Famous Quotes By Reinhold Niebuhr


  1. Democracies are indeed slow to make war, but once embarked upon a martial venture are equally slow to make peace and reluctant to make a tolerable, rather than a vindictive, peace.
  2. Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.
  3. Forgiveness is the final form of love.
  4. 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.
  5. God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
  6. Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted and pure love without power is destroyed.
  7. I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.
  8. If we can find God only as he is revealed in nature we have no moral God.
  9. If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else.
  10. Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.
  11. Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime therefore we must be saved by hope.
  12. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone therefore we are saved by love.
  13. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history therefore we must be saved by faith.
  14. Our age knows nothing but reaction, and leaps from one extreme to another.
  15. The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.
  16. The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery.
  17. The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.
  18. The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism.
  19. There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war.
  20. There is no cure for the pride of a virtuous nation but pure religion.

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