April 4, 2012

Reinhold Niebuhr

The sheik character in the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen had a lot to say about faith, and it was elevated from the usual "You gotta have faith!" optimism of some. It made me think of this quote by Reinhold Niebuhr, which takes the famous II Corinthians 13 verse on faith, hope, and love as its starting point:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone;
therefore, we must be 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.

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