Reinhold Niebuhr hat 1941-43 seine zweibändige Anthropologie publiziert – unter dem Eindruck der beiden Weltkriege. Was würde sich wohl ändern, wenn die Lehre der Ursprungssünde wieder in die politischen und regulatorischen Überlegungen, die in Folge der Wirtschaftskrise aufgekommen sind, einbezogen würden?
All thought since the Renaissance, in spite of its apparent variety, forms one coherent whole. … It all rests on the same conception of the nature of man and all exhibits the same inability to recognize the meaning of the dogma of original sin. In this period not only have its philosophy, its literature and its ethics been based upon this new conception of man as fundamentally good, as sufficient, as the measure of things; but a good case can be made out for regarding many of its characteristic economic features as springing entirely from this central abstract conception. (T. E. Hulme, zitiert in Reinhold Niebuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man, Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville/London 1996, S. 93)
Niebuhr fügt später hinzu:
The utopian illusions and sentimental aberrations of modern liberal culture are really all derived from the basic error of negating the fact of original sin. … When these schemes fail of realization or are realized only after tragic conflicts, modern men either turn from utopianism to disillusionment and despair, or they seek to place the onus of their failure upon some particular social group or upon some particular form of economic and social organization. (273)