Essay On Martin Luther King Jr Philosophy

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Academic Influences It was with a strong Christian faith in hand that Martin Luther King embarked upon his formal education.

He said that Henry David Thoreau's essay, "Civil Disobedience," was his "first intellectual contact with the theory of nonviolence and resistance." It was primarily Thoreau's concept of refusing to cooperate with an evil system which so intrigued Dr. As Martin moved on to the seminary, he began to pass countless hours studying social philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke.

Niebuhr played a vital part in stimulating the renaissance of theology in the United States.

King was intrigued by the key ideas in Niebuhr's theological book, The Nature and Destiny of Man (1941).

It was this work which made King realize that a person's day-to-day socioeconomic environment was important to Christianity.

In King's later career, he came to be associated to certain thinkers by the content of his speeches and writings.

For example, he used the concept "agape" (Christian brotherly love) in ways that showed the unmistakable influence of Paul Ramsey.

Ramsey has coined the phrase "enemy-neighbor" (the neighbor includes the enemy) and referred to regarding him with love as the ultimate in agape, for in such cases nothing can be expected in return.

It was in part due to his reading of Marx that King became convinced that capitalism had failed the needs of the masses and that it had outlived its usefulness.

When it comes to identifying his greatest influence, however, I think King might place Walter Rauschenbush ahead of all of these philosophers, for his book Christianity and the Social Crisis.


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