Henri Nouwen: Upper-Middle Class

Posted by admin on Friday, July 8, 2022

Henri Nouwen Money Quote saying the middle and upper class help justify tough moral choices based on finances. Henri Nouwen said:
 
temptations of upper-middle class life is to create sharp edges of our moral sensitivities and allows a comfortable confusions about sin and virtue. The difference between rich and poor Quote
 

“One of the temptations of upper-middle class life is to create sharp edges of our moral sensitivities and allows a comfortable confusions about sin and virtue. The difference between rich and poor is not that the rich sin is more than the poor, that the rich find it easier to call sin a virtue. When the poor sin, they call it sin; when they see holiness, they identify it as such. The intuitive clarity is often absent from the wealthy, and that absence easily leads to the atrophy of the moral sense” — Henri Nouwen

 

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In this quote, Henri Nouwen seems to be critiquing how wealth can dull one’s moral clarity and make it easier to justify or rationalize sinful behaviors as virtues. Some key points:

  • He notes that upper-middle class life can foster “sharp edges of our moral sensitivities” through selective application of principles
  • Nouwen states that the rich find it easier to “call sin a virtue” when they engage in wrongdoing, whereas the poor readily identify their sins as such.
  • He implies the poor maintain more intuitive clarity between right and wrong due to their circumstances, while wealth can promote “comfortable confusions” that justify misconduct.
  • The quote conveys Nouwen’s perspective that affluence makes it simpler to dismiss or reframe transgressions through rationalization, whereas poverty preserves a straighter understanding of morality.

Overall, Nouwen appears to be suggesting that financial means can corrupt one’s ethical compass by providing excuses for misdeeds and a buffer from accountability, weakening the “moral sense”, whereas the poor tend to uphold clearer distinctions between virtue and vice according to their circumstances according to this critical view of how affluence may compromise principles.

Birthday: January 24, 1932 – Death: September 21, 1996

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