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Martin Luther King on Intelligent Design

Photo: Martin Luther King, 1963, via Wikimedia Commons.

The era of great men and great women, with majestic and original visions, seems to be in the past. I struggle to think of a giant alive today. Can you? For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed tomorrow, it’s interesting to wonder what that giant of the 20th century would say about the questions that roil our culture. For example, the question of whether life is reducible to meat alone, as the dominant materialist philosophy insists, or whether it reflects an intelligent purpose or, as we would call it today, intelligent design. 

In fact, we don’t have to wonder what MLK would say on that: “Materialism is a weak flame that is blown out by the breath of mature thinking.” That’s from his sermon “The Man Who Was a Fool,” collected in Strength to Love, in which Dr. King cites physicist James Jeans and statesman Arthur Balfour. He unequivocally opposed the idea “that man is a transient accident of protons and electrons traveling blind, that thought is a temporary product of gray matter, and that the events of history are an interaction of matter and motion operating by the principle of necessity.” The purpose and design behind reality were crucial to his ethical vision. For more, see our brief and timely video, “Martin Luther King on the Design of the Universe.” Consider sharing it with friends.

The article was originally published in 2022.