Martin Luther King – Religious Influences




The three people that influenced Martin Luther King the most, out of any others, were Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma K. Gandhi and Walter Rauschenbusch.


Out of these three, the person that influenced Martin Luther King the most was Mahatma K. Gandhi. The two names given to his philosophies are ‘Soul force’ and ‘Non violence’. The other name by which these philosophies are known is ‘Passive resistance’. Three ways in which this philosophy is carried out physically include Boycotts, Strikes and Mass marches. This philosophy was based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ.


The nineteenth-century philosopher that had influenced Mahatma Gandhi was a person named Henry David Thoreau, described as an abolitionist (a person who believes slavery must be ended). Thoreau was forced to serve a jail sentence because he downright refused to pay taxes to a government that allowed slavery to continue-this protest showed his and many blacks’ opinions. The name given to this type of protest is ‘Civil Disobedience’. The third person who influenced Martin Luther King was a man named Walter Rauschenbusch. Rauschenbusch believed that every religious person “should not only try to improve souls and thoughts but also to make their everyday lives happier and fair”. Rauschenbusch also said that “any religion which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that scar the soul, is a spiritually moribund religion”


M.L.K believed that this philosophy would help in the future by expressing himself in this formal manner. King believed that the economic injustice might be overcome by the same powerful, non – violent method that had overthrown segregation in the South.


The Evaluation


Martin Luther King Day is officially celebrated on the third Monday of January. This year, MLK Day was celebrated on Monday 19th January.


A special day to remember Martin Luther King would be a terrific idea as it gives us a chance to remember the teachings, beliefs and achievements of this great, inspiring man, who wouldn’t stop until blacks had achieved racial freedom. It also shows how determined he was, and could inspire many others.


A special day to remember Martin Luther King would not be a good idea because it could cause tension between blacks and whites. Also, memories of the Ku Klux Klan that people would rather forget could return.






Walter Rauschenbusch