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King may have also considered the purpose of religion in a Morehouse paper that is no longer extant, as he began a third Morehouse paper, “Last week we attempted to discuss the purpose of religion” (King, “The Purpose of Education,” September 1946-February 1947, in ed.Louis Finkelstein (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p.
In the following three essays, King wrestles with the role of religion in modern society.
In the first assignment, he calls science and religion “different though converging truths” that both “spring from the same seeds of vital human needs.” King emphasizes an awareness of God’s presence in the second document, noting that religion’s purpose “is not to perpetuate a dogma or a theology; but to produce living witnesses and testimonies to the power of God in human experience.” In the final handwritten essay King acknowledges the life-affirming nature of Christianity, observing that its adherents have consistently “looked forward for a time to come when the law of love becomes the law of life.” There is widespread belief in the minds of many that there is a conflict between science and religion. While the conflict has been waged long and furiously, it has been on issues utterly unrelated either to religion or to science. Science thinks in terms of history, religion in terms of teleology. The conflict was always between superstition disguised as religion and materialism disguised as science, between pseudo-science and pseudo-religion.
It begins and ends with the assumption that Christ is the revelation of God.
We might ask what are some of the specific values that Christianity seeks to conserve?
This value content is embodied in the life of Christ.
So that Christian philosophy is first and foremost Christocentric.First Christianity speaks of the value of the world.In its conception of the world, it is not negative; it stands over against the asceticisms, world denials, and world flights, for example, of the religions of India, and is world-affirming, life affirming, life creating.When religion, however, on the strength of its own postulates, speaks to men of God and the moral order of the universe, when it utters its prophetic burden of justice and love and holiness and peace, then its voice is the voice of the eternal spiritual truth, irrefutable and invincible., What is the purpose of religion? Is the basis for salvation in creeds and dogmas or in experience. For them, the church, its creeds, its popes and bishops have recited the essence of religion and that is all there is to it.On the other hand we say that each soul must make its own reconciliation to God; that no creed can take the place of that personal experience.Gautama bids us flee from the world, but Jesus would have us use it, because God has made it for our sustenance, our discipline, and our happiness. This is something of what Schweitzer has called “reverence for life.” Hunan being must always be used as ends; never as means.So that the Christian view of the world can be summed up by saying that it is a place in which God is fitting men and women for the Kingdom of God. I realize that there have been times that Christianity has short at this point.And so it is the job of the Christian to love every man because God love love.We must not love men merely because of their social or economic position or because of their cultural contribution, but we are to love them because woman and child.This concern for the good life and the value of life is no where better expressed than in the words of Jesus in the gospel of John: “I came that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” This emphasis has run throughout the Christian tradition.Christianity has always had a concern for the elimination of disease and pestilence.