Commonplace Book #172

The reactions of a group of ministers to an address on the relation of religion to modern life are always interesting… [An] old gentleman was there…who wanted to know whether I believed in the deity of Jesus. He is in every town. He seemed to be a nice sort, but he wanted to know how I could speak for an hour on the Christian church without once mentioning the atonement. Nothing, said he, but the blood of Jesus would save America from its perils. He made quite an impassioned speech. At first I was going to answer him but it seemed too useless. I finally told him I believed in blood atonement too, but since I hadn’t shed any of the blood of sacrifice which it demanded I felt unworthy to enlarge upon the idea.

Reinhold Niebuhr, Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic.