There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don’t think we have to look too far to see that. I’m sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world’s ills, many things come to mind. We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don’t know enough. But it can’t be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we’ve ever known in any period of the world’s history. So it can’t be because we don’t know enough. And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can’t be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to warp distance and place time in chains, so that today it’s possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that. It can’t be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man’s scientific genius has been amazing. I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems and the real cause of the world’s ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Rediscovering Lost Values,” Sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)

Added on 7-Apr-17 | Last updated 8-Apr-17
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2 thoughts on ““Rediscovering Lost Values,” Sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)”

  1. Hugh Hyatt

    I think the correct title for this sermon is “Rediscovering Lost Values”, not “Recovering Lost Values”. Also, more nit-pickingly, there is no space between a sentence ending “enough” and one beginning “And” (search “enough.And” to find it.) On Stanford’s web site I found this sermon in several different places: (PDF) (HTML) (HTML)

    I’m almost certain you used the second of this, because the other two have a comma after the word “philosophy” and use the word “warp” instead of “dwarf”. I don’t know which version is most accurate, but I’m guessing the first of these was scanned from an older document and MIGHT be more accurate, while the HTML versions probably involved more human editing and MIGHT therefore be more prone to error.

    I know these are also small points but I did think you might be interested.

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