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Note Cards

Education was essential in the development of the mind of Martin Luther King, Jr. From his matriculation at Morehouse College through his doctoral studies at Boston University, Dr. King took notes on various subjects and referenced some of the most important philosophers of all time. The note cards shown in this section give you a glimpse into the molding of one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers and orators. Religion, natural law, metaphysics and the meaning of wisdom are just a few of the topics highlighted. These subjects and many more helped Dr. King’s capacity to expand his intellectual and spiritual capacity three dimensionally.

Ideal Forms

Dr. King discusses ideal forms and eternal objects as described in Alfred North Whitehead's "Science and the Modern World" and "Religion in the Making."

Man (Divided Against Himself)

Referencing the liberal German historian Friedrich Meinecke, Dr. King describes a philosophy on politics as it relates to humanity and one's morals.

Suffering

Dr. King records J. S. Mill’s view of suffering.

Man the Sinner

Dr. King quotes Reinhold Niebuhr’s “The Nature and Destiny of Man.”

God

Dr. King references the Old Testament book of Job. In this scripture, Job regains hope in the midst of tribulation.

Contradiction and the Power of God

Dr. King reflects on man's understanding of God and salvation.

Progress

Dr. King notes and comments on a quote from James H. Robinson's "The New History" on the eternal law of progress.

God

Dr. King records a note on French scholar Ernest Renan's prophecy in relation to God.

Scientific Method (Wieman)

Dr. King quotes Henry Nelson Wieman's "Religious Experience and Scientific Method." He used this quote in his doctoral dissertation, "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman."

Ethics

Dr. King writes on the topic "ethics," according to Proverbs 6: 17-19.

Evil

Dr. King references the religious philosopher William Ernest Hocking regarding the topic of evil.

Man

Dr. King quotes Jonathan Swift’s scathing assessment of man.

War

Citing two sources concerning war, Dr. King notes the opinions of Dr. Charles W. Mayo and John M. Fletcher. Dr. Mayo believes that it is impossible to abolish war, as "war is part of our human inheritance," while Fletcher takes the opposite view in his book "Human Nature and World Peace."

Love

Dr. King quotes Ames' 1933 book entitled "Art" regarding the topic of love. "Love is the true life of man. God is love, and the kingdom of God is within us."

Reason (William James)

Dr. King quotes William James' "The Variety of Religious Experience."

Metaphysics

Dr. King quotes F. H. Bradley’s “Appearance and Reality.”

Immortality

Dr. King finds the best description of the unknowable nature of immortality in the New Testament of the Bible. It is a fragment of 1 Corinthians 2:9 regarding heaven.

Faith and Reason

Dr. King references Albert Knudson's "The Doctrine of God."

Worship

Dr. King quotes an excerpt from James Bissett Pratt's "Religious Consciousness," which focuses on the purpose of the Protestant sermon. Dr. King expands Pratt's analysis to encompass the entire Protestant service.

God (Definition)

Dr. King records ideas on Karl Marx's and John Dewey's definitions of God.

Cause, Error and Law

Dr. King quotes from Alfred North Whitehead's The Concept of Nature.

The Servant of Jehovah

Dr. King writes that Isaiah 41:1-6 seems to describe the servant of the Lord as the personification of Israel, whose task is to bring peace and prosperity to Israel and knowledge of Him to the entire world.

God

Dr. King uses a verse from the Book of Nehemiah to illustrate God's faithfulness.

God

Dr. King quotes Donald M. Baillie's "God Was in Christ."

Judaism

Dr. King highlights a quote regarding the distinction between Reform, Orthodox and Conservative Judaism.

The Transcendental Dialectics

Dr. King writes on the "soul" and the "world" as two ideas of reason. He speaks to the human tendency to apply the categories of quantity, quality, relation, and modality to our understanding of the self. King ends these notes by contemplating "two absolutely contradictory propositions [that] seem to be established by the refutation of the other."

Freedom

Dr. King summarizes theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and his conceptualization of "Freedom."

Nature

Dr. King quotes Aristotle's "Physics, Book II" and notes Spinoza's view of nature.

Augustinanism

Dr. King writes notes on Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and his "vast theological system" called Augustinianism. Dr. King describes the system as a comprehensive church philosophy that was very pessimistic about the nature of man.

God

Dr. King describes the power of God.

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