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The On Being Project

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Moral Man and Immoral Society: Rediscovering Reinhold Niebuhr

Paul Elie, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and Robin Lovin

Moral Man and Immoral Society: Rediscovering Reinhold Niebuhr

We explore the ideas and present-day relevance of 20th century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, an influential, boundary-crossing voice in American public life. Niebuhr created the term "Christian realism:" a middle path between religious idealism and arrogance. Exploring his wide appeal, three distinctive voices describe Niebuhr's legacy and ask what insights he brings to the political and religious dynamics of the early 21st century.
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  • Paul Elie

    Paul Elie

    a senior fellow in Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He is the author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own and Reinventing Bach, and of essays and articles for the AtlanticNew York TimesVanity FairCommonweal, and other periodicals. He blogs regularly at Everything That Rises.

  • Jean Bethke Elshtain

    Jean Bethke Elshtain

    was an author and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

  • Robin Lovin

    Robin Lovin

    is Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and the author of Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism.