Frases de Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr foto
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Reinhold Niebuhr

Data de nascimento: 21. Junho 1892
Data de falecimento: 1. Junho 1971

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Reinhold Niebuhr foi um teólogo estadunidense.

Citações Reinhold Niebuhr

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„Sometimes they are as anxious to offer moral justifications for the brutalities from which they suffer as for those which they commit.“

— 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

„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.“

— 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

„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.

„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.

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„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

„The nuclear age has refuted the idea of progress and Marxism has been refuted by Stalinism. Therefore people have returned to the historic religion.“

— Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The people that weren't traditionally religious, conventionally religious, had a religion of their own in my youth. These were liberals who believed in the idea of progress or they were Marxists. Both of these secular religions have broken down. The nuclear age has refuted the idea of progress and Marxism has been refuted by Stalinism. Therefore people have returned to the historic religion. But now when the historic religions give trivial answers to these very tragic questions of our day, when an evangelist says, for instance, we mustn't hope for a summit meeting, we must hope in Christ without spelling out what this could mean in our particular nuclear age. This is the irrelevant answer, when another Evangelist says if America doesn't stop being selfish, it will be doomed. This is also a childish answer because nations are selfish and the question about America isn't whether we will be selfish or unselfish, but will we be sufficiently imaginative to pass the Reciprocal Trade Acts.

„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.

„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.

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„Every society will have to maintain methods of arbitrating conflicting needs to the end of history; and in that process those who are shrewder will gain some advantage over the simple, even if they should lack special instruments of power.“

— Reinhold Niebuhr
Context: The hope that the internal enemies will all be destroyed and that the new society will create only men who will be in perfect accord with the collective will of society, and will not seek personal advantage in the social process, is romantic in its interpretation of the possibilities of human nature and in its mystical glorification of the anticipated automatic mutuality in the communist society.... In all these prophecies pure sentimentality obscures the fact that there can never be a perfect mutuality of interest between individuals who perform different functions in society... Man will always be imaginative enough to enlarge his needs beyond minimum requirements and selfish enough to feel the pressure of his needs more than the needs of others. Every society will have to maintain methods of arbitrating conflicting needs to the end of history; and in that process those who are shrewder will gain some advantage over the simple, even if they should lack special instruments of power. pp. 194-196

„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.

„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.

„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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