One was social action and analysis of current social problems; the other was the interpretation of the Christian faith. This entry will concentrate on his religious and ethical thinking. Niebuhr was born in Wright City, Missouri. His father was Gustave Niebuhr, a minister in the Evangelical Synod of the Lutheran Church, who came to the United States when he was seventeen years old.
Domestic[ edit ] During the s, Niebuhr was a prominent leader of the militant faction of the Socialist Party of Americaalthough he disliked die-hard Marxists. He described their beliefs as a religion and a thin one at that. He was the group's president until it transformed into the Americans for Democratic Action in However, he opposed the Vietnam War.
Niebuhr began to distance himself from the pacifism of his more liberal colleagues and became a staunch advocate for the war.
Niebuhr soon left the Fellowship of Reconciliationa peace-oriented group of theologians and ministers, and became one of their harshest critics.
This departure from his peers evolved into a movement known as Christian realism. Niebuhr is widely considered to have been its primary advocate. As a writer popular in both the secular and the religious arena and a professor at the Union Theological Seminary, he was very influential both in the United States and abroad.
He renounced his socialist connections and beliefs and resigned from the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation. He based his arguments on the Protestant beliefs that sin is part of the world, that justice must take precedence over love, and that pacifism is a symbolic portrayal of absolute love but cannot prevent sin.
Although his opponents did not portray him favorably, Niebuhr's exchanges with them on the issue helped him mature intellectually. Morrison and his pacifistic followers maintained that America's role should be strictly neutral and part of a negotiated peace only, while Niebuhr claimed himself to be a realist, who opposed the use of political power to attain moral ends.
Morrison and his followers strongly supported the movement to outlaw war that began after World War I and the Kellogg-Briand Pact of The pact was severely challenged by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in With his publication of Moral Man and Immoral SocietyNiebuhr broke ranks with The Christian Century and supported interventionism and power politics.
He supported the reelection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in and published his own magazine, Christianity and Crisis.
Traditionally, the idea of the frailty of man led to the demand for obedience to ordained authority. But Niebuhr rejected that ancient conservative argument. Ordained authority, he showed, is all the more subject to the temptations of self-interest, self-deception and self-righteousness.
Power must be balanced by power. He persuaded me and many of my contemporaries that original sin provides a far stronger foundation for freedom and self-government than illusions about human perfectibility. Niebuhr's analysis was grounded in the Christianity of Augustine and Calvin, but he had, nonetheless, a special affinity with secular circles.
His warnings against utopianism, messianism and perfectionism strike a chord today We cannot play the role of God to history, and we must strive as best we can to attain decency, clarity and proximate justice in an ambiguous world. The contemporary liberal's fascination with Niebuhr, I suggest, comes less from Niebuhr's dark theory of human nature and more from his actual political pronouncements, from the fact that he is a shrewd, courageous, and right-minded man on many political questions.
Those who applaud his politics are too liable to turn then to his theory of human nature and praise it as the philosophical instrument of Niebuhr's political agreement with themselves.
But very few of those whom I have called "atheists for Niebuhr" follow this inverted logic to its conclusion: We may admire them for drawing the line somewhere, but certainly not for their consistency. Unlike most clergymen in politics, Dr. Niebuhr is a pragmatist. They let their hearts run away with their heads.
For example, he has always been the leading liberal opponent of pacifism. In that period before we got into the war when pacifism was popular, he held out against it steadfastly.
He is also an opponent of Marxism. Stealing atomic secrets is an unprecedented crime. During the s, Niebuhr spoke out against the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in Detroit, which had recruited many members threatened by the rapid social changes.
The Klan proposed positions that were anti-black, anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic. Niebuhr's preaching against the Klan, especially in relation to the mayoral election, gained him national attention.
Niebuhr attributed the injustices of society to human pride and self-love and believed that this innate propensity for evil could not be controlled by humanity.
But, he believed that a representative democracy could improve society's ills.Reinhold Niebuhr, Signed. You Searched For: Author/Artist etc.: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History. Niebuhr, Reinhold.
Published by Charles Scribners Sons, New York () Used Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History. Niebuhr, Reinhold. Beyond Tragedy Essays On The Christian Interpretation Of History Beyond Tragedy Essays On The Christian Interpretation Of History.
by Reinhold Niebuhr. Publication date Beyond Tragedy Essays On The Christian Interpretation Of History yunusemremert.com: Charles Scribner S Sons.
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the thesis of these essays that the Christian view of history passes through the sense of the tragic to a hope and an assurance which is "beyond tragedy." The cross, which stands at the centre of. the thesis of these essays that the Christian view of history passes through the sense of the tragic to a hope and an assurance which is "beyond tragedy." The cross, which stands at the centre of.
The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Address. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, This is the recognition that the finality or the ultimate that so possess the human quest for meaning .