IN a sermon titled “A tough mind and a tender heart,” Martin Luther King extols the need for a “tough mind,” which he says is defined by “incisive thinking, realistic appraisal, and decisive judgment.” The modern world, he said, has far too much “soft-mindedness” of ”unbelievable gullibility.”
“Soft-mindedness often invades religion,” he said. “This is why religion has sometimes rejected new truth with a dogmatic passion.”
“There may be a conflict between soft-minded religionists and tough-minded scientists,” he said. “But not between science and religion. Their respective worlds are different and their methods are dissimilar. Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.”
“Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism,” he said. “Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.”
“Tough-mindedness without tender-heartedness is cold and detached,” he wrote. “What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough-mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hardheartedness?”
In his sermon entitled “Keep Moving From This Mountain,” King embraced this idea even further.
“Through our scientific genius we made of the world a neighborhood, but we failed through moral commitment to make of it a brotherhood, and so we’ve ended up with guided missiles and misguided men,” he said. “And the great challenge is to move out of the mountain of practical materialism and move on to another and higher mountain which recognizes somehow that we must live by and toward the basic ends of life. We must move on to that mountain which says in substance, ‘What doth it profit a man to gain the whole world of means — airplanes, televisions, electric lights — and lose the end: the soul?’”