Menschen nicht dazu passen, bringen nichts hervor, und aus verkehrten und tadelnswerten entstehen zuweilen mittelbar und zuletzt heilsame Folgen. Diese Wahrheit macht kleinmütig und beruhigt auch.“

„Des Menschen Anlage zur Gerechtigkeit macht Demokratie möglich; aber des Menschen Neigung zur Ungerechtigkeit macht Demokratie notwendig.“


„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.“ 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

„Alles wahrhaft Gute im Staate muß errungen und von vielen heftig begehrt werden, schenken läßt es sich so wenig als aufdringen; Opfer müssen es erkaufen, damit man es habe.“

„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.“

„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.“

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

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 we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.“
The Irony of American History

„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.“


„Forgiveness is the final form of love.“

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

„Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.“ The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses

„Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.“


„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.“

„The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.“

„Humour is, in fact, a prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer … Laughter is swallowed up in prayer and humour is fulfilled by faith.“ Children of Light and the Children of Darkness

„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.“ Moral Man and Immoral Society: Study in Ethics and Politics

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