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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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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.

Man

Dr. King quotes Psalms 144:4 and comments briefly on this biblical passage.

Descartes

Dr. King quotes Rene Descartes' discovery of his famous principle. The idea, "I think, therefore I am," Descartes says, is essential, irrefutable and fitting to be the first principle of his philosophy.

History

Dr. King references a quote from St. Paul regarding a theological perspective of history.

Metaphysics

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

Sin

Dr. King writes about sin, according to Jeremiah 31: 29, 30.

God

Dr. King references the Old Testament book of Numbers regarding the topic of God.

Science (Definition)

Dr. King records a definition of science.

War (Just War)

Dr. King cites Francisco Suarez's definition of a "just war" from his "Tractibus de. Legibus."

Error

This set of note cards written by Dr. King explores the causation of error. King quotes Alfred North Whitehead's "The Concept of Nature" noting several reasons as to the rise of error.

Pessimism

Dr. King quotes John Hodgdon Bradley from an article in the December 1932 Atlantic Monthly, “Letter from a Scientist to a Priest.”

Ferm, Vergilius (ed)

New York (NY)

Dr. King cites a book written by Vergilius Ferm that discusses theology in America.

Schleiermacher

Dr. King quotes theologian Schleiermacher regarding the universe.

Paint

Noting the vastness of the sky and "heavens," Dr. King comments on the Earth, stars, and surrounding planets.

God

Dr. King cites a scripture from the biblical book of Isaiah regarding God's grace and mercy.

Ethics

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

Man (Cause of Sin)

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

Dictator

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

Watson

Dr. King references behaviorist John B. Watson regarding man's behavior.

The Secular in Relation to the Holy

Dr. King quotes theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich's "Systematic Theology." Dr. King's doctoral degree is in systematic theology from Boston University and his dissertation is on Paul Tillich. According to Tillich, secular and holy correlate and cannot act separately. Tillich states, "The holy embraces itself and the secular."

Transcendentalism

Dr. King provides background information on Ralph Waldo Emerson's theory of transcendentalism.

Dewey

Dr. King records John Dewey's views on philosophy and religion.

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King quotes Auguste Sabatier's "Outlines of a Philosophy of Religion Based on Psychology and History."

Augustine (Concept of Evil)

Dr. King quotes theologian St. Augustine's "Confessions."

Schleiermacher (Religion as More Than Knowledge)

Dr. King quotes Friedrich Schleiermacher’s “Speeches on Religion.” The full title of this work is “On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers.”

Religion (Definition)

Dr. King cites Vergilius Ferm’s “First Chapters in Religious Philosophy.”

Catholicism

Dr. King references American theologian Niebuhr's ideas regarding Catholicism and quotes, "It pretended that the church could mediate the divine, mercy and judgement without itself standing under that judgement or requiring that mercy." This quotes derives from Niebuhr's book "The Pope's Domesticated God."

Comte (A Criticism by Dr. R. flint)

Dr. King quotes a statement from Robert Flint's "Philosophy of History in France and Germany" which criticizes French philosopher, August Comte. Robert Flint was a Scottish philosopher.

Monotheism

Dr. King cites passages in the sixth century BCE Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55) as the first clear evidence of monotheism.

Freud

Dr. King draws an analogy between Columbus and Dr. Sigmund Freud in that each discovered a "continent."