The Value Of Religion In "Strength To Love" By Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. wrote Strength to Love to emphasize on “the value of religion”. He was a man with strong religious beliefs and he explicitly portrayed that through his preaching and sermons. Kings’ sermon was inspired by the bible verse “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Using the verse, he compared serpents to tough mindedness and doves to tender heartedness. Serpents are thought to be sneaky or shrewd or evil, on the other hand, doves are a symbol of peace, and they are considered to be harmless and innocent.

MLK made a point about “the tough mind and the tender heart” to portray the need for more tough minded and tender hearted people in our society. He argued that it is difficult to find people with both characteristics of the serpent and the dove. According to King, a tough mind engages in rigorous thinking and critical judgment as King said sarcastically “Nothing pins some people more than having to think” showing that people rarely want to “engage in hard solid thinking”, a soft mind however blindly embraces information presented to them and often afraid of change. He used similes to analyze two contradictory traits, engaging the mind and heart from the bible verse (Matthew 10:16) in a constructive and thoughtful way.

King believes that gullibility, racial prejudice and superstitions are the consequences of soft mindedness. He said “few people have the toughness of mind to judge critically and to discern the true from the false, the fact from the fiction”. He argues that these plant seeds of fear of change and misunderstanding about religion and science, he said that “This has also lead to a widespread belief that there is a conflict between science and religion. But this is not true. There may be a conflict between soft-minded religionists and tough-minded scientists, but not between science and religion”. Explaining that science and religion are complementary and they keep ach other balanced. “Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism”.

MLK’s sermons show that evil is a manifestation of power, it is everywhere. He preached that: have faith in God and work hard and strive for justice. He believes that a person struggles between good and evil. Ultimately, King’s sermons have a significant meaning, creating an impact on the reader with the tone and emotions he used in the passage and sheds light on the truth that our society consists of two types of people: the tough minded and the soft minded. A tough mind without tenderheartedness is cold and detached while a soft mind without tough mindedness is sentimental and aimless. He suggests that a combination of tough mindedness and tender heartedness is the key to freedom and non-violent resistance. He believed that we should work towards a world with more tender hearted and tough minded people.

18 March 2020
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