Conquering Megalomania and Despair: A Niebuhrian Response to the Politico-Economic Impasse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The works of Reinhold Niebuhr contain invaluable examples of how Christian resources can be fruitfully exploited to address urgent economic and political issues. The ideas of sin and continuous redemption, which arguably belong to the core of the Christian faith, are creatively translated by Niebuhr, so that they can be included in public debates and interdisciplinary dialogues. In this article, his conception of sin as the perversion of the will-to-live into the will-to-power is endorsed. Its counterforce, it is argued, is human love infused with divine love. Love is, therefore, not a simple possibility, which can be applied to our economic and political problems. Instead, it is the impossible possibility, the ultimate and critical perspective from which prevailing forms of justice and philanthropy are judged. Through the public theology of Niebuhr, the ideal of love becomes a universally valid alternative to the rationalist and naturalist
approaches to human morality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-359
JournalInternational Journal of Public Theology
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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love
economics
philanthropy
theology
morality
faith
justice
dialogue
Economics
Despair
Impasse
resources
Interdisciplinary Dialogue
Redemption
Political Issues
Conception
Reinhold Niebuhr
Perversion
Divine Love
Resources

Cite this

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abstract = "The works of Reinhold Niebuhr contain invaluable examples of how Christian resources can be fruitfully exploited to address urgent economic and political issues. The ideas of sin and continuous redemption, which arguably belong to the core of the Christian faith, are creatively translated by Niebuhr, so that they can be included in public debates and interdisciplinary dialogues. In this article, his conception of sin as the perversion of the will-to-live into the will-to-power is endorsed. Its counterforce, it is argued, is human love infused with divine love. Love is, therefore, not a simple possibility, which can be applied to our economic and political problems. Instead, it is the impossible possibility, the ultimate and critical perspective from which prevailing forms of justice and philanthropy are judged. Through the public theology of Niebuhr, the ideal of love becomes a universally valid alternative to the rationalist and naturalistapproaches to human morality.",
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Conquering Megalomania and Despair: A Niebuhrian Response to the Politico-Economic Impasse. / Ossewaarde-Lowtoo, Roshnee.

In: International Journal of Public Theology, Vol. 13, 10.2019, p. 339-359.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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