“a dry as dust religion in need of new blood”

Religion at its best is a two-way road. On the one hand it seeks to change the soul of the individual so that he can be one with himself and with God. On the other hand it seeks to change environmental conditions so that the soul can have a chance once it is changed. Therefore any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about economic conditions that cripple them and the social conditions that damn them is a dry as dust religion in need of new blood. –MLK, Advice for Living, Ebony Magazine

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“broad universalism standing at the center of the Christian Gospel”

I do not feel that a man can be a Christian and a staunch segregationist simultaneously. All men, created alike in the image of God, are inseparately bound together. This is at the very heart of the Christian Gospel. This broad universalism standing at the center of the Christian Gospel makes segregation morally evil. Racial segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we have in Christ. There is not a single passage in the Bible–properly interpreted–that can be used as an argument for segregation. Segregation is utterly unchristian. It substitutes the person-thing relationship for the person-to-person relationship. — Advice for Living, Ebony Magazine, 1957 MLK

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“the words of the Apostle Paul must be interpreted in terms of the historical setting”

Like many Biblical affirmations, the words of the Apostle Paul must be interpreted in terms of the historical setting and psychological mood of the age in which they were written. The Apostle Paul–along with all of the early Christians–believed that the world was coming to an end in a few days. Feeling that the time was not long the Apostle Paul urged men to concentrate on preparing themselves for the new age rather than changing external conditions. It was this belief in the coming new age and the second coming of Christ which conditioned a great deal of Paul’s thinking. Early Christianity was far from accepting the existing social order as satisfactory, but it was conscious of no mission to change it for the better. It taught its adherence neither to conform to the external framework of their time, nor to seek directly to alter it, but to live within it a life rooted in a totally different order. Today we live in a new age, with a different theological emphasis; consequently we have both a moral and religious justification for passively resisting evil conditions within the social order. — Advice for Living, Ebony Magazine, 1957 MLK

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It is often true that we suffer

because of sins we consciously or unconsciously commit. There are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws, and when we disobey these moral laws we suffer tragic consequences. It is also true that the interrelatedness of human life often necessitates our suffering for the sins of our forefathers. We must admit, however, that we are often the victims of pain and suffering that cannot be explained by sins committed by ourselves or our forefathers. We must admit that there is some mystery surrounding God’s being. There are certain things that happen in our lives and in the life of the universe that we just can’t explain in rational terms. — Advice for Living, Ebony Magazine, 1957 MLK

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“An endless reign of meaningless chaos.”

As a race we must struggle passionately and unrelentingly to the goal of justice, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice; we must never become bitter. We must never succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, for if this happens unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. — A Look to the Future, MLK

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“in each period there finally came a decision from the Supreme Court to give legal and constitutional validity to the dominant thought patterns of that particular period.”

As we look over the long sweep of race relations in America, we notice that there has been something of an evolutionary growth over the years. There have been at least three distinct periods in the history of race relations in this nation, each representing growth over a former period. It is interesting to note that in each period there finally came a decision from the Supreme Court to give legal and constitutional validity to the dominant thought patterns of that particular period. — A Look to the Future, MLK

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