I’m not saying Judeo-Christian tradition anymore. There’s no point. Whatever good is attributable to “Judeo” culture within the framework of Western Civilization has already been filtered through Christianity. The 10 Commandments, the Psalms, Proverbs, Prophesy – it’s all part of Christian tradition now and has been for two thousand years. What is distinct from Christianity, that combined with it to form the Western world, is the monolithic European ideology that existed before the rise of Church doctrines. Thus, I refer to it now, exclusively as Euro-Christian culture and tradition.
Western Civilization, my civilization, the civilization that allows me, among other things, to write blog posts is built on 5 pillars: Greek art, philosophy and speculation; Roman engineering and organization; Germanic industry; Norse adventurism; and of course, most importantly, Christian idealism and faith. The first four are solid European elements, the fifth, incorporates a lot of non-western beliefs, but since 313 A.D. is a solid Western construct, a Universal religion that promotes progress, growth and achievement on Earth.
No other culture, despite their well-deserved praise, can boast the accomplishments of Euro-Christian tradition – art, music, literature, science, philosophy and humanitarian endeavours are unmatched.
Yes, other nations have come up with original and influential ideas, but it is only by being distilled through Western principles that these ideas have reached universal appeal. For example, the movable type, printing press was developed in Asia hundreds of years before Gutenberg, but the idea failed to get general acceptance In the East and, in many cases, was reserved only for the ruling class. Gutenberg’s conception, fueled by Euro-Christian ideology, was to promote literacy throughout Europe and make it possible for anyone, of any economic class, to afford a personal copy of the Bible and other significant works. Up till then, books had to be copied out by hand and were extremely expensive. Gutenberg made it possible for information to be transmitted to the masses – a concept peculiar to Western culture.
Western culture is responsible for technological achievements ranging from the telephone to space travel. The West developed symphony orchestras, opera, ballet, even Jazz and rock & roll and, significantly, the means of bringing all this music into the lives of anyone who wants it through radio, television, and recording devices. Sociologically, the spiritual ideologies of the West have given the world innumerable charitable organizations, food and resource distribution networks, universities, public orphanages and elder care facilities, the Red Cross and other emergency care systems, as well as the concept of a United Nations where leaders from around the world can gather peacefully to discuss ways to benefit humanity.
Some think that it is the climate and landscape of Europe that led to the development of these wonders. However, many countries have far more environmental advantages, but have not accomplished nearly as much. No, it is the ideological spirit of bringing forth societal betterment through individual as well as group effort that is far more responsible. The desire to make beauty, safety, progress and freedom available to everyone, not just the elite, and the will to accomplish these aims, seems to be a peculiarly Euro-Christian construct.
Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bach, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and other geniuses could have been born anywhere, but it is unlikely that they could have achieved their level of greatness and universal impact anywhere outside the spiritual framework of the West. The value of self-expression; the ability to move through social classes; the possibility of transforming ideas into wealth; the public election of leaders at all levels of government; the concern for humanity for its own sake; the concern for non-human life, the environment and the planet as a whole; the belief that suffering of the masses can be alleviated and that it should be; the belief that all people are created equal before God and that no group is chosen above the rest; the belief that, in spite of personal sinfulness, all people have value, can be forgiven and can free themselves from the past; and the possibility of individual greatness – are all Euro-Christian conceptions that have shaped the world.
To be sure, many Euro-Christian doctrines are not always practiced, and they are often opposed by people who should, in fact, know better. There has been a struggle both spiritually and materially throughout the centuries to make Euro-Christian culture mainstream, even in Europe. However, the core beliefs of our culture are what makes it possible for all those of good will to gather together and work for peace, security and the enhancement of all people who choose to embrace what we know of as Western Civilization.