Macario Pineda’s novels, particularly his 1947 masterpiece Ang Ginto sa Makiling, engage fundamental questions about the moral nature of the human person and the possibility of societal transformation. Though dissimilar in personal background and social milieu from Pineda, Reinhold Niebuhr, social ethicist in twentieth-century American society, raises these same questions in his 1932 classic Moral Man and Immoral Society. Moreover, they similarly base their responses in Christian Faith. Pineda is uncompromising in his belief in the moral capacity of the person, especially when nurtured through education, to do good and thus to establish “Makiling,” his symbol of the transformed society, in our midst. Though convinced too of the individual moral goodness, Niebuhr is deeply aware of the powerful and corrupt forces at play in modern society, and therefore foresees an unrelenting struggle between individual goodness and society. Both Pineda and Niebuhr’s responses offer food for thought at a time when these same questions plague contemporary Philippine society.


Macario Pineda, Reinhold Niebuhr, Philippine social problem, moral freedom, social change

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