Genuine community is established only when the knowledge that we need one another is supplemented by the recognition that “the other,” that other form of life, or that other unique community is the limit beyond which our ambitions must not run and the boundary beyond which our life must not expand. It is significant that most genuine community is established below and above the level of conscious moral idealism. Below that level we find the strong forces of nature and nature-history, sex, and kinship, common language and geographically determined togetherness, operative. Above the level of idealism the most effective force of community is religious humility. This includes the charitable realization that the vanities of the other group or person, from which we suffer, is not different in kind, though possibly degree, from similar vanities in our own life. It also includes a religious sense of the mystery and greatness of the other life, which we violate if we seek to comprehend it too simply from our standpoint.
Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History, 139.