Themes

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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.

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Tests of Great Music

Dr. King lists five criteria to use to evaluate whether a piece of music is great. Great music should hold its appeal over time, connect different experiences, foster a deeper life experience, unify history and integrate the individual personality.

Atheism

Dr. King records a Francis Bacon quote on atheism.

Marx

Dr. King quotes an unknown source on Marx.

Art

Dr. King describes art as "alleviating the ills of life."

Some Things We Can Do

In this series of note cards entitled "Some Things We Can Do," Dr. King provides several suggestions pertaining to the African American community.

Sin

Dr. King references the Old Testament biblical book of Leviticus regarding the topic of sin.

Schleiermacher (The Essence of Christianity)

Dr. King writes that Friedrich Schleiermacher describes the essence of Christianity as a belief in Jesus as the origin of the Christian faith and his work as that of redemption.

Kierkegaard (Paradox)

Dr. King quotes Kierkegaard and comments on his view of paradox.

God

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

God

Dr. King expresses the power of God as being infinite beyond comprehension of man.

Substance

Dr. King records some thoughts on the topic "substance," "a term used to signify that which is sought when philosophers investigate the primary being of things."

Perceiving God (Wieman)

Dr. King summarizes Henry Nelson Wieman's article "Can God Be Perceived" that appeared in The Journal of Religion (1943).

Suffering

Dr. King quotes William James' essay "Is Life Worth Living?"

Quasi Positivism

Dr. King outlines philosopher Alfred North Whitehead's views on the relationship between metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Referencing Whitehead's work "The Concept of Nature," this note card contains a quote from the original text and also paraphrases Whitehead's writings.

Sin

Dr. King provides insight on the "secret of sin."

Notecard Listing Various Scriptures from Isaiah

Dr. King lists numerous scriptures from the Old Testament book of Isaiah related to the topics of righteous living, anger and sin.

Rauschenbusch on Sin

Dr. King references and outlines Rauschenbusch's view on sin. Rauschenbusch was a Baptist minister and a key figure in the Social Gospel movement.

Philosophy of History

Dr. King writes about the philosophy of history according to Isaiah 41: 1-7.

God

Dr. King writes about God's love according to Ezra 3:11.

Montesquieu

Dr. King references French social commentator Montesquieu regarding his ideas on history. King quotes, "He attempts to show how civilization has been modified by the action of the external world."

Apostles' Creed

Dr. King outlines the history of the Apostles' Creed and states the creed in its Roman form.

Suffering

Dr. King cites chapter 5, verse 7 of the Old Testament book of Job. This scripture highlights the fact that trouble is necessary in life.

Christianity

Dr. King references Emil Brunner's argument on Christianity.

Ethics

Dr. King quotes a scripture from the book of Psalms discussing ethics.

Progress

Dr. King quotes from Browning's "A Death in the Desert."

Social Gospel

Dr. King defines social gospel with a quotation from Shailer Mathews and G. B. Smith's "A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics."

Toynbee: List of Twenty-One Societies

Dr. King notes the twenty-one civilizations described in Arnold Toynbee's "A Study of History."

Science and Religion

Dr. King documents a quote regarding science and religion from "The Finding of God."

Man

Dr. King records one atheist’s perspective on man.

Contradiction

Dr. King writes a quote expressing the bounds of consciously living in contradiction.