Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States


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  • In today's culture, there is an ever-increasing attitude of "supreme self-sufficiency". A burning desire to "cut loose from God".

  • Sir Julian Huxley, a renowned biologist and humanist said:
    • "We must now be prepared to abandon the god hypothesis and its consequences like divine revelation or absolute truths and to change over from a supernatural to a naturalistic view of human destiny" (1965, p. 101).

  • It is a willful determination on the part of man not to have God in his mind or in his life, and instead to replace Him with something else.

  • It is a concerted effort to escape any ultimate responsibility, and instead to find a way to allow each person to "do his own thing".

  • It is the attitude of which St. Paul spoke in Romans 1:28 as he discussed those who "refused to have God in their knowledge." And "exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (Romans 1:25).

  • Kai Nielsen, humanist philosopher said:
    • In cultures such as ours, religion is very often an alien form of life to intellectuals. Living as we do in a post-enlightenment era, it is difficult for us to take religion seriously. The very concept seems fantastic to us…that people in our age can believe that they have had a personal encounter with God, that they could believe that they have experienced conversion through a "mystical experience of God," so that they are born again in the Holy Spirit, is something that attests to human irrationality and a lack of sense of reality (1977, p. 46).

  • The message is clear. Those people who believe in God, His Church, His Word and His Salvation are "out of touch with reality", "irrational", and "unreasonable".


  • Humanism, more precisely secular humanism, can be defined as "a way of life that is pursued without reference to God or religion." More specifically, it is "any philosophy which recognizes the value or dignity of man and 'makes him the measure of all things'."

  • Humanism is a broad concept under which fall secularism, atheism, naturalism, materialism, and modernism.


  • Protagoras the Ancient Greek Philosopher, (5th cent. B.C.) declared his famous quotation that "man is the measure of all things".

  • Immanuel Kant, a German Philosopher, (1724-1804) said that "man himself must make himself into whatever he is to become".

  • Historically, humanism is associated with the Renaissance, a period of learning which originated during the second half of the 15th century in Europe. It flourished during the Enlightenment of the 18th century.

  • During the 20th century, many secular humanistic organizations have risen to defend and spread their ideology, first declared in 1933 in Humanist Manifesto I 40 years later another decree was articulated in the Humanist Manifesto II.

  • However, the history of Humanism extends even before "Protagoras". It has its roots in what Satan, through the serpent, said to Eve that "You will be like God" in Genesis 3:5.

Basic Beliefs and Tenets

  • The propositions of Humanist Manifesto II can be categorized into 5 groups:
    1. Religion which places revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

    2. Concerning philosophy, reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. Ethics are situational.

    3. The supreme value is placed on mankind. Each person has freedom of choice.

    4. One-world government would bring solution to the problems of mankind, demolishing national and racial prejudices, achieving peaceful negotiations as means to solve conflicts, and dividing the resources and supplies justly.

    5. Science and technology are the tools to implement the great change the humanist dream of.
  • The last sentence of the last proposition reads,
    • "We must learn to live openly together or we shall perish together."
    Humanistic Beliefs could be summarized as follows:
    1. Man is autonomous and independent.

    2. Man is his own point of reference.

    3. Man is self-sufficient.

    4. Man has the potential to do anything he sets his mind to.

    5. Man has a free-will to choose anything he desires.

    6. Man is the solution to his own problems.

    7. Man deserves to indulge his personal gratifications.

    8. Man is his own god.

Christianity and Humanism

GodNo God beyond the worldA Personal God beyond the world
UniverseNot created – Belief in "Evolution"Created
ManHe is his own god – self sufficientCreated in the image of God
EvilDue to ignoranceDue to rebellion
MoralityRelative to the individualAbsolute, Objective
Ultimate PurposeNoneTo glorify God
After LifeNoneEternity with God

Humanism in Our School Systems

  • Humanism has become the dominant view among leading educators in the U.S.

  • Charles Francis Potter, an original signer of the first Humanist Manifesto and honorary president of the National Education Association, has this to say about public school education:
    • Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism.1

  • A sociology textbook dealing with ethics states:
    • There are exceptions to almost all moral laws, depending on the situation. What is wrong in one instance may be right in another.2

  • The following is a list of basic programs carrying the humanist message into the classroom:
    • Psychodrama, role playing, touch therapy, encounter groups, values clarification, situation ethics, sensitivity training, meditation, visualization, guided imagery, and with self-esteem teaching.

  • These programs are designed to "free" the children from the Christian values taught by their parents and church.

  • These programs cover such topics as sex education, death education, family life, human development and personality adjustment.

  • Sidney Simon is one of the educational elite in the U.S. He is a humanist, teaches at the Center for Humanistic Education in Massachusetts, said: "Keep it subtle, keep it quiet, or the parents will really get upset."

  • As parents, we are expected to fund the very teaching methodology that is designed to destroy our influence upon our children. We must take a stand.

Our Response as Christians

  • As Christians in general and Coptic Orthodox in specific, we should know both what humanism is and what it teaches.

  • Common sense tells us that we cannot teach what we do not know. Likewise, we cannot knowledgeably oppose that which we do not understand. Our ignorance may well be one of the best tools the humanist possesses.

  • Pertaining to our education and that of our children, we must develop a relationship with the school, get to know our child's teachers and their worldviews and discern what is being taught in textbooks.

  • We must also become involved and in the election of individuals to the school board and other effective positions who reflect a Christian stance.

  • Most importantly, we must continue to be actively involved in our children's lives. We must teach our children the value of discernment.

Problems with Humanistic Thought

Humanistic TeachingLogical Inconsistencies
God does not exist as an objective reality.What is the evidence for this conviction? It is not possible to claim knowledge about all reality.
Humans are naturally good.How does one measure goodness? There ought to be an absolute standard of measure.
Human happiness must be promoted.Does not human happiness come from a sense of purpose, which is being fulfilled?
What is this purpose?
Is humanity's purpose in life to be happy?
If that is the case, all that is being said is that in order for humanity to be happy it must be happy!
Mankind is also free to act and achieve his aims.If we are nothing but bundles of matter and physical laws can there be real freedom?


  • Humanism will ultimately lead to pessimism, despair and destruction. It can offer no ultimate hope or purpose. Tragedy on our planet is a fact, and humanism has no consolation to offer.

  • It is utterly important for every Coptic Orthodox Christian to know the subtle ways that secular humanism is manifesting itself all around us.

  • We must "See to it that no one takes us captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ"(Colossians 2:8).

Glory be to God Forever.


1 Charles Krauthammer, "Education: Doing Bad and Feeling Good," Time, 5 February 1990, 78.
2 Address to the U.S. Senate, U.S. Department of Education Hearing, March 1984.

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