chapter  85
3 Pages

Randall Jarrell, Review,'nation', April 1941

But even if this indicates that his Christianity may cease to be Christless, still it would remain somewhat heretical. For, in the midst of all its subtle differentiations - between tribulation and temptation, between doing evil and sinning - it fails to draw the customary and orthodox distinction between sin and guilt. It fails to recognize that although all men are sinners in the sight of God, some men are guiltier than others. It refuses to admit that Christians have the right and duty to oppose those of greater guilt. On this point I think that Reinhold Niebuhr - to mention a recent example - is the better moralist. The danger in a philosophy like Auden's, quite apart from any question of its truth, is that it might lead him and has already led some of his disciples into an attitude of pure passivity - and this at a moment when the passive toleration of evil may prove to be a form of collective suicide.