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He confirmed the religious convictions that the young man had already developed through his father's influences.King is said to have believed that without God, nonviolence lacked substance and potency.For example, he used the concept "agape" (Christian brotherly love) in ways that showed the unmistakable influence of Paul Ramsey.
King's own words closely echo this statement when he professes that, "the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution."As well, in later years, King talks of nonviolence as a way of catching or drawing one's opponent off balance and, as a result, potentially changing his or her mind.
When nonviolent resistance is practiced effectively, it can disarm one's opponent by weakening his moral defences and disturbing his conscience.
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.
He later recalled having been excited by Niebuhr's concept of man representing both a child of nature and a spirit who stood outside it.
He felt that Niebuhr led him to a fuller understanding of group behavior, human motives, and the connection between power and morality.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.Even though King recognized how greatly Black Americans were outnumbered and that it was, in effect, hopeless to attempt violence as a solution, he was skeptical of pacifism at this point. His warming toward nonviolence began on a Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, where in 1948, he attended a lecture by Dr. Next came Hegel and his contention that "truth is the whole." This fascinated King and convinced him that growth comes through struggle, an idea that would later prove very important in his life.While King deplored the substituting of materialism for religious values, he applauded Marx for exposing the injustices of capitalism, promoting class consciousness among the workers, and challenging the complacency of the Christian churches.The lectures from both King's parents on the subject of racial harmony stuck with Martin Luther and armed him against all forms of prejudice.King soon left to begin his formal education at Morehouse College, where he became acquainted with the remarkable president of the school, Dr. Mays, who influenced generations of black students.He assisted in the organization of voter registration drives, participated in the NAACP, and sat on the board of Morehouse College.As pastor of the local church, he embedded strong religious ideals in his son and linked him to the church.