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Martin Luther King, Jar. Is one of the most Intelligent minds and greatest leaders In United States history. HIS work as an activist Is what he Is most known for but his work as a philosopher and writer are equally as important. Among his works is the theological sermon “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” which highlights his thoughts on different types of religion and how he views his own faith. King explains how his experiences as a persecuted people have changed his views on religion and even strengthened his beliefs.
Dry. Martin Luther King, in his sermon “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence”, comes to his philosophic conclusions because of his experiences with racism and injustice. Dry. Martin Luther King, Jar. Why “Dry. “? What Is he a doctor of and how did he receive such a title? In reality, King received his Ph. D. In systematic theology so his title of “Dry. ” fits. He knows just about every religious theory known to man and has tried almost every one of them for himself. But what If he Is not only a literal doctor, but also a figurative one? Doctors heal, fix, and reconstruct major parts of the human body.
Martin Luther King not only knew religion but also knew how to heal, fix, and reconstruct people’s major ways of thinking; how to bend their unwavering minds to accept the “new systems of justice and equality’ (MILK 96). In “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence” he leads the reader through a Journey of religious idealism, which help us understand his thoughts and philosophic approach to life. Fundamentalism is the beginning to King’s Journey and one of the oldest beliefs there are. It implies a fundamental belief that whatever is said, written, or phrased is true to it’s word. For example, the bible is taken literally by a fundamentalist
Christian. The pessimism towards human nature Is a large part of fundamentalism. Everyone Is born with original sin and must learn to accept It but only those who can accept It and overturn It’s evil for good are going to move on to the afterlife. Dry. King wants the truthfulness and faith of fundamentalism but wants to explore other options, which aren’t as strict and pessimistic. He believes in a much better religion, which offers a strong base faith, with unconditional positive regard but keeps intellect close at heart. He needs to know there is something out there that will help IM to find Justice and stability in the world.
King grew up knowing only fundamentalism and was taken aback by all the new information he received waking from his “dogmatic slumber” (90). Liberalism was one of the first other religious structures he experienced. It is much more optimistic for human nature than fundamentalism and Is an enlightened idealism. Everyone Is born good but learns to become evil and God Is Immanent within and out of all people. King was Intrigued by the optimism for good In all people and the power of reason but he feared Its sympathy for sin and lack of Justice for It.
He believes reasoning blocks sin out as a rationalization for good. This works with how people think towards others: with different; such as being a certain race makes you better or worse than someone else. King wanted to avoid these liberalism rationalizations because they are more inclined to create sin and produce more problems than they may fix. Because reason is “devoid of the purifying power of faith”, it cannot be set to one moralistic view but may be changed infinitely to suit ones needs and views at any time, making it almost impossible for King to preach his ideas without skepticism (91).
Neo-orthodoxy is the return to fundamentalism but with a slight hold on liberalism. It holds the pessimistic nature of fundamentalism but keeps the intellectual enlightenment of liberalism. King discusses his disappointment with neo-orthodoxy and how its pessimism is too evident to answer questions, which are more easily told through liberalism. It’s stress on a “God who was hidden” and away from everyone put more emphasis on finding evidence than having faith, which King felt was not a way to live (91). He thought it was too harsh on human nature and wanted more faith in unanimity power for good and love.
Without the support of love, he could never bring others to realize their injustices against people of other races. Therefore, neo- orthodoxy was not satisfying enough for Dry. King. Existentialism is separate from the other idealism. It is more geared towards Kings argument of race and equality. “Existence precedes essence” is the main argument and explains the importance of thinking with an open mind and treating all as if their essence doesn’t exist. All are free to choose who they are but there are consequences for your actions, finite redeem, and limits to what you can do and be.
He thought the ideals were good for his moral reasoning but felt it lacked the power of faith in that God does not have to exist in order to be an existentialist. A lack of faith or moral reasoning could result in the opposite of what King wants, which is a lack of love and support for all people and their differences. Martin Luther King believed in a nonviolent, loving way to reveal racial injustice as the evil that it is. He was confused about racial injustice and thought it was “rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable” (92).
He wanted the violent arms race in the racial wars to end and start a new war of pacifism. “The aftermath of hatred and bitterness that usually follows a violent campaign” would only ruin his attempt at peace among the races (94). His experiences with injustice molded his ideals for love and peace in a religious structure that is positive and reasoning, yet holds true to itself. Through all the idealism he analyzed combined with his experiences in racial injustice, “Dry. ” King made a prescription of fundamentalism that is intellectual but shows the good that all people are capable of.
He believes that questioning the world is okay but having faith in a personal God is Just as important and maintaining that faith is essential to keeping yourself out of the evil of rationalizing. His “personal God” shows that everyone’s perspective will be different on how they view religion but to have one that is right for you will strengthen your faith more (96). He wants everyone to have they’re own interpretations but still keep that fundamentalist structure as a solid base. His conclusions lead to an open-minded, intellectual, loving, and serene coexistence, which needs not be called coexistence, but rather existence.