The Ethics quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Ethics quotes by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“Political action means taking on responsibility. This cannot happen without power. Power is to serve responsibility.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: politics, power, responsibility


“The task of pastoral ministry, above all else, is to arrange contingencies for an encounter with the divine.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics


“A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self. Every attempt to live as if he were alone is a denial of the fact that he is actually responsible. He cannot escape the responsibility, which is his because he is a father. This reality refutes the fictitious notion that the isolated individual is the agent of all ethical behavior. It is not the isolated individual but the responsible person who is the proper agent to be considered in ethical reflection.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: duty, ethics, fathers, responsibility


“Those who wish even to focus on the problem of a Christian ethic are faced with an outrageous demand-from the outset they must give up, as inappropriate to this topic, the very two questions that led them to deal with the ethical problem: ‘How can I be good?’ and ‘How can I do something good?’ Instead they must ask the wholly other, completely different question: ‘What is the will of God?”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: action, duty, ethics, responsibility


“The limitation of the ethical phenomenon to its place and time does not imply its rejection but, on the contrary, its validation. One does not use canons to shoot sparrows.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics

tags: appropriateness, ethics, moderation, overkill


“It is worse for a liar to tell the truth than for a lover of truth to lie.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics


“The task is not to turn the world upside down but in a given place to do what, from the perspecive of reality, is necessary objectively and to really carry it out.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: action, responsibility


“What is worse than doing evil, is being evil” (Ethics, p.67). To lie is wrong, but what is worse than the lie is the liar, for the liar contaminates everything he says, because everything he says is meant to further a cause that is false. The liar as liar has endorsed a world of falsehood and deception, and to focus only on the truth or falsity of his particular statements is to miss the danger of being caught up in his twisted world. This is why, as Bonhoeffer says, that “(i)t is worse for a liar to tell the truth than for a lover of truth to lie” (Ethics, p.67).”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: evil, lie, truth-telling


“Due to some dim but irresistible notion of the way things are, it is simply not possible, out of order, not apprpriate to the situation at hand, if, within the circle of those who are experienced and advanced in years, the young person declaims ethical generalities. Young people will again and again find themselves in a situation that is so irritating, astounding, and incomprehensible to them that their word falls on deaf ears, while the word of an older person is heard and has weight even though its content is no different at all. It will be a sign of maturity or immaturity whether this experience leads them to understand that what is at stake here is not the stubborn self-satisfaction of old age, or the anxious effort to keep youth in their place, but the pereservation or violation of an essential ethical law. Ethical discourse needs authorization, which youth are simply not able to bestow upon themselves, even if they speak out of the purest pathos of their ethical conviction. Ethical discourse does not merely depend on the correct content of what is said, but also on the speaker being authorized to say it. Its validity depends not only on what is said, but also on who says it.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: age, appropriateness, ethics, validity, wisdom, youth


“Do and dare what is right, not swayed by the whim of the moment. Bravely take hold of the real, not dallying now with what might be. Not in the flight of ideas but only in action is freedom. Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of living. God’s command is enough and your faith in him to sustain you. Then at last freedom will welcome your spirit amid great rejoicing.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics


“The figure of the crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: discipleship, success


“Principles are only tools in the hands of God; they will soon be thrown away when they are no longer useful.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: christian, ethics, religion


“Just as God’s love entered the world, thereby submitting to the misunderstanding and ambiguity that characterize everything worldly, so also Christian love does not exist anywhere but in the worldly, in an infinite variety of concrete worldly action, and subject to misunderstanding and condemnation. Every attempt to portray a Christianity of ‘pure’ love purged of worldly ‘impurities’ is a false purism and perfectionism that scorns God’s becoming human and falls prey to the fate of all ideologies. God was not too pure to enter the world.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: theology


“The Christian life is participation in the encounter of Christ with the world.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics tags: christian-life, encounter, partcipation, world


“Life is not a thing, an essence, or a concept,[10] but a person—more specifically, a particular and unique person.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics


“Originally man was made in the image of God, but now his likeness to God is a stolen one. As the image of God man draws his life entirely from his origin in God, but the man who has become like God has forgotten how he was at his origin and has made himself his own creator and judge.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics