Quotation by Reinhold Niebuhr

If theology is an effort to construct a rational and systematic view of life out of the various and sometimes contradictory myths which are associated with a single religious tradition, philosophy carries the process one step further by seeking to dispense with the mythical basis altogether and resting its world-view entirely upon the ground of rational consistency. Thus for Hegel, religion is no more than primitive philosophy in terms of crude picture-thinking, which a more advanced rationality refines. This rationalization of myth is indeed inevitable and necessary, lest religion be destroyed by undisciplined and fantastic imagery or primitive and inconsistent myth. Faith must feed on reason. (Unamuno.) But reason must also feed on faith. Every authentic religious myth contains paradoxes of the relation between the finite and the eternal which cannot be completely rationalized without destroying the genius of true religion.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), U.S. theologian, historian. An Interpretation of Christian Ethics, ch. 1, Harper (1956).
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