Reinhold Niebuhr zu Sünde und ihren gesellschaftlichen Folgen

Um einen etwas breiteren Hintergrund zum bekannten US-Theologen Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) zu bekommen, habe ich den Wikipedia-Artikel gelesen. Die Informationen sind hilfreich, die Quellen ziemlich breit abgestützt.

Interessant ist die Zusammenfassung seiner Aussagen zu Sünde und Gesellschaft:

His major contribution was his view of sin as a social event — as pride — with selfish self-centeredness as the root of evil. The sin of pride was apparent not just in criminals, but more dangerously in people who felt good about their deeds …The human tendency to corrupt the good was the great insight he saw manifested in governments, business, democracies, utopian societies, and churches. This position is laid out profoundly in one of his most influential books, Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932). He was a debunker of hypocrisy and pretense and made the avoidance of self-righteous illusions the center of his thoughts. Niebuhr argued that to approach religion as the individualistic attempt to fulfill biblical commandments in a moralistic sense is not only an impossibility but also a demonstration of man’s original sin, which Niebuhr interpreted as self-love. Through self-love man becomes focused on his own goodness and leaps to the false conclusion — one which he calls the “Promethean illusion” — that he can achieve goodness on his own. Thus man mistakes his partial ability to transcend himself for the ability to prove his absolute authority over his own life and world. Constantly frustrated by natural limitations, man develops a lust for power which destroys him and his whole world. History is the record of these crises and judgments which man brings on himself; it is also proof that God does not allow man to overstep his possibilities. In radical contrast to the Promethean illusion, God reveals himself in history, especially personified in Jesus Christ, as sacrificial love which overcomes the human temptation to self-deification and makes possible constructive human history.