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I suggest for your exam to make an essay on Definition of the most basicEuropean Values. The essay should be about 7 pages long and should be presented to the course on one of the following Mondays

It should be zero plagiarism

of the most basic
European Values
and their significance for our modern society
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Text and graphics are allowed to use freely,
if EuropeanValues.info is mentioned as the author.
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3
The Nature of the Problem ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
Objective and Benefit………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3
What is a “Value” anyway? ……………………………………………………………………………………… 4
European Values ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5
Short Explanation of the European values ………………………………………………………………….. 5
Explanation of the Individual Values…………………………………………………………………………. 7
2.2.1 Step 1 – Humanistic Thinking ………………………………………………………………………………. 7
2.2.2 Step 2 – Rationality ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 10
2.2.3 Step 3 – Secularity …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
Step 4 – Rule of law ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15
2.2.4 Step 5 – Democracy …………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
2.2.5 Step 6 – Human rights………………………………………………………………………………………… 20
A gradual buildup………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
History Repeats Itself …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27
What one should know about ancient democracy and the Middle Ages? ……………………… 32
How can a change in world-view occur? ………………………………………………………………….. 34
Developmental steps from the Middle Ages until today…………………………………………………….. 36
Findings………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 39
What distinguishes a European of today and a supporter of European values? ……………… 41
Are these European values universal? ……………………………………………………………………… 41
References ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 42
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1 Introduction
1.1 The Nature of the Problem
Every society looks back upon its own history and has consequently derived its own set of values
from it. A common set of values unites the individuals, and therefore a society comes into being. If
the individual members are no longer aware of the fundamental values of their society and the historical provenance of these values, the society loses its “glue.” Most people in Europe take history lessons in school, but only few could name the most basic “European values.” When a society loses a
sense of their values, it will not be able to protect and preserve this foundation of the social structure.
Due to a lack of knowledge, previously highly-esteemed institutions and achievements are no longer
perceived as such. When someone cannot draw a comparison between “now and then,” he / she experiences the momentary “status quo” as a matter of course, as the obvious “normal condition.” As a
result of lacking historical knowledge, many members of our European societies are no longer aware
that the momentary “normal condition” concerning the social structure and civil liberties has developed over centuries, in many cases has been hard fought for and relies on the foundation of certain
well-defined values.
If the knowledge about our values and their significance is lost, we will simultaneously lose the
foundation of our free, modern and democratic European society.
1.2 Objective and Benefit
It is the objective of this paper to find the most fundamental European values, from which all the
other European values can be derived. Their origin and history as well as their significance for our
modern society are to be described.
Furthermore, this paper will depict how the individual values rely upon each other and how they are
The benefit of this paper lies not only in imparting knowledge regarding our fundamental values but
also in the creation of an understanding: why these values are the foundation of our free, modern and
democratic European societies and what significance they have for our society today as well as the
everyday life of the individual.
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1.3 What is a “Value” anyway?
One could simply state: “A value arises from a ranking.”
By undertaking such a ranking, a society for example decides which value is more important than
another. But this kind of ranking is not a conscious, active decision that we make by desiring or rejecting something; it is rather an unconscious, passive affection due to a predefined, subconscious
imprinting developed within ourselves mainly via our education, religion and culture. The accumulations of values are therefore not just superficial assessments or wishes that could be abandoned easily
due to a logical objection; they are rather our deep-rooted emotionally loaded imaginations about
something “valuable” and “desirable.”
All individual commitments to values define which values are “respected” within a society and
which are “proscribed.” The commitments to values within our thoughts influence our actions, and
our actions form our culture. In thought and action, European Culture is formed by European values.
Values are the fundamental elements of the culture; they define the meaning and significance for the
people within a social system (society.) The rules and norms of a society are derived from its values.
From this point of view, it becomes clear that values have a deep significance for the respective social system due to the fact that they significantly influence, control and regulate this social system.
Plainly said: values are the foundation of a society!
It is quite possible that specific values of a certain culture may seem worthless, abominable, deserving of persecution or scorn or illogical to people from other cultures. As the values that are deemed
important by someone and even what is considered “of value” at all, is initially predefined by the
culture in which the concerned person has grown up.
What does the term “Basic European Values” mean?
The general term of “European Values” often also includes achievements of European arts like painting, architecture, literature, music and the like. The term “Basic European Values” however contains
only the very essential and elementary values from which the fundament of our free, modern and
democratic society has evolved.
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2 European Values
2.1 Short Explanation of the European values
The European high culture developed in six stages:
The 6 most Fundamental European Values
These six European values together add up to a
fully developed
“Humanistic World-view”
The humanistic world-view has its origin within the times of ancient Greece in antiquity and was
resurrected during the Renaissance – the rebirth of antiquity – and the rebirth of humanistic thinking
that followed.
The fully developed humanistic world-view evolves on the basis of the six stages mentioned above.
At the same time, these six stages are the Fundamental European Values building the foundation for
our advanced European civilization that we live in today, and all other European values can be derived from them.
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The humanistic world-view starts with the thought of giving value to a human being (humanistic
thinking) and ends with the thought of giving value to all people (human rights.) It is a world-view
made by the people for the people.
Was this humanistic world-view of any benefit?
Simply put: it fulfilled the wish for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity that Europeans had over thousand of years. History also shows that first a basis needed to be built, upon which this revived wish
(during the French Revolution) could be fulfilled, step by step. As a result of humanistic, rational,
and secular thinking, laws of freedom were established and could be implemented for the first time
due to constitutional legality.
Democracy transformed the two-tier society of rulers and subjects into one class of people with the
same duties. Human rights turned all our fellow human beings into brothers united within one land
who share the same rights.
How liberty, equality and fraternity
could be realized in Europe:
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2.2 Explanation of the Individual Values
2.2.1 Step 1 – Humanistic Thinking
The Latin word “humanus” means “humane, people-friendly, educated, cultured.”
The Latin word “humanitas” means “humanity.”
Today’s humanistic thinking is re-introduced by the age of “humanism.” Humanism
indicates a way of thinking and acting that is based on the educational ideal of Greek
and Roman antiquity. This ideal is characterized by an awareness of the dignity of
the human being.
During the age of Renaissance, this spirit was rediscovered and revived. The initial development of
today’s European values is represented by a turning away from the theocentric world-view (God being everything’s center) of the Middle Ages.
What follows is an orientation towards the anthropocentric world-view of the modern era. “Anthropos” comes from the Greek and means “man.” This world-view therefore puts man in the center of
everything. The well-being of individual people increasingly becomes the focus of thought and action.
From the “theocentric” world-view of the Middle Ages
to the “anthropocentric” world-view of today.
Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
ï‚· The view of the world changes:
Before: Theocentric view of the world; that means God is the focus of thought and action.
Afterward: Anthropocentric view of the world; that means the human being is the focus of
thought and action. This means that the focus is directed more towards the individual, but the
idea of a God still remains.
ï‚· The standard by which everything is measured, changes:
Before: God is the measure of all things!
Afterward: The human being increasingly becomes the measure of all things! His/her actions
and aspirations are no longer inferior in comparison to God’s glory.
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ï‚· Individual development becomes possible:
Before: The human being can only develop within his religious determination.
Afterward: The human being can develop independently of God or his/her gods. This development emerges from education; education develops from experience and awareness gained
by studying nature. This is the starting point for individual development, self responsibility,
and universal education.
ï‚· Education becomes a human value:
Before: education must be prevented – otherwise godliness diminishes!
Afterward: Humanistic education of antiquity becomes the ideal. The human being can elaborate through education and has the ability to cultivate and develop him/herself.
If you wanted to know something about the world:
Before: Studying the bible brought awareness and knowledge.
Afterward: This knowledge should be developed by studying nature (natural sciences begin to
ï‚· From a collective to a free individual:
Before: every individual is insignificant – personal living conditions are God-given.
Afterward: happiness and wellbeing of the individual human being and society are the highest
values, which now should become the benchmark for all actions. Human individuality should
be able to develop freely. Every individual is to gain self-determination regarding his/her own
living conditions.
ï‚· Personal responsibility begins:
Before: In a collective (being a King’s subject or part of the “flock of believers”), the human
being had no personal or individual responsibility. Without individual responsibility and selfdependent actions – which also include the decision-making process – no one is able assume
responsibility for one’s own actions. If misfortune befalls a collective, also the cause and guilt
is therefore related to an outer enemy or power. The collective thinks that others must be plotting against it (conspiracy theory.)
Afterward: The individual is self-dependent and responsible for his or her own actions!
ï‚· Where happiness is found:
Before: The transformation of every-day suffering into happiness and joy only begins in the
afterlife. This means that this happiness and joy can only be expected in a heavenly paradise
after one’s death.
Afterward: The transformation of every-day suffering into happiness and joy already begins
in this world since the knowledge gained through education changes every-day suffering.
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Development from the Middle Ages until today
Which changes regarding state and religion did humanistic thinking bring about?
Changes due to Humanistic thinking about the state:
One leaves the collective of subjects and becomes an independent individual in relation to the state.
Changes due to humanistic thinking about religion:
One leaves the collective of believers and becomes an independent individual in relation to religion.
One can evolve also outside of the borders in thought and action, that religion imposes, e.g. through
the study of nature.
How is the concept of “humanistic thinking” misused?
It is misused by public institutions:
“Communism, which defined religion as the ‘opium of the people’, is based on Humanism.”
No, collective ideologies like communism are not humanistic systems, because communism relies on
the collective and not on well-instructed and developed free individuals.
It is misused by religious institutions:
“The value of a human is based on the fact that s/he was created by God in his/her own likeness.”
No, every person gains the “value of a human” solely because of his/her existence as a human being.
This means that every human is valuable, regardless of which god s/he believes in or whether s/he
believes in a god at all.
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2.2.2 Step 2 – Rationality
The Latin word “ratio” means “reason, intellect.”
A rationalist bases his/her philosophical explanation of the world primarily on reasonable conclusions.
Rationality denotes an attitude, which considers rational thinking, i.e. thinking determined by reason, as the sole source of insight.
Rationality means that a statement can be judged by its value and not on the basis of
the authority of the person or institution who made the statement, or on how many others agree with
this statement, or on the fact that the statement is attributed to any kind of god. Rationality includes
the ability to unmask arguments as being false even when they are said to be God-given.
Linked with the Greek tradition of logical debate, the rationalistic principle is applied in many contexts and also forms the core of scientific work. In the Age of Enlightenment, Descartes and other
philosophers and scientists based their thinking on reason and rationality. They applied reason to all
areas of everyday life, exposing superstition and starting a scientific revolution.
Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
ï‚· Reason stands above faith:
Before: God’s omniscience stands “infinitely” far above human reason.
Afterward: Human reason more and more refutes the conveyed “omniscience” of God.
ï‚· A new way of decision making becomes possible:
Before: Faith must be chosen as the ultimate source of decision. A decision made on the basis
of reason is not welcomed.
Afterward: Reason becomes the ultimate source of decision.
ï‚· Century-old restrictions get suspended:
Before: Human reasoning and acts are restricted by religious dogmas and totalitarian rules.
Afterward: The use of reason overrules religious and absolutistic bans on free thought and
 What is identified as “good”?
Before: The Bible defines what is “good.”
Afterward: “Good” is defined as “reasonable.”
ï‚· Basis of Evaluation
Before: Evaluation occurs on the basis of the Bible and religious principles.
Afterward: Evaluation occurs on the basis of a rational consideration of the situation.
Development from the Middle Ages until today
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What changes concerning state and religion has reasonable thinking (rationality) brought
Changes due to reasonable thinking about the state:
It should be allowed to critically question the ruling system of the grace of God, in all of its aspects,
via rationality.
Changes due to reasonable thinking about religion:
It should be allowed to critically question the Christian doctrine, all dogmas and even the existence
of God, via rationality. It should also be possible to further question the historical context and the
different weight each dogma had throughout church history. (What were the reasons that one dogma
was especially important at a certain time and others more or less irrelevant, and why was it the other
way around at other times?)
How is the concept of rationality misused?
It is misused by public institutions:
“Authority must be trusted blindly!”
No, since the meaning of this conclusion is more important than the person or institution who made
this statement.
It is misused by religious institutions:
“Human rationality is a gift of God”
No, since a human being possesses rationality regardless of which god s/he believes in or if s/he
doesn’t believe in one at all.
“Rationality is important as long as this does not cause a conflict with religion. In case of doubt, religion must be always rated higher than rationality.”
No, since in case of doubt, rationality must be basis of decision.
Exemplification: though the fact is well known that condoms can prevent one from being infected
with AIDS, religious Catholics are not allowed to use this protective measure even in high-risk regions in Africa. In this case, rationality could save the life of human beings, but the religious dogma
causes the exact opposite. A rationalist could never accept such a dogmatic rule.
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2.2.3 Step 3 – Secularity
Secularity = separation of religion and state affairs
Secularity means to separate public and religious bodies by law – the separation of
politics and religion, of state und state church.
Development from the Middle Ages until today
Compared to a religious human being, a secular human being can be characterized by the
fact that s/he practices religion only in a private sphere and also knows how to discern “Godly politics” from “worldly politics.”
Compared to a religious human being, a secular human being can be characterized by the
fact that s/he respects human laws and defines religion only as a mean for personal and private development.
Compared to a religious human being, a secular human being can be characterized by the
fact that s/he does not have to follow religious laws made by “God” or “men via the grace of
God.” S/he also must not fear any punishment from a religious authority. A secular human
being is bound by the laws of his/her state that are made by humans. It is part of his/her personal freedom to conform to religious regulations or not.
Religion no longer has to interfere with the reasoning and actions of individuals involved; it should
not declare any bans on thinking and behavior. It is the personal choice of an individual whether s/he
adheres to religious rules. Nobody can be forced to participate in religious activities or be punished if
s/he doesn’t do so. Religion is a private matter and has to be subordinated under all circumstances to
the constitution and rule of law. The task to interpret the world and its phenomena lies solely with
reason. Just the clear mind can always develop new ways to adapt to the constantly changing conditions around us and find the right solutions.
Secularization could only emerge by using rationality, since rational thinking was the only way to
expose religious dogmas. That was the reason why, later on, the wish arose to regulate social life by
using reasonable instead of dogmatic rules. The separation of religious and worldly power was increasingly desired, thus making way for secularity to be implemented in Europe.
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This strict separation of religious and worldly power is exceedingly important for our society today
due to many reasons:
If religion possesses political and social power, it is a very human trait that those who possess such
power will want to keep it. This ambition is of course problematic, since the structure of belief that
legitimizes this power must be adhered to by all means. If religion possesses political and social
power, science becomes a threat to this power: if science with its accumulated knowledge can reveal
that a religious dogma is illogical, the religious rulers lose all legitimization for their regulations and
laws. Only the strict separation of worldly and religious power can assure that science can work freely and become able to support the development of our society. This separation is exactly the reason
for the economical and social success story of Europe!
Furthermore, this separation is the cause that the rules we developed for our society are made by human beings. Thus human beings can again change these laws and adapt them to new changes or developments. This also means that rules exist for humans, and humans do not exist for rules. When
religious authorities determine laws and regulations for living together in a society, these laws are
always refer to God. Since God is considered to be infallible, these laws and regulations are also
usually not modifiable. These laws then become a large burden and limitation for a society, especially when they become obsolescent. Imagine the laws that have their roots in medieval times being
carried out today, e.g the religious legislation of Sharia law in Iran: stoning for adultery and chopping off a hand for theft.
Coronation of the emperor by the Pope
Secularity is the divorce of the marriage between secular and religious power.
Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
Influence of religious rules:
Before: Religious rules and regulations affect both the public and the private sphere of people’s lives.
Afterward: Religious rules and regulations affect only the private sphere of people’s lives.
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Influence of religious thinking:
Before: Political and religious thinking are the same, i.e. they pull in the same direction.
Afterward: Political and religious thinking are separated.
Legitimization of worldly and religious power:
Before: National church and national regime legitimate one another.
Afterward: The rulers of a state have to be legitimized also by the people. The church is also legitimized by the community of believers.
Religious interests and demands:
Before: Christianity has both clerical and worldly interests and demands.
Afterward: Christianity only follows clerical interests and demands.
What changes concerning state and religion has secular thinking (secularity) brought about?
Changes due to secular thinking about the state:
The ruling system and its leaders are legitimized not only by God but also have to seek for legitimization from the people. Before, a “chosen one” came into power as a ruler and was legitimized by a
religious institution. Now the rulers or army commanders have to receive their legitimization also by
the basis, e.g. by concessions of the people etc.
Changes due to secular thinking about religion:
Religion must not have any influence over politics and becomes solely a personal private affair.
From now on religious institutions are not more than religious institutions, and they are not political
institutions either. Religious leaders no longer play a political leading role. For a political leader,
there is no need o be crowned by the church. Political decisions do not have to correspond with religious concepts or dogmas thus making it possible to respond to changing life conditions in a better
How is the concept of secularity misused?
It is misused by public institutions:
“Laicism is practiced secularity.”
No, since laicism just means that a state has stipulated the separation of state and religion in its constitution. But this does not necessarily result in a real change in the individual religious thinking of
the population. Laicism is simply secularity enacted by the government. What’s missing is the necessary previous rational attitude adjustment of every individual.
It is misused by religious institutions:
“Secular means that one can learn also about other religions during Christian religious education.”
No, since secularity would mean that society does not have any influence over individual religious
activity. This means that any religious education is to be replaced by a non-denominational education
that deals with ethics.
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Step 4 – Rule of law
The modern rule of law has its origin within the philosophy of the times of enlightenment. The initial breakthrough was made during the French revolution in the 18th
Rule of law primarily contains four principles:
Basic rights (basic laws; constitutional laws)
Separation of powers
Calculability of governmental actions
Security mechanisms
Basic rights:
Rule of law is synonymous with “freedom of state.” Every individual possesses basic, freedom, and
human rights. An independent authority watches over these exact rights and also over possible denials or violation. This also means that the individual can appeal to this legal authority to enforce
his/her own rights. Rule of law does not discriminate or differentiate, and every citizen is equally
entitled to make use of it.
(“Equality before the law”)
Separation of powers:
A constitutional state is a state that has its administration and jurisdiction linked with the legislation.
The term separation of powers means the separation of authorities (legislation, administration, jurisdiction.) Along with that goes the separation of the state authorities in legislative (legislating body),
executive (body executing state power), and judiciary (judging authorities.)
Calculability of governmental actions:
A constitutional state has a defined legal system that is formulated in detail. This allows every single
citizen to behave and live in conformity with the law and also to file his/her claims and titles. This
means that governmental actions are predictable and calculable.
Legality (governmental actions must not contravene any law)
Proportionality (every action is to be appropriate, necessary, and adequate.)
Transitional and adaptive rules for changes due to traditional conditions
Security mechanisms:
“Checks and balances”
All three governmental bodies control and check one another at all times, thus preventing misuse and
misfeasance of the respective power. If one of these bodies should try to extend its power or to interfere with the powers of the other bodies, these other governmental bodies are in possession of adequate security mechanisms to defend their own interests.
Special attention must always be given to the legislative or the class of “politicians” since they appoint new public officers, judges, federal prosecutors and also decide over institution over legal proceedings etc.
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Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
Before: In an absolutistic state, the jurisdiction is random and arbitrary.
Afterward: In a constitutional state, every citizen is protected by an established, objective legal system.
The status as a subject is replaced by the status as a citizen:
Before: A subject basically does not have any rights at all that s/he could rely on, but s/he has every
Afterward: A citizen has defined and written rights and obligations.
Basis of legislation:
Before: Laws were made and based upon the individual intention of the ruler.
Afterward: Laws are made based on the underlying legal system that is anchored within the constitution.
Before the law:
Before: Treatment from a legal standpoint depends on the respective social class of the plaintiff and
also the social class of the defendant.
Afterward: All citizens are equal in the eyes of the law!
What changes concerning state and religion has thinking in accordance with the rule of law
brought about?
Changes in thinking about the state:
Rule of law based on rational and secular laws naturally concludes that every human has to be treated
equally before the law.
Changes in thinking about religion:
Laws made by humans overrule laws written by the hand of a Prophet: worldly laws take precedence
over religious laws.
How is the concept of rule by law misused?
It is misused by public institutions:
“A police state is based on rule of law”
No, since also the executive body – being one of the three governmental powers – is connected to the
two other powers based on checks and balance.
It is misused by religious institutions:
“Non secular rule of law is also rule of law!”
No, since when it comes to constitutional principles, it is certainly not enough to declare or execute
arbitrary or religious laws having no comprehensible legal basis. Comprehensible laws and regulations based on rationality are an essential basis for the rule of law, and mere religious-based laws do
not correspond to that.
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2.2.4 Step 5 – Democracy
What does “democracy” mean?
Democracy consists of the Greek words “demos” for “people” and “kratein” for “ruling.” This characterizes a popular government or respectively a sovereignty of the
“Democracy” is the term for a political system where sovereignty is based and relies
on the will of the people and where the government is accountable to the people.
What basic standards does a democracy have to meet?
A democracy is only a democracy if:
ï‚· the actual sovereignty lies in the hands of the people
ï‚· the rulers (the representatives elected by the people) are elected by the people during free
1) Which basic standards does a democratic government have to meet?
ï‚· Free elections
In a democracy, the government is elected by the people via periodic, free, secret, unaltered,
and general elections. Furthermore the government can be voted out of office by the people
or the representatives; also the government is checked and monitored by the people or its representatives.
ï‚· Democratic constitution
The government is also built on the rule of law (all its actions must correspond with the constitutions and the laws) and majority rule (all its actions must follow the will of the majority.)
ï‚· Existence of an opposition
Another central characteristic of democracy is a high level of freedom of opinion and also the
existence of an opposition.
o At least two parties,
standing for two different positions
getting along with each other while considering democratic rules.
2) Which basic standards do democratic elections have to meet?
ï‚· Equality: Every eligible voter must be allowed to participate in elections and polls and has
exactly one vote.
ï‚· Freedom: No coercion may be applied. To avoid this, elections are often held secretly or anonymously.
ï‚· Eligibility for office: Every eligible voter should also be allowed to run for office.
ï‚· Alternatives: A real decision can only be made if there is more than one alternative.
ï‚· Results: The winner is the one who receives the most democratic votes (majority rule) or the
one who is declared to be the winner according to the democratic rules of the constitution.
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What is not to be considered a democracy?
It is not a democracy,
ï‚· if dictatorship predominates; e.g. tyranny of a dictator, a political party or group.
o Military dictatorship: domination of the military
o Dictatorship of the proletariat (communism: dictatorial domination by one single party!)
o Theocracy: (Greek “theos” = God) a state ruled by God, dominance of a person or a
cast of priests chosen by God, literally “Godly dominance” with one worldly and also
simultaneously spiritual ruler
ï‚· if a ruler decides who stays ruler.
ï‚· if there are no free and periodic elections.
ï‚· if the political opposition has no access to the media and therefore cannot gain attention.
ï‚· if the press cannot report freely.
ï‚· if people are arbitrarily excluded from their right to actively or passively participate in elections.
ï‚· if there is only one political party.
ï‚· if the state is not a constitutional state, e.g. without freedom of speech etc.
A democracy can only function properly if the previous political power system, which was in charge,
is changed completely.
It is rather difficult to establish a democratic form of government. Very easily it can be again lost and
changed back into one of the mentioned forms of a “pseudo democracy.”
Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
Before: Dictatorship of a worldly ruler, legitimated by God (by the Grace of God)
Afterward: Democratic representatives are elected and legitimated by the people.
How does one get entrusted with running the government of a state?
Before: A ruler upon succession or election within oligarchic structures.
Afterward: The people’s representatives upon elections.
Structures of the society:
Before: Ruler, aristocracy and subjects.
Afterward: Citizens and civil representatives.
Who is allowed to rule?
Before: The ruler must descend from a noble bloodline.
Afterward: Anyone – meeting certain criteria – can become a civil representative.
Time of government:
Before: A ruler reigns until his/her own death.
Afterward: Civil representatives get elected for a certain period of time and can be re-elected by the
Before: Every European national state has a constitution since the formation of the state. The rule of
the state (separation of powers) has nearly functioned; the leadership still lies firmly in the hands of
the nobility.
Afterward: Only a democratic constitution allows a democratic government.
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Development from the Middle Ages until today
What changes concerning state and religion has democratic thinking brought about?
Changes due to democratic thinking about the state:
The nation takes its destiny into its own hands.
Changes due to democratic thinking about religion:
Within a democracy, followers of recognized religions are treated equally.
How is the concept of democracy misused?
Asserted by public institutions:
“Democracy controlled by the state is also democracy.”
No, literally only a state controlled by the people is a democracy.
“For safety reasons a democracy fighting an outside enemy must be controlled solely by the ruling
This is the most common form of undermining or terminating democracy. Democracy can overcome
an external enemy but not an enemy who comes from the inside.
Asserted by public institutions:
“The election of a pope by cardinals or the election of a caliph (political and religious representative
of Mohammed) by the people, who then rules absolutely, is democracy.”
No, this does not meet the criteria of a democratic election already described in the text above.
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2.2.5 Step 6 – Human rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stands for the largest achievement of
human development since, for the first time, equal rights should apply to all human
beings in the world!
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed
with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
For all 30 articles and the preamble passed by the UNO on December 10th in 1948, visit:
http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/ger.htm link? http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
The three pillars of human rights:
Freedom: All human beings have the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, press, and
opinion that are all protected by the human rights.
Equality: All human beings are equal before the law and are entitled to protection without
distinction. This means that there must not be any discrimination regarding race, skin color,
gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social background, wealth,
birth or position. Everyone can rely on the protection against any form of discrimination, also
including full equality of man and woman.
Solidarity: All human beings also have economical and social rights, e.g. the right to social
security, fair remuneration, an adequate life standard, physical health and the right to access
education, which is an integral element of the human-rights system.
These rights can be specified in five categories: political, civil, economical, social, and cultural human rights.
Human rights are only limited by the rights and the freedom of other individuals and by the requirements of morality, public order and general welfare in a democratic society. (Art. 29 UDHR.)
The human rights of others must be respected, not just tolerated. Individual human rights must not be
used to violate other human rights (Art. 30 UDHR.)
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the international community’s most fundamental corpus of basic rights and – as stated in the preamble – “a common standard of achievement
for all people and all nations.”
With this declaration the circle, which began with humanistic thinking and was the first step on the
way to a human-oriented international system, closes. Within this new system, a human being does
not allow governmental or religious institutions to limit his or her actions.
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Development from the Middle Ages until today
The democratic view of the world culminated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that
should apply to all human beings on earth. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an ideal
law made by human beings for human beings, which is the main difference when compared to Godgiven laws like the Torah, Bible or Koran where the laws always come from God.
The concept of human rights is based on the fact that all humans have the same rights, solely because
they are human beings, and that they are all entitled to these rights just because of their human nature; these rights are universal, imprescriptible and indivisible.
Here are some examples to illustrate the impact of this new way of thinking:
Right to equality (Article 2):
Before: Discrimination due to different religions, races, skin colors, genders, positions and political
Afterward: No discrimination due to different religions, races, skin colors, genders, positions and
political opinions.
Right to “free” marriage (Article16):
Before: A man and a woman with different religious beliefs and/or belonging to a different race were
not allowed to marry. Divorce was all but impossible.
Afterward: Marriageable women and men have the right to get married and start a family regardless
their race, nationality or religion. They both have equal rights during the wedding, the marriage and
also during a possible divorce. A marriage can only be entered into if both wife and husband agree
by mutual consent and without reservations.
Freedom of religion: (Article 18):
Before: Changing one’s own religion was nearly impossible and often resulted in the death penalty.
Afterward: Freedom of religion means to be able to freely choose and change one’s religious beliefs.
Right to education (Article 26):
Before: Education is met with reservation – it diminishes godliness and makes it harder to dominate
Afterward: Everyone hast the right to education. Basic education is obligatory and free of charge.
Technical colleges, vocational schools, and universities must be open to everybody according to their
skills and abilities. Education must be geared toward the full development of the person and the
strengthening of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
What changes has the acknowledgement of human rights brought about?
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Changes in thinking about the state:
Implemented human rights exempt all citizens from the arbitrariness of governmental institutions.
Changes in thinking about religion:
Implemented human rights exempt all citizens from the arbitrariness of religious institutions.
How are some parts of the human rights disregarded or misused?
They are disregarded and misused by public institutions:
“Under the pretext of maintaining the state’s security, some human rights have to be overruled.”
(E.g. article 5 (article against torture) was overruled in Guantanamo during the “war against terror”)
No, because even during times of war the Geneva Convention applies, specifically prohibiting torture.
They are disregarded and misused by religious institutions:
“Freedom of religion means that it is not allowed to say anything bad about religion!”
No, constricting any other fundamental freedom under the pretext of freedom of religion must be
avoided. One example would be to not criticize forced marriage or corporal punishment of women
based on religious rules because of misinterpreting freedom of religion. Every single day the freedom
of opinion regarding religious matters is restricted throughout the world – a fact that violates the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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2.3 A gradual buildup
While the description of the individual values was our focus until this point, their gradual buildup
will now be illustrated.
Our modern humanistic world-view evolved over six steps, which at the same time represent the
main values from which all the other European values can be derived. It is important to understand
that the individual steps are based upon each other – no step could possibly have developed without
the previous ones.
According to the saga, the King’s daughter Europa was abducted
and seduced by the Greek God Zeus who had taken on the shape
of a bull.
Since that time the roles have changed. Europa has turned into a
knowledgeable, independent and free woman who has learned to
tame the “godly” bull.
Free, knowledgeable and independent human beings and especially “free, knowledgeable and independent women” are a visible sign of a humanistic culture.
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Explanation of how the individual steps causally build upon one another:
1st step – Humanistic thinking:
Humanistic thinking was the first step from the theocentric view of the world during the Middle
Ages toward the humanistic world-view of the modern era.
Dominant views of the world
All European values have their roots within the idea of the humanistic world-view coming from
Greek and Roman antiquity. Humanistic thinking was the beginning of the countermovement against
the theocentric world-view (all from one God, all for one God) during the Middle Ages. Part of this
theocentric view was the nothingness of every human when compared to God’s perfection, since
apparently it focused more on human inadequacy. Also, human abilities, such as critical thinking,
were considered inadequate and arrogant in contrast to God’s omniscience.
Humanistic Thinking means to put the main focus on human beings and their actions. This includes
a new intellectual attitude, which assumes that every human being (with all his/her abilities) gain an
independent quality when compared to God’s almightiness.
2nd step – Rationality:
For the first time, the ability of using human rationality for making decisions can be used in addition
to religious belief.
Rationality evolves as the second step, and reason applied by human beings is finally accepted as a
mean within every decision-making process. Thus, reason and rationality supersede religious belief.
Without humanism, human rationality could not have existed next to the endless and inscrutable wisdom of God that was the paramount principle for over a thousand years during the Middle Ages.
It is important to understand that this concept was only made possible due to the appreciation of human abilities established in humanistic thinking. Until then, all human abilities had been despised,
thus making it all but impossible to use human rationality as a mean for any decision-making
process. This explains why rationality could only develop on the basis of humanistic thinking.
3rd step – Secularity:
In the past nearly all aspects of life had been controlled by religion. But since rational and logic
thinking exceedingly disproved dogmatic religious thinking, the impact religion had on worldly maters continuously decreased until the authorities of religion and politics had again been separated.
Secularity had been implemented as the third step. From then on, politics had to follow rationality
and religion turned into a private affair.
Only because of rational thinking could dogmatic religious rules be confronted by reasonable rules
which arose from logic conclusions. This second possibility did not exist until the appreciation of
human rationality. This possibility of using rational conclusions for the basis of decisions and laws
was expressed by the principle of secularity. Secularity means to separate secularistic developments
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(politics) from otherworldly developments (religion) within any thinking. From now on, at least politics must follow rationality and reason. Religious dogmas must not interfere with political decisions
serving the commonweal.
Rationality brought about a process of decision making that involves reason for all mattes in this
world (politics, science.) After a time where religion controlled all aspects of people’s lives, here
religion became a private matter. For all otherworldly matters, belief (religion) remained the basic
principle for any decision making process. Secularity means that this very step was also implemented
and adopted within the political system.
4th step – Rule of law:
Only implemented secularity lead to the fourth step: rule of law. The result was the recognition of
basic laws and constitutions made by human beings and not made by God himself or initiated because of the “grace of God.” Without secularity, no significant laws would exist which were and not
made by God or initiated because of the “grace of God.”
Only when an individual can separate politics and religion in his/her mind will s/he be able to accept
the secular principle of the rule of state. This is the fundament of secular legislation and constitution.
Genuine rule of state as mentioned above can only evolve on the basis of secularity. In religiouspolitical systems, the distinguishing features such as separation of powers can never be achieved.
5th step – Democracy:
The resulting basic rights of an individual and also the implementation of the separation of powers
together form the basis for citizens who dare to demand rights of co-determination from his/her sovereign. The fifth step develops: democracy.
Without the rule of state, there would be no basis for democratic principles. Democratic principles
can only be allowed, demanded and implemented as long as secular and constitutional principles are
accepted in general. On the basis of fundamental secular laws and constitutions, democracy develops.
6th step – Human Rights:
The demand to implement this sixth and final step for universal human rights is only accommodated
in a well functioning democracy. The Charter of Human Rights defined by the UNO only becomes
an eligible good through human understanding for the reasonableness of democracy and the implementation of basic social values for the entire society.
Hardly anyone living under any other form of government than democracy would follow universal
human rights. Besides that, only citizens living in a well functioning democracy can even think about
demanding an implementation of universal human rights.
The fact that respect for and protection of human rights and well-functioning and efficient constitutional structures are interdependent often remains unnoticed.
The democratic world-view culminated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which would
apply to all human beings on earth.
Could any of these steps have possibly developed without the preceding one?
No, each step evolved on the basis of the previous one! Every previous step was the cause or also the basis for
the following one! By attentively reading and critically questioning the previous text, this will become apparent to every critical reader.
How did a humanistic conception of the world become possible at all?
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Each step on the way to today’s Europe was accompanied and developed by innovative thinking, which apparently is a human quality. Modern brain research proves the following: Only if something is imaginable is it
also feasible.
These developments occurred only because they were imaginable for many beings. Europe’s history – especially since 1945 – is the evidence that a well functioning society, on the basis of European values, is not only
possible, but desirable.
The following dialogue is to illustrate how the new way of thinking changed the point of view of humans regarding their
living environment. A holds the old and B holds the new way of thinking, which are (time lapsed) placed adjacently here.
A: Everything is God given, controlled and defined by God!
B: A human being can develop independently from his or her gods! One’s thinking and acting defines his/her
own world. (humanistic thinking)
A: Man and all animals were created during a unique act of creation by God.
B: We can prove that humans and animals result from evolution over millions of years (rationality)
A: Respect God’s Laws since his Godly power is omnipresent.
B: Political and religious powers have to be clearly separated.
A: God created the social classes! There are sovereigns with rights and servants with duties.
B: Fair practice of duties and rights for all humans. (Rule of state)
A: The sovereign and Pope define what is best for the people.
B: The government elected by the people has the power to decide what is best for the voters! (Democracy)
B: What all humans really need is the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church!
B: What all humans really need is universal rights for freedom and equality!
What if a certain value disappears suddenly?
Nowadays all six steps are being taken for granted.
One is only able to realize the value of freedom, or of a close person, if he is not there anymore.
Without human rights, we would solely have the right to vote and also natural rights (natural rights = right
to life, personal freedom, physical inviolability etc.) Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, press and opinion as well as the protection against any form of discrimination, the right for education, etc. were achieved
by a normal citizen only after the implementation of the universal human rights.
Without democracy, we would all have natural rights but no right of co-determination. The control of our
destiny would come from someone else.
Without the rule of state, we would have no natural rights; the sovereign could arbitrarily decide about or life
and death, our personal freedom, etc.
Without secularity, we would also have to strictly follow religious laws in addition to the governmental laws.
Without rationality, we would not have any means to shape our own lives in a self-dependent way.
Without humanistic thinking, we would not exist as independent human individuals in the first place. We
would still be in the theocentric world-view of the Middle Ages.
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History Repeats Itself
In the preceding chapters, the individual European values were defined and their gradual history development was explained. Now, they will be presented within a somewhat broader historical context.
Important social developments and other relevant milestones are stated, so that the European values
can be understood and arranged within the complex history of Europe.
The following explanations and diagrams are based on the following time scale:
Ancient history (3,500 B.C.E. – 500 C.E.)
Antiquity (800 B.C.E. – 500 C.E.)
Middle Ages (500 C.E. – 1500 C.E.)
Modern Era (1500 C.E.– today)
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Humanistic development in Europe
This diagram illustrates the rise and fall of humanistic and/or European values on the basis of the
existence or non-existence of the “6 steps to a humanistic society.”
With special consideration of these developments and events:
 Greek Antiquity (800 – 146 B.C.E.)
 Roman Antiquity (509 B.C.E. – 500 C.E.)
ï‚· Christianity becomes the state religion in the Roman Empire (380 C.E.) [14]
 Renaissance (1450 C.E. – 1600 C.E.)
 Reformation (1517 C.E. – 1600 C.E.)
 Enlightenment (1600 C.E. – 1800 C.E.)
ï‚· French Revolution (1789 C.E.)
Legend for the stars in the “Ancient History” area:
The number of stars shows in which measure the humanistic principles found entrance into the society of the antiquity. The evaluation goes from six stars for the full implementation of the new way of
thinking to one star for a very limited implementation.
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How did the development of a humanistic world-view in Europe
take place twice historically?
The fall of the Roman Empire and thus the fall of the ancient civilization led to the following developments:
(1): The first feeble attempts at human rights disintegrate with the Roman Republic.
(2): The former Republic turns into the Roman Empire – and becomes a dictatorship.
(3): Rule of law loses ground as the Republic gets cut down piece by piece. The laws become more
(4): 380 C.E.: The Roman Empire and Christianity merge – Christianity becomes the Roman Catholic
state church. The separation of politics and religion ends.
(5): Faith is again raised above reason.
(6): From 500 C.E.: The Christian theocentric world-view replaces the Humanist world-view of Antiquity. God (no longer the human being) becomes once again the focal point of all thought and action!
(7) Human Rights: Where do we stand today?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created to ensure the rights of every human being
when dealing with governmental and religious institutions. Still religious institutions curtail other
basic human rights like the freedom of opinion, all under the cover of religious freedom. Every single day, the freedom of opinion gets curtailed, especially when it pertains to religious matters in Europe – a fact clearly violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Already the freedom of
opinion has been undermined in a way, making it nearly impossible to say something humorous
(harmless Mohammed cartoons) or critical (documentation) about Islam in Europe.
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Why did the humanistic conception of the world of the antiquity fall apart?
During antiquity both education and science were not yet in a position to disprove the gods, therefore
the expression of secularity was weak. The fact that secularity was not developed strongly enough,
was the reason Christianity could become the religion of state in the Roman Empire.
Secularity got assigned only two STARS, because it was the weak spot in the gradual path to a humanistic society. While rule of law, democracy and human rights shortly appeared for the first time,
they fell aside with the fall of secularism! Shortly afterwards the 2nd step of development (rationality) and the 1st step of development (humanism) were quickly turned into their opposites!
All 6 steps ended up turned upside down and gave way to the Christian-theocentric view of the
Not until the rebirth of antiquity, i.e. the recent emergence of humanistic ideas and rationality, people
in Europe were given a second chance in order to make it better this time!
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Humanistic development of Antiquity and the Modern Era by comparison
Historical evidence about the emergence of the 6 stages:
Human Rights:
Modern Era:
Roots of the Human Rights in Athe- Universal Declaration
nian Democracy and in Roman Law Rights 1948 [2]
First democracies of the Antiquity:
First democracies of the Modern Era:
Athenian Democracy 461 – 322 U.S.A. 1787
Poland, France 1791 [4]
Roman Republic 509 – 27 B.C.E.
Rule of law:
First rule of law led to Athenian Democracy and then was further developed into “Roman Law,” from 450
B.C.E. [5]
Starting from 1689 (Bill Of Rights,)
rule of law remained the principal demand of the French Revolution and led
to the first constitutions: U.S.A. 1787,
Poland 1791 [6]
The 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E. of In Europe, secularization began with
ancient Greece are considered as the the Enlightenment and became one of
classical period of first secularization the principal demands of the French
(to 380 C.E) [7]
Revolution. [8]
Starting from 600 B.C.E. on: Thales Starting from 1640 on: classical ratioof Miletus was considered as the first nalism is usually considered to have
philosopher and as the founder of begun with René Descartes. [10]
philosophy and science in general. [9]
Humanistic think- Ancient humanism (Greeks, Romans) Renaissance-Humanism starting from
starting from 600 B.C.E. – 500 C.E. 1450 until today. [12]
The transition from theocentrism to
anthropocentrism took place for the
first time already in the Antiquity and
was introduced by the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus in 600
B.C.E. [11]
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2.4 What one should know about ancient democracy and the Middle
What one should know about ancient democracy?
The idea of democracy has its origin in ancient Greece. The first realization of a democracy in human history was the ancient Athenian Democracy.
In Greek antiquity, democracy was defined as the direct participation of the people in the politics of
their city states (polis.) Contrary systems were ruling systems like oligarchy (the ruling of a few),
monarchy (ruling of single individual) and aristocracy (ruling of the elite.)
There is still one important difference to how we see democracy today:
In ancient times, people was understood as a very narrowly defined term, giving the right of political
participation only to a certain group of citizens: only free male citizen were allowed to participate
within a decision-making process; the majority of the inhabitants – women, semi-slaves and slaves
etc. – where excluded from participation within these processes.
This form of democracy, allowing only some adult male citizen to directly participate in politics, was
considered the only possible form of democracy for a long time.
Also the Roman republic implemented a political system with rudimentary democratic elements
based on the idea of equality of the “free” during elections for republican positions. Even though the
oligarchic principle was all-dominant (since the power was held by the aristocratic members of the
Roman senate) there was still some sort of co-determination when it came to ruling, like the people’s
tribunes defending the simple people within the senate. The implementation of an early form of a
constitutional state by applying Roman law was of great historical significance. These laws where
administered on the basis of a proceeding in written form and not by the powerful positions of the
involved parties.
What one should know about the Middle Ages?
A society arranged in social classes and having a religious Christian mind-set in literature, arts, and
science characterized the Middle Ages. This mind-set led to a Europe where a “One-God-Belief” was
established for the first time, implementing also a rather consistent theocentric world-view. Nothing
(science,…) and no one (subjects,…) were allowed to deviate from this view.
God was at the heart of all thought and action. Since no one had personal contact with this God, it
was rather the secular and religious representatives of God on earth, which substituted for the selfresponsibility of its citizens, already achieved by Greeks and Romans, with secular and religious
In the Middle Ages, all law and order was derived from God. God was everything and the human
being was only his servant. This god-given order was “preserved” in disregard of all current human
rights in Europe by an absolute ruler “by the grace of God,” and also by an absolutistic clergy, which
embodied God’s representative on earth!
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Worldly & religious pyramids of power
The end of the Middle Ages was ushered by the Renaissance – the rebirth of the antiquity; thus by
the reconsideration of the values of the antiquity.
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2.5 How can a change in world-view occur?
A shift from the humanistic world-view of Antiquity
to the Christian-theocentric world-view of the Middle Ages
The era shaped by the Greeks and Romans comes to and end – the Middle Ages close in over Europe.
Christianity first conquered the Roman Empire and then – step by step – also the rest of Europe. In 380 C.E. it becomes the roman state religion; in 391 C.E. heathen cults are banned
(as a monotheistic religion, no other Gods can be tolerated.) Thus until 600 C.E., Europe was
converted to Christianity mainly by Irish missionaries. Around the year 500 C.E., under King
Chlodwig I – who had converted to Christianity with his entire people – the rise of the Frankish kingdom begins. This kingdom soon based its domination in western and central Europe
on the vestiges of the Western Roman Empire and the empires of the Germanic clans. This
development reached its peak with the coronation of King Charlemagne. He was crowned
roman emperor by the pope on Christmas day in 800 C.E.
The Roman Empire separates into a Western and Eastern Roman Empire (395 C.E.) The
Western Roman Empire fell apart in 476 C.E., whereas the Eastern Roman Empire continued
to exist until 1453 C.E.
The Migration period (375 – 568 C.E.) accelerated the fall of the Western Roman Empire and
therefore the end of antiquity. After having guaranteed peace, law and order within the borders of the empire, the power of Rome vanishes as a result of the attacks of the Germanic
clans and the feared Huns.
During the 5th century C.E., Rome was pillaged several times and the last Roman emperor
was deposed in 476 C.E.
In the early 7th century a new power develops in the Orient breaking with the view of antiquity: Islam. Arabic expansion begins in 632 C.E.
Christian belief puts strict limits to science and controls all aspects of life.
The change from antiquity to the Middle Ages is marked by a philosophical paradigm shift
replacing the antiquity’s thinking with Christian thinking. In 529 C.E., the Platonic Academy
in Athens is closed down and the first Christian monastery is founded. The “Platonic” time of
antiquity was replaced with Christianity.
Since education only applies to the social elites, the knowledge of antiquity gets lost rapidly.
Over the centuries of the Middle Ages, it keeps a place in books but not in the minds of the
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Shift from the christian-theocentric world-view of the Middle Ages
to the humanistic world-view of the Modern Era
A modern era begins – the Modern Era dawns!
Columbus discovers America (1492 AD.)
The Ottomans conquer Constantinople (1453 C.E.) The Eastern Roman Empire falls, many
Greek scholars flee to Western Europe and helped humanism to its height.
Humanism counters medieval scholasticism. Scholasticism defines the totality of medieval
theology and philosophy, meaning in a narrow sense all attempts to explain the church’s
dogmas of Catholicism with rational philosophical means. During the Middle Ages, rational
thinking was only tolerated by the church as long as it did not interfere with catholic dogmas.
Now again there is space for individual and humanistic thinking based on rationality. Whereas Christian thinking during the Middle Ages replaced the thinking of antiquity, it now
happened the other way around.
The new humanistic way of thinking and the “German” Luther Bible spread rather fast because of the invention of the letterpress printing (1450 C.E.)
Luther’s Theses initiated a reform of Catholicism (1517 C.E.)
The cultural-historical era of the Renaissance (rebirth of the ideals of antiquity) begins.
The geocentric view (Ptolemy: Earth marks the center of the universe and everything turns
around the Earth) is being replaced by the heliocentric view (Nikolaus Copernicus: Earth
turns around the sun.) This change in the astronomical view of the world ushers the end of the
ideological monopoly that the Church held during the Middle Ages. The monopoly of defining the world gets transferred step by step from the Church (churchly predetermined thinking
and dogmatic domination of the Christian clergy) to the natural sciences.
A shift within the general principle takes place: from the Christian thinking of the Middle
Ages to the humanistic world-view.
What are the most important differences between the above mentioned views?
The main difference consists of whether a conception of the world is shaped by a God or by humans.
A world-view in which God is the focal point of thought and action is handed down and shaped by
this God. This same God also defines his worldly and spiritual representatives on earth. These are the
ones to govern and change the world according to God’s will.
A view of the world, which moves humans into center stage and was shaped by humans, is the humanistic world-view. It is humane, because changes in life – in the public as well as in the private
area – are dealt with by the people, thanks to their reason.
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3 Developmental steps from the Middle Ages until today
These 6 steps led to:
a.) Change from an inhumane conception of the world to a human conception of the world
Inhumane world-view
Humane world-view
God is crucial!
The well-being of God is at
the center of human action
and thought.
Humanistic thinking
The human being is crucial!
The well-being of humans is
at the center of human action
and thought.
Faith is the ultimate source of
Reason becomes the ultimate
source of decision.
Separating the powers of
everything divine (for the
hereafter) from everything
human (for the here and now)
Rule of law
Justice through human-made,
secular basic law and constitution
Dictatorship by Pope and
Representatives of the people
periodically elected by the
The holy teachings of Catholicism must be valid for all
Human rights
One universal law
by people for people!
Church and king
reign together.
Arbitrary laws by the king
and inhumane laws by the
terrestrial representatives of
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b.) Change in the relationship with national and religious institutions
One the one hand, this means a shift from a “me” being a servant of the state to the state being my
servant in public matters. On the other hand, it also means a shift from a “me” being a servant of the
church to religion being my supporter in private aspects of life.
History of mankind is a history of suppression by religious and governmental institutions, which prohibited the individual development
of their inferiors.
Illustration: State and religion with their limiting dogmas and totalitarian demands are the burden of the unfree subject.
In previous times one was servant to the state and servant to religion.
With the implementation of the European values, the state became the
servant, and religion became a helper.
Today, the state is a helper in public matters and religion is a helper in
private matters.
Illustration:  “Freedom” describes a
citizen being freed of governmental and
religious institutions.
An agreement on equal terms was only
achieved after the implementation of the
six Fundamental European Values.
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Summarizing the development of the six stages: briefly and concisely brought to the point:
Change in the relationship with governmental and religious institutions
Change in the relationship with governmental
Change in the relationship
with religious institutions
Emancipation in relation
to the state
Humanistic thinking
Emancipation in relation
to religion
Questioning the
ruling system
Questioning religious
Separation of state and
Religion becomes
a private matter
By secular constitution
and basic law, the subject
becomes a citizen
Rule of law
Secular laws prevail
over divine laws
Democracy replaces
The respective religions
within a state become equal
before the law
Human rights become the
ideal law for the state
Human Rights
Religious activities may not
contradict human rights
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4 Findings
The history of Europe is shaped by constant change between two totally antithetic conceptions of the
world: the theocentric conception of the world with a God as the focal point and the humanistic conception of the world with the human being as the focal point.
Two utterly incompatible views of the world
From the theocentric world-view of the Middle Ages
to the humanistic world-view of today.
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Theocentric world-view
Humanistic world-view
Christian-theocentric conception of the
world during the Middle Ages and
Islamic-theocentric conception of the
world of today (example: Iran)
conception of the world
of western civilization
and of Japan
A God determined everything!
He also determined who rules the
community of believers and how he
A community of knowledgeable,
autonomous and free people determines itself!
Repression by
Repression by
The six most Fundamental European
Freedom from
Freedom from
Humanistic thinking
God as the focal
The human being
as the focal point
Faith takes precedence over reason
Reason takes precedence over faith
Governmental and religious
institutions work
hand in hand
Separation of
governmental and religious
Rule of law
Justice by secular
constitution and
basic law
Human rights
ignored by
Human rights
ignored by
religious institutions
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(western model)
Human Rights
institutions ensure
the observance of
human rights
page 40 of 46
4.1 What distinguishes a European of today and a supporter of European values?
Today’s Europeans and supporters of European values accept and appreciate the following in their
thoughts and actions:
ï‚· The universal human rights.
ï‚· Democratic principles.
ï‚· Principles of the rule of law.
ï‚· The separation of politics and religion.
ï‚· Judgment based on reason.
ï‚· The human being as a measure of all things.
Today’s Europeans think and act
ï‚· in a humanistic manner,
ï‚· rationally,
ï‚· secularly,
ï‚· by observing the rule of law,
ï‚· democratically &
ï‚· respectfully protecting the Human Rights
4.2 Are these European values universal?
They absolutely can be called “European values” because they were realized first and foremost in
Europe and America – the new home of emigrated Europeans – and they shape the European cultural
society until today.
Ultimately these values do not just belong to Europeans alone, but rather to all human beings who
want to live in a humanistic world.
European values are universal, i.e. they can be understood as an invitation to all higher cultures to
build up a humanistic society via implementing these six fundamental steps.
European values are universal humanistic values,
whose goal is free, knowledgeable and independent human beings.
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page 41 of 46
In order to be able to check these general facts from history books in a simple and fast way, we refer
to the respective passages of the German Wikipedia (As of 01/2009):
1: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menschenrechte#Die_Wurzeln_der_Menschenrechte_in_der_Antike
2: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menschenrechte_der_Vereinten_Nationen
4: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demokratie#Mittelalter_und_Neuzeit
5: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antike#Urspr.C3.BCnge_Roms
6: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_Rights_(England)
9: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thales
10: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Descartes
11: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropozentrismus#Religion
12: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanismus#Renaissance-Humanismus
History books in German:
Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, 21. Auflage 2005:
2: Band 18, S. 260; “Menschenrechte”
4: Band 28, S. 740; “Verfassung”
5: Band 23, S. 329; “Römisches Recht”
6: Band 22, S. 630; “Rechtsstaat”
8: Band 23, S. 700; “Säkularisierung”
9: Band 27, S. 290; “Thales von Milet”
10: Band 6, S. 475; “Descartes, Rene”
12: Band 12, S. 777; “Humanismus”
14: Band 4, S. 659; “Christentum”
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page 42 of 46
1: Menschenrechte Antike
Die Stoa entwickelte in ihrer Anthropologie und Ethik die Lehre von der Gleichheit der Menschen.
Zenon von Kition (336 – 263) ist der Begründer des Stoizismus.
Oestreich, Gerhard. Geschichte der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten im Umriss. S. 16 Berlin: Duncker & Hublot 1968
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 71. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
Die Stoa sind eine der großen philosophischen Strömungen im antiken Griechenland.
2: Menschenrechte Neuzeit
‘1948, 10. Dez. Die Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen nimmt die ‘Deklaration der Menschenrechte’ an, die davon ausgeht, dass alle Menschen frei und gleich an Würde und Rechte geboren sind.’
Der große Ploetz. S. 1379. Göttingen Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht 2008
3: Demokratie Antike
‘Vollendung der Demokratie 462 in Athen.’ ‘Einführung der Timokratie 322’ in Athen. ‘Timokratie =
Herrschaft der Besitzenden (eine auf Bodenertrag und Produktion eingestellte Klassenordnung).’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 59. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 69. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 55. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
Oestreich, Gerhard. Geschichte der Menschenrechte und Grundfreiheiten im Umriss. S. 15 – 18. Berlin: Duncker & Hublot1968
‘Der Bürger Athens war stolz, frei zu sein im Bewusstsein seiner
Teilnahme an der Regierung und im Gefühl der Respektierung seiner
Rechte durch das Gemeinwesen, das die politische und die religiöse,
die rechtliche und die göttliche Ordnung zugleich umschloss.’
(Attische Demokratie: 461 – 322 v. Chr.)
‘509 v. Chr. (traditionell) …das erste Jahr der (römischen) Republik.’ ‘C. J. Octavianus (seit 27. v.
Chr.) Augustus und Alleinherrscher’
Der Große Ploetz. S. 216. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2008
Vorstandlechner, Hans. Weißt du das? Frag’ mich über Geschichtsdaten von 3900 v. Chr. Bis heute.
S. 16. Wien/München/Zürich: Verlag Adalbert Pechan
4: Demokratie Neuzeit
‘Der Konvent verabschiedet am 17. Sept. 1787 die Verfassung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika,
das Grundgesetz der ersten modernen Demokratie.’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 293. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
‘Sept. 1792 Frankreich wird zur Republik erklärt’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 299. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
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5: Rechtsstaatlichkeit Antike
‘Dieser Staat [der Römische] ist ein Rechtsstaat in dem das Gesetz (Lex) an die Stelle des Königs
(Rex) getreten ist.’
‘Um 450 siegt die Staatsidee in Rom über Standesdenken.’ ”C. J. Octavianus (seit 27. v. Chr.) Augustus und Alleinherrscher’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 86. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 77. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
Der Große Ploetz. S. 256. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2008
Vorstandlechner, Hans. Weißt du das? Frag’ mich über Geschichtsdaten von 3900 v. Chr. bis heute.
S. 16. Wien/München/Zürich: Verlag Adalbert Pechan
‘Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Athen durch Reform des Kleisthenes 509 v. Chr. ‘
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 54/55. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
„Durch Teilung der Macht in unterschiedliche von allen Bürgern gewählte Verwaltungs- und Regierungsorgane, deren Vertreter ihre Ämter zeitlich stark begrenzt innehaben, Teilung der Gewalten und
Ausbreitung der Macht auf das gesamte (männliche) Bürgertum bei gleichzeitiger, gegenseitiger
Kontrolle und Machteinschränkung durch die Kurzfristgkeit der Amtsdauer, wird eine Form von
Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Athen verwirklicht.(Reform des Kleisthenes 509 – 507. v. Chr.)“
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 54/55. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
6: Rechtsstaatlichkeit Neuzeit
‘Der Konvent verabschiedet am 17. Sept. 1787 die Verfassung der
Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, das Grundgesetz der ersten
modernen Demokratie. Wesentliche Merkmale: Gewaltenteilung und
ein System gegenseitiger Kontrolle
(Checks and Balances)’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 293. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
‘Die französische Verfassung von 1791: Garantie der Menschen- und
Bürgerrechte durch Teilung der Gewalten in Exekutive Legislative
und Jurisdiktion.’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 296. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
7: Säkularität Antike
‘Und so kam es zu dem ganz und gar profanen Gesetzeswerk des Solon (um 580 v. Chr.), der nicht
als Prophet oder Götterbote angesehen wurde, sondern einfach als ‘Weiser’ (sophos).
Schupp, Franz. Geschichte der Philosophie. Antike. S. 34. Hamburg: Meiner Verlag 2003
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Die Bürger der Polis nahmen, vermittelt durch den von ihnen Beauftragten, ihre innere Ordnung
selbst in die Hand, für Zeus blieb das Wetter mit Blitz und Donner.’
Der Große Ploetz. S. 166. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 2008
8: Säkularität Neuzeit
‘In jedem Fall war die Verbindung von Kirche und Staat für sie (die Philosophen der Aufklärung) ein
Schupp, Franz. Die Geschichte der Philosophie – Neuzeit. S. 299. Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag
‘Unter Androhung der Amtsenthebung bei Zuwiderhandlungen schränkte man die Aufgaben der Bischöfe auf den rein geistlichen Bereich ein…’
Goodwin, Albert. Die Französische Revolution. 1789 – 1795. S 81. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer
‘Juli 1790 Zivilverfassung des Klerus: Verstaatlichung der Kirche; Aufhebung der kontemplativen
Klöster und Orden; Wahl der Priester. Die meisten Geistlichen lehnen den verlangten Eid auf die
Verfassung ab, ein Konflikt zwischen Staat und Kirche entsteht.’
‘Trennung von Staat und Kirche in den USA (1785 Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty)’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 297. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 293. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
9: Rationalität Antike
‘Die griechische Philosophie wollte einen wissenschaftlichen Anfang haben und den symbolisierte
Thales von Milet (um 624 – 546).’
Schupp, Franz. Geschichte der Philosophie. Antike. S. 48. Hamburg: Meiner Verlag 2003
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 51. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
‘Logos als Vernunft ist nicht etwas, was dem Menschen natürlicherweise mitgegeben wäre: Ohne
Zweifel hatten die Menschen immer schon die Fähigkeit, sich in ihrer Welt zu orientieren, d.h. sich
Handlungsmodelle zu entwerfen. Dass die ionischen Naturphilosophen (u.a. Thales) dies aber mit
Vernunft, d. h. Unter anderem mit Abstraktionen, mit Versuchen einheitlicher Theoriebildung, mit
Argumentationsformen und Logik unternehmen ist ein historisches und kein natürliches Phänomen,
es ist ein Ereignis der Geschichte, das bis heute seine ungeheuren und manchmal auch ungeheuerlichen Auswirkungen zeigt.’
10: Rationalität Neuzeit
‘Zeitalter der Vernunft: Renè Descartes (1596 – 1650) vertritt den Rationalismus: allein durch Denken und allg.-log. Schlüsse (Prinzipien) wird Wahrheit gefunden (deduktive Methode) ‘ Die Aufklärung (18. Jahrhundert): die von Westeuropa ausgehende größte geistige Bewegung seit der Reformation basiert auf Humanismus, Philosophie und naturwissenschaftl. Weltbild des 17. Jahrhunderts.
Vernunft, Mut zur Kritik, geistige Freiheit und religiöse Toleranz sollen Tradition, relig. Dogmatik,
kirchliche und staatliche Autorität (Absolutismus), moralische und ständische Vorurteile überwinden. Natürliche (=vernünftige) Bildung und Erziehung zur Humanität garantieren den Fortschritt,
fördern die ‘Verbrüderung der Menschheit’
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page 45 of 46
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S.256/257 München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
11: Humanistisches Denken Antike
‘594 Solonische Gesetze in Athen deren erster Grundgedanke die Emanzipation des Einzelnen ist’
‘Protagoras (um 485 – um 415): Der Mensch ist das Maß aller Dinge’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 55. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
Der große Ploetz. S. 182. Göttingen Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht 2008
12: Humanistisches Denken Neuzeit
‘Die Renaissance in Italien (15./16. Jh.). Hinwendung zur Welt und Humanismus.’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 213. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
‘Aus Byzanz emigrierte Gelehrte gründen um 1440 die Platonische Akademie in Florenz. Gefordert
wird freie geistige Entfaltung des Menschen, der sich aus eigener Kraft durch das Studium klassischer antiker Literatur vervollkommnen kann.’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 212. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
13: Das Christentum wird Staatsreligion
‘380 Das Edikt von Thessalonike: Der Athanasianismus (Katholizismus) wird Staatsreligion’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 103. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
‘391 das Christentum wird Staatsreligion, Verbot aller heidnischen Kulte.’
dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte. S. 103. München: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag 2006
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