Catholic Dictionary




The belief that the human race is the center of the universe, on whom all else depends and from whom everything derives. As such it is only a variant of pantheism. There is, however, a valid anthropocentrism that recognizes creation of human beings by God and total dependence on him. But it also views the universe as having been created to serve human beings and, by being rightly used, to help them attain the heavenly destiny for which they were made. A distorted form of anthropocentrism has become a feature of the "New Christianity," in which the love and service of God are reduced to the love and service of humankind. The first commandment, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart," is transformed into the second commandment, "You must love your neighbor," which becomes not the second but the only commandment. (Etym. Greek anthropos, man + kentron, center: centering in man.)