Original Research

From the other side of doubt – overcoming anxiety and fear: Paul Tillich’s “courage to be” and Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Christian realism”

Yolanda Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 60, No 4 | a639 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v60i4.639 | © 2004 Yolanda Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2004 | Published: 26 October 2004

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Yolanda Dreyer, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Paul Tillich’s view on reality is that anxiety is part of being human. According to Reinhold Niebuhr, Christian realism has a realistic and an idealistic side to it. Reality is always changing and filled with tension. On the other hand there is a vision of otherworldliness, a vision of transcendence in everydayness. The theological nomer “Christian” indicates an awareness of God’s presence as well as the human tendency to be self-directed. The objectives of this article are to “rephrase” Niebuhr’s knowledge of the reality of the secular world, conceptualise Tillich’s categories of “anxiety” and “fear” against the background of the reality of the secular world, and explain Niebuhr’s notion of “Christian realism”. Their insights are used to empower the church to overcome homophobia in the faith community’s pastoral care of gays.


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