Perhaps the church ought to be more concerned …

Reinhold Niebuhr:

Perhaps the church ought to be more concerned to bring the goodness of Christ as a judgment upon every fragmentary form of human goodness than to find the particular cause which might be identified with Christ. There are many good causes and just claims which turn to into evil at the precise point where absolute validity is ascribed to them. Is not religion, including the Christian religion, a fruitful source of fanaticism and bigotry precisely because men pretend that their good is the ultimate good in the name of religion; and because Christians so easily claim Christ as an ally without ever having experienced his love as a judgment upon the shoddy character of their so-called ‘values’ and upon the fragmentary of even their best causes?

We must, as Christians, constantly make significant moral and political decisions amidst and upon perplexing issues and hazardous ventures. We must even make them ‘with might’ and not halfheartedly. But the Christian faith gives us no warrant to lift ourselves above the world’s perplexities and to seek or to claim absolute validity for the stand we take. It does, however, encourage us to the charity, which is born of humility and contrition.

— Essays in Applied Christianity, 91-92

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