Martin Luther King Jr. on Nonviolence, Brotherhood, Selflessness, Competition, Hate, Humanity, and Love
At Harmony Interfaith Initiative, we believe that those who inspire should provide a spark, not try to live up to unattainable ideals of perfection. With that said, the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. presents us with an aspirational tale. If we follow in his footsteps, we can do more good, fight for justice, and work towards a brotherhood.
In preparation for MLK day this year, we read a number of quotes from his speeches and books. The following words struck us as equally relevant today as when they were written/spoken. Here they are in no particular order. Our only commentary comes in the form of bolding the words that especially resonated with us.
From Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time—the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression… Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved mankind must evolve for all human conflict, a method that rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
From sermon titled Rediscovering Lost Values
“The real problem is that through our scientific genius we've made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we've failed to make of it a brotherhood.”
“But I'm here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. Eternally so, absolutely so. It's wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It's wrong in America, it's wrong in Germany, it's wrong in Russia, it's wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it's wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong.”
From Sermon titled Cooperative/Noble Competition
“Let the churches stop trying to outstrip each other in the number of their adherents, the size of its sanctuary, the abundance of wealth. If we must compete, let us compete to see which can move toward the greatest attainment of truth, the greatest service of the poor, and the greatest salvation of the soul and bodies of men.”
From Stride Toward Freedom
“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.”
From sermon titled Conquering Self-Centeredness
“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. And this is one of the big problems of life, that so many people never quite get to the point of rising above self. And so they end up the tragic victims of self-centeredness. They end up the victims of distorted and disrupted personality.”
From sermon titled Loving Your Enemies
“If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil.”
From Where Do We Go From Here?
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
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Our mission is to train and support people who want to do good in the world. We do this by providing access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. Our primary goal is to help others create harmony in diverse communities.
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Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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