Sunday, November 13, 2016

Reinhold Niebuhr identified evil in the world and as a philosopher attracted spiritual people to his philosophy.

"The Irony of American History" (click here)

November 2007
By Paul Elie

In the debate over the war on terror (click here) (and just about everything else, too), neocons and liberals, theocons and Christian pacifists, idealists and realists have all called upon the writings of the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. What does the promiscuous invocation of his work tell us about the man—and about his would-be acolytes?...

...Where, he asked, was the wisdom of his old friend Reinhold Niebuhr when the country needed it? “Why, in an age of religiosity, has Niebuhr, the supreme American theologian of the 20th century, dropped out of 21st-century religious discourse?”

Schlesinger was evidently unaware that the Niebuhr revival he called for was already under way. In think tanks, on op-ed pages, and on divinity-school quadrangles, Niebuhr’s ideas are more prominent than at any time since his death, in 1971. The seminary professor who was anointed the national conscience during the atomic era is once more a figure whose very name suggests a principled, hardheaded approach to war and peace....