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

The most impressive Reinhold Niebuhr quotes that will be huge advantage for your personal development

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.


Every experience proves that the real problem of our existence lies in the fact that we ought to love one another, but do not.


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.


There was a time when I had all the answers.

My real growth began when I discovered that the questions to which I had the answers were not the important questions.


Nationalism: One of the effective ways in which the modern man escapes life's ethical problems.


Forgiveness is the final form of love.


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.


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


Toleration of people who differ in convictions and habits requires a residual awareness of the complexity of truth and the possibility of opposing view having some light on one or the other facet of a many-sided truth.


All men are naturally included to obscure the morally ambiguous element in their political cause by investing it with religious sanctity.


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. Grant me the patience with changes that take time, appreciation of all that I have, tolerance of those with different struggles, and the strength to get up and try again, one day at a time.


All men who live with any degree of serenity live by some assurance of grace.


About Reinhold Niebuhr

Quotes 169 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Theologian
Birthday October 16

[There is] an increasing tendency among modern men to imagine themselves ethical because they have delegated their vices to larger and larger groups.


The cross symbolizes a cosmic as well as historic truth.

Love conquers the world, but its victory is not an easy one.


The will-to-live becomes the will-to-power.


Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.


The prophet himself stands under the judgment which he preaches.

If he does not know that, he is a false prophet.


The measure of our rationality determines the degree of vividness with which we appreciate the needs of other life, the extent to which we become conscious of the real character of our own motives and impulses, the ability to harmonize conflicting impulses in our own life and in society, and the capacity to choose adequate means for approved ends.


If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else.


Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.


Our age knows nothing but reaction, and leaps from one extreme to another.


God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed.


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.


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


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.


Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone;

therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.


The old prose writers wrote as if they were speaking to an audience;

while, among us, prose is invariably written for the eye alone.


The chief source of man's inhumanity to man seems to be the tribal limits of his sense of obligation to other men.


Our dreams of bringing the whole of human history under the control of the human will are ironically refuted by the fact that no group of idealists can easily move the pattern of history toward the desired goal of peace and justice. The recalcitrant forces in the historical drama have a power and persistence beyond our reckoning.


We Protestants ought to humbly confess that the theater and the sports have done more for race amity, for race understanding than, on the whole, the Protestant Church in certain type, in certain parts of the nation.


Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith but in doubt.

It is when we are unsure that we are doubly sure.


Man is endowed by nature with organic relations to his fellow men;

and natural impulse prompts him to consider the needs of others even when they compete with his own.


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


Cheese, wine, and a friend must be old to be good.


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


It is significant that it is as difficult to get charity out of piety as to get reasonableness out of rationalism.


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.


Marxism is the modern form of Jewish prophecy.


Men have never been individually self-sufficient.


The intimate relation between humor and faith is derived from the fact that both deal with the incongruities of our existence. Laughter is our reaction to immediate incongruities and those which do not affect us essentially. Faith is the only possible response to the ultimate incongruities of existence, which threaten the very meaning of our life.


Life has no meaning except in terms of responsibility.


It is my strong conviction that a realist conception of human nature should be made a servant of an ethic of progressive justice and should not be made into a bastion of conservatism, particularly a conservatism which defends unjust privileges.


I think I have one answer, that is partly religious and partly secular;

and that is to say, we ought to at least recognize that we and the Russians are in a common predicament. That would be religious in the sense, "Judge not lest you be judged."


There is no social evil, no form of injustice whether of the feudal or the capitalist order which has not been sanctified in some way or other by religious sentiment and thereby rendered more impervious to change.


The final test of religious faith... is whether it will enable men to endure insecurity without complacency or despair, whether it can so interpret the ancient verities that they will not become mere escape hatches from responsibilities but instruments of insights into what civilization means.


We have, on the whole, more liberty and less equality than Russia has.

Russia has less liberty and more equality. Whether democracy should be defined primarily in terms of liberty or equality is a source of unending debate.


There is no cure for the pride of a virtuous nation but pure religion.


I think that the Christian faith is right as against simple forms of secularism.

That it believes that there is in man a radical freedom, and this freedom is creative but it is also destructive. And there's nothing that prevents this from being both creative and destructive.


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.