Wednesday 27 July 2011

Sam Haselby on Reinhold Niebuhr

I’ve only just caught up with a short piece from The Guardian last week on ‘why Reinhold Niebuhr matters now’, profiling renewed interest in the USA in his work.

‘His books are jeremiads, public exhortations linking spiritual renewal to social reform. Like their author, they are consumed with the challenge of pressing religion into worldly service, of applying the moral authority and insights of theology and religion to social and political problems... But his work also emphasises the dangers that accompany the use of power, the limitations of human foresight, and the chance that good intentions may bring bad results. Human imperfection and the dangers of power were his main themes. Because it inculcated a false sense of virtue and goodness, Niebuhr wrote, power was more likely to transgress God’s laws than do God’s work.’

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