Dr. King: Freedom and Free Thinking

by Adam Coleman

Recently I’ve been working my way through Victor Reppert’s “C.S Lewis Dangerous Idea.” In Reppert’s book, he draws from C.S. Lewis’ ideas about man’s ability to reason and subjects them to philosophical rigor to produce a well-developed series of arguments which suggest that if naturalism is true then “reasoning” itself is likely impossible. In reading Reppert’s book I got the sense that his goal was not only to stand on the shoulders of giants but also to breathe new life into insights that had yet-to-be-explored potential. So, as I thought about it I found myself getting inspired. I decided to revisit the works of some of my favorite authors and speakers that I hadn’t read in a while to see if I could unearth a few gems that I’d previously overlooked. In a number of ways I’ve found this to be a worthwhile project.

Secularizing the Sacred

I have a really bad habit of reading several books at the same time and not finishing any of them in a timely manner or in some cases not finishing some of them at all. However, every now and then I luck up and find myself two books that compliment each other in such a way that insights I glean from one helps me to connect the dots with ideas presented in the other. Such was the case, as I started my Reppert-inspired project of re-reading works from my favorite authors. Around that same time, I had begun to read Nancey Pearcy’s, “Total Truth”, and listening to her lectures on the net. Pearcy often refers to how we have a tendency to subconsciously separate that which is sacred from that which is secular. The consequence of this sacred/secular split is that we sometimes sequester God and His influence or way of doing things in such a way that we mute the degree to which God could impact the world around us through us. Rather than maintain a sacred/secular split mentality it seems to me that God would have us to understand the fluidity between the two. As I re-read some of my all-time favorites like Frederick Douglass and Dr. King, it suddenly struck me that in the writings and speeches of abolitionists and civil rights activists of the past, there was a fluidity between the sacred and what I’d previously characterized as secular endeavors. I hadn’t fully appreciated the depths of influence that the biblical worldview–with its ethical and philosophical outworking–I had upon the abolitionist and civil rights movement. In a sense, I’d the taken the Christian worldview to be a companion of the freedom movements whereas many of those involved in the fight clearly understood them to be one and the same; To pursue freedom was to take biblical truths to their logical conclusions and live them out.

As I poured over writings that I hadn’t read in quite some time I suddenly found myself confronted with theological and philosophical underpinnings in them that I’d completely overlooked. I’d like to explore one example here. In December 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the civil rights movement.

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