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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Judgment

Dr. King references the Book of Amos regarding the "day of the Lord." According to Amos, this would be a day of judgment, opposed to a day of national exaltation.

Suffering

Dr. King expounds upon suffering and notes that things which may not appear as defeat, may be transformed in victory.

Social Ethics

Dr. King writes about "Social Ethics" as discussed in the second chapter of the Old Testament book, Malachi.

God, Knowledge Of (Wieman)

Dr. King quotes Henry Nelson Wieman's article "How Do We Know God?" from the Journal of Religion.

Society

Dr. King quotes a statement from Charles H. Cooley's "The Social Process," in which Cooley defines society as a living, unified group of processes.

Matter (Aristotelian Concept)

Here, Dr. King discusses the functional differences between matter and form.

Social Justice

Dr. King notes that Isaiah 1:11-17 describes various forms of worship and declares that God will not hear them but demands righteousness and fulfillment of social obligations. He compares this passage with the prophet Amos.

Justification

Dr. King quotes Albrecht Ritschl as he discusses the concept of justification and its relationship to sin, guilt and salvation.

God

Dr. King describes Psalms 135:5 as henotheism: belief in a god without denying the existence of other gods. Because God is the only one worthy of worship, King concludes that the Hebrews were practical monotheists.

Schleiermacher (The Church)

Dr. King quotes Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “The Christian Faith.”

Monothelitism

Dr. King outlines the principles of Monothelitism.

Dictator

Dr. King reveals the definition of a dictator according to Plato.

Death

Dr. King records some notes on death.

God

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

Barth, Karl

Dr. King comments on Karl Barth's view that Christ assumed fallen human nature.

Knowing God (Wieman)

Dr. King notes Henry Nelson Wieman's ideas on how man comes to know God.

Berdyaev

Dr. King quotes a passage from Nikolai Berdyaev's "Slavery and Freedom" about religious, technological and spiritual revolutions.

Sin

Dr. King writes that Isaiah 1:18-20 indicates that sacrifices are not needed to be saved from sin; willingness and obedience are the way to be saved.

Sacrifice

Dr. King explains that Isaiah 1:11 means God can’t be appeased by sacrifice but demands righteous living.

Forgiveness

Dr. King gives examples of what it means to forgive. Among other definitions, forgiveness means "that the past is overlooked" and that there is "a renewal of higher fellowship."

Man

Dr. King writes about man's estimation of finiteness and freedom.

Right & Wrong

Dr. King quotes James Martineau’s “Types of Ethical Theory, Volume II.”

Hegel

Dr. King documents a quote from philosopher Thomas Hegel regarding God and knowledge before commenting with his own thoughts.

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King references McTaggart's perception of religion as being an emotional resting between ourselves and the universe.

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King notes Herbert Spencer’s definition of religion.

What Is a Cause

Dr. King quotes Alfred North Whitehead's "Principles of Natural Knowledge."

Humanism

Dr. King discusses the relationship between God and humanist thinking.

Messianic Hope

Dr. King writes these notes on "Messianic Hope" from Isaiah 11:6 and 11:8. He quotes Ludwig Feuerbach, a German philosopher, from his work "The Essence of Religion."

God

Dr. King quotes Dr. William Temple, stating that "God minus the world equals God; the world minus God equals nothing."

Job, Ecclesiastes and Daniel

Dr. King quotes several scriptures from the biblical Books of Job, Ecclesiastes and Daniel concerning each author's views on mortality and immortality.