"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." ---Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History. 1952
Krista Tippet of Public Radio's Speaking of Faith (http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/) discusses Niebuhr's Moral Man and Immoral Society in the show hyperlinked above. I listen to S o F as I drive to my church two counties away. I enjoy most of her programs, this one made me nostalgic for good public talk about faith spoken by wise and educated people. The talk we hear these days confuses me with it's partisan, selfish tone. The comments Niebuhr makes about "hubris" almost forced me off the road. You can read about the program and listen to it, if you wish.