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Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics$
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Richard Harries and Stephen Platten

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199571833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571833.001.0001

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What Makes Us Think That God Wants Democracy?

What Makes Us Think That God Wants Democracy?

Chapter:
(p.154) 11 What Makes Us Think That God Wants Democracy?
Source:
Reinhold Niebuhr and Contemporary Politics
Author(s):

Richard Harries (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571833.003.0012

This chapter considers Niebuhr's defence of liberal democracy and argues that he did not give a firm enough theological foundation to the first part of his famous aphorism, namely that ‘Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible’. It then considers the criticism of Oliver O'Donovan who, whilst regarding democracy as good for our own society rejects the idea that it is of universal validity and applicability. It is argued that rejecting any hint of imperialism, there are elements within liberal democracy that are fundamental to a Christian view of every society.

Keywords:   Reinhold Niebuhr, liberal democracy, justice, Oliver O'Donovan

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