Drastic times call for drastic measures. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived in a drastic time in which the people he identified with were constantly being discriminated against. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an influential figure in the Civil Rights Movement for Black rights. While sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama He wrote a letter expressing his thoughts on the struggle of his people. He expresses an idea of tension being important in the following passage: "I must confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension.' I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth" (King Jr., 2). The tension that King talks about is the tension between white and colored people. King explains in his letter of how his philosophy of militant non-violence is the best way for colored people to slowly gain their rights. King's idea of militant non-violence was inspired by civil disobedience. He believes that it's okay to be civilly disobedient when a law is unjust or immoral. There are a few Men in their time who encouraged civil disobedience or were themselves civil disobedient; would likely find King's philosophy very interesting. For example saint Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther and, Immanuel Kant all had ideas that helped significantly shape a significant part of what people thought about.
Saint Thomas Aquinas sought out to reconcile Aristotle's philosophy. Saint Thomas Aquinas said, "Now sensibles cannot lead our intellect to see in them what God is, because they are effects unequal to the power of their cause. And yet our intellect is led by sensibles to the divine knowledge so as to know about God that He is, and other such truths, which need to be ascribed to the first principle." (Aquinas, 328). Aquinas is saying that because the senses are what allow us to know, we cannot fully understand God's power and divinity. Based on this statement it can be inferred how Aquinas would feel about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s. Philosophy. If people of Aquinas' time were to witness many of the violent events that occurred in the Civil Rights Movement they would not be able to fully know the events unless they were there. Aquinas intended to unify the philosopher's way of truth through reason and the Christians way of truth through revelation. Aquinas wanted to bring to different groups together just as King did. They both were considered civilly disobedient for presenting these ideas in their time periods, opposed by many leaders. Aquinas would've agreed with King's philosophy of militant non-violence and understood that it takes civil disobedience to obtain the goal.
A man famous for his obscene reformations of the Orthodox Catholic Church: Martin Luther. Martin Luther King Jr. was a big believer in the church and its power to help Colored people to have full rights. Martin Luther was the creator of Lutheranism and started the main idea that Freedom from sin did not have to be purchased from the church. Similar to Martin Luther King Jr. and St. Thomas Aquinas they were outlawed and taken offensively by most people. Martin Luther would likely agree with King's approach to the Civil Rights Struggle, yet it is questionable because of his history of anti-Semitic views. Yet King being a pastor and a very religious man would very likely have support of Luther because of their similar beliefs.
Immanuel Kant was a man who believed in finding common ground between empiricists and rationalists. Kant described that when reason is looked at without an experience attached to it, illusions will arise. And the other way around as well.
Kant said, "Any change makes me apprehensive, even if it offers the greatest promise of improving my condition, and I am persuaded by this natural instinct of mine that I must take heed if I wish that the threads which the Fates spin so thin and weak in my case to be spun to any length" (Kant). This statement reveals that Kant unlike the others would be opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy of militant non-violence. Kant said that he believed that people should enlighten themselves, he believes in freedom but that people should be able to free themselves. If he were in place of Martin Luther King Jr., colored people would have never gained the rights wanted. It was crucial for them to band together and form a voice about what they wanted.
Throughout time people have said and explored crazy things. Martin Luther King Jr., St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and Immanuel Kant all came up with groundbreaking ideas and movements that changed the shape of history. Is militant non-violence the best way to go about getting your point across? It worked for Martin Luther King Jr. after lots of suffering and hardship. All of these men felt that they had an idea that they could put out there to fix what was unjust or immoral. Is it right to disobey an unjust law? According to King, it's okay to do so when you truly know that it's immoral.