Introduction

 

            Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most recognized Christians of the twentieth century.  Christian History magazine name him as one of the ten most influential He did more for the cause of civil rights than any other person.  Everything he did was influenced in one way or another by his religious beliefs, convictions, and practices.  These beliefs were not always orthodox, his convictions not always direct, and his practices not always popular. 

            Through examination of Martin Luther Kingís life, more can be understood about what influenced the man who influenced many.  It is important for people to realize that King was not predictable and did not follow the path that many expected he would.  Through examination of his early years it can be seen why he was involved with the civil rights crowd that he chose.  Also, it will be easy to notice why he may have chosen the less traditional route in education.  The section dealing with his college and seminary years shows the shaping of his social activist theology.  The influences on Kingís life are as fascinating as himself.  Looking at his social activist ministry is where many people shape their ideas about who Martin Luther King really was.  Lastly, we will see that the end of Kingís career and life left him a confused and lonely man.  Many people turned their back on him who had previously supported his movements. 

            Through a better understanding of Martin Luther King Jr., people can better understand the ways in which religion has an effect on people.  You can ask yourself questions like: Does he inspire me to believe things that he didnít even believe? And was he willing to die for God or people or both?  All these are worth looking at.  

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