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A collection of quotes by Reinhold Niebuhr on inspiration, love, forgiveness, justice, serenity, democracy, politics, evil, theology, critic and faith.

25 Motivational Quotes By Reinhold Niebuhr, The Composer Of Serenity Prayer

Quick Facts

Famous As
Theologian

Born On
21 June 1892 AD

Died On
01 June 1971 AD

Born In
Wright City, Missouri

Died At Age
78

Reinhold Niebuhr was a renowned American theologian, political critic, and ethicist. He inspired the German-Americans to be loyal to America through his writings published in national magazines. He went on to serve as an Executive Secretary to the War Welfare Commission while working as a pastor in Detroit. He was inspired by Marxism to become the Professor of Practical Theology and dedicated his life to theology. During his term as a professor, he became an influential leader of a small section in the Socialist Party. This encouraged him to set-up the ‘Union for Democratic Action’, which aimed at advocating some of the salient features of democracy like ‘Internationalist Foreign Policy’. He was also successful as a writer as he wrote various books including ‘The Irony of American History’. His most notable books were ‘The Irony of American History’ and ‘The Nature and Destiny of Man’ which continue to inspire great politicians globally. He was honored with the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom’ for his great contributions in the field of theology. His thoughts, writings, speeches, work and life has been a great source of inspiration for people. Here is a compilation of quotations and sayings by Reinhold Niebuhr that are sure to motivate you.

...until the fear of catastrophe amends, or catastrophe itself destroys...

- Reinhold Niebuhr

...the evils against which we contend are frequently the fruits of illusions which are similar to our own.

- The Irony of American History, Reinhold Niebuhr

For man as an historical creature has desires of indeterminate dimensions.

- The Irony of American History, Reinhold Niebuhr

The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible.

- Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History, Reinhold Niebuhr

Humor is a prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Self-righteousness is the inevitable fruit of simple moral judgments.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Democracy is finding proximate solutions to insoluble problems.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Religion, declares the modern man, is consciousness of our highest social values. Nothing could be further from the truth. True religion is a profound uneasiness about our highest social values.

- Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History, Reinhold Niebuhr

The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Goodness, armed with power, is corrupted; and pure love without power is destroyed.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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

- Reinhold Niebuhr

The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt. It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable

- The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses, Reinhold Niebuhr

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, Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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, Reinhold Niebuhr

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

- Reinhold Niebuhr

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

- Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

- Reinhold Niebuhr