(Saving Power, Ch. 8) H. Richard Niebuhr on Atonement: Treason and Reconciliation

Put yourself in the following situation: You have the cure for a desperately painful disease of which everyone hr-niebuhr.jpgsuffers. Yet, in order to explain the disease and prescribe the cure it requires you to find a language with which everyone can relate – a language that enables the diseased (alienated) to find touchstones that relate to them.

This is the situation into which H. Richard Niebuhr believes he must speak: A modern world that has no use for religious language, diverse faith communities unable to relate to one another, and those outside of or alienated from Christian faith. So Niebuhr writes “for the unbeliever and those in the faith community who still engage in the struggle for faith” not using language dominated by doctrinal or religious usage but places the conversation in the “tension of belief and unbelief, trust and mistrust” (Saving Power [SP], 263). Continue reading