Letter From Birmingham Jail


Explain King’s question “Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and world?” Though he poses this as a question, he is making a statement. What is he claiming about organized religion? In what way is this criticism still relevant today?

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King says, "But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust."

The influence of Luther, Kierkegaard and philosophical existentialism upon King is well-documented. These few sentences about "organized religion" as opposed to "the inner spiritual church" seem to suggest them.