Niebuhr on Sin

Reinhold Niebuhr
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Man is insecure and involved in natural contingency; he seeks to overcome his insecurity by a will-to-power which overreaches the limits of human creatureliness. . . . Man is ignorant and involved in the limitations of a finite mind; but he pretends he is not limited. He assumes he can gradually transcend finite limitation until his mind becomes identical with universal mind. All of his intellectual and cultural pursuits, therefore, become infected with the sin of pride. Man’s pride and will-to-power disturb the harmony of creation. The Bible defines sin in both religious and moral terms. The religious dimension of sin is man’s rebellion against God. . . . The moral and social dimension of sin is injustice. The ego which falsely makes itself the center of existence in its pride and will-to-power inevitably subordinates other life to its will and thus does injustice to other life. – ]], The Nature and Destiny of Man

The human is sinful when he or she tries to be anything more than human.

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