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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The Self

Dr. King quotes Henry Nelson Wieman's book "The Source of Human Good."

Erasmus

Dr. King writes about Erasmus, a Dutch scholar, who lived during the Reformation period.

Truth

Dr. King quotes Marcus Tullius Cicero’s “De Natura Deorum,” providing references from William Wallace’s “The Logic of Hegel.”

Jesus

Dr. King highlights the significant characteristics of Jesus Christ.

Papal Infallibility

Dr. King defines papal infallibility.

Barth

Dr. King writes on Barth's stance on the authoritative values of the Bible "in the tradition of Calvin."

Angels

Dr. King mentions the concept of patron angels that appears in Daniel 10:13, 20, and 21.

Transcendence and Immanence of God

Dr. King quotes Jeremiah 23:23, and he provides his interpretation of the biblical passage.

Three Stages of Christological Controversy

Dr. King lists three stages of Christological controversy. The third is the "relation" between the former two.

Augustine's Theory of Knowledge

Dr. King discusses St. Augustine's Theory of Knowledge. According to Augustine, "sense knowledge is the lowest level of knowledge."

Reason

Dr. King cites several scriptures from the Bible regarding reason.

Morality

Dr. King quotes Adolf Hitler on the "dirty and degrading self-mortification" of conscience and morality, from Erich Meissner's "Confusion of Faces."

Forgiveness and Repentance

Dr. King reviews a passage from the Book of Ezekiel regarding forgiveness and repentance. Summarizing the verse, he states that repentance involves an "actual change of attitude" and forgiveness includes forgetting past mistakes.

Man (Hamlet)

Dr. King quotes from the Shakespearean play.

Immortality

Dr. King cites the Old Testament Book of Isaiah regarding the topic of immorality.

Schleiermacher

Dr. King outlines Friedrich Schleiermacher's concept of religion.

Catholicism

Dr. King documents some insights regarding the history of the Roman Catholic church.

Man the Sinner

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

God

Dr. King expounds on "the eternality of God" by using the Book of Psalms.

God

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

War

Dr. King cites a quote concerning "war" from Oswald Spengler's "The Return of the Caesars," an article featured in The American Mercury.

Worship

Dr. King references William Ernest Hocking and James Bissett Pratt regarding religious worship.

Spirit of Law[s]

Dr. King summarizes “The Spirit of the Laws,” written by Montesquieu, a political philosopher of the Enlightenment period.

War

Dr. King quotes Napoleon, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and Gen. Omar Bradley on war as impractical.

God Nature

Dr. King sketches his thoughts on Saint Thomas Aquinas' "investigation of God's nature."

History

Dr. King references a quote from a book entitled "The Discipline of Liberty" concerning the philosophy of history.

Immaculate Conception

Dr. King reflects on the birth of Christ and the fact that Mary was "kept free from original sin."

God

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

Social Gospel

New York (NY)

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

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."