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20 Facts About Western Culture

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Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society, European civilization, or Judeo-Greco-Christian civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe.

A society is a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

A civilization is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms, and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment by a cultural elite.

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author's imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.

The Death of Western Culture in 60 Seconds by Stefan Molyneux

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The term also applies beyond Europe, to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonization, or influence.

Is Western culture deteriorating? by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

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For example, Western Culture includes countries in the Americas and Australasia, whose language and demographic ethnicity majorities are currently European.

Australasia, a region of Oceania, comprises Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The Americas encompass the totality of the continents of North and South America.

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Western culture is characterized by a host of artistic, philosophic, literary and legal themes and traditions; the heritage of Greek, Roman, Jewish, Germanic, Celtic, Slavic and other ethnic and linguistic groups, as well as Middle Eastern Christianity including the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church, which played an important part in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century.

The Eastern Orthodox Church, also known as the Orthodox Church, or officially as the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church and one of the oldest extant religious institutions in the world.

The Latin Church, sometimes called the Western Church, is the largest part of the Catholic Church, governed directly by the Pope, tracing its history to the earliest days of Christianity.

Catholicism is a term which in its broadest sense refers to the beliefs and practices of Christian denominations that describe themselves as catholic.

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The teachings of Jesus, such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, are among the important sources for modern notions of Human Rights and the welfare measures commonly provided by governments in the West.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a didactic story told by Jesus in Luke 10:25–37.

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Before the Cold War era, the traditional Western viewpoint identified Western Civilization with the Western Christian countries and culture.

Western Christianity consists of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, and the variety of Protestant denominations originating from the latter.

The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc and powers in the Eastern Bloc.

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A cornerstone of Western thought, beginning in ancient Greece and continuing through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, is the idea of rationalism in various spheres of life, especially religion, developed by Hellenistic philosophy, Scholasticism, and humanism.

Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending dogma in an increasingly pluralistic context.

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition.

Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence".

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Empiricism later gave rise to the scientific method during the Scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.

The scientific revolution was the emergence of modern science during the early modern period, when developments in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed the views of society about nature.

The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

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The Catholic Church is at the center of the development of the values, ideas, science, laws, and institutions which constitute Western civilization.

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Values of Western culture have, throughout history, been derived from political thought, widespread employment of rational argument favouring freethought, assimilation of human rights, the need for equality and democracy.

Political philosophy, or political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.

Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or other dogma.

Democracy, in modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament.

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Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of Western culture, with the world's first democratic system of government and major advances in philosophy, science and mathematics.

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Greece was followed by Rome, which made key contributions in law, government, engineering and political organization.

Rome is a city and special comune in Italy.

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Western culture continued to develop with the Christianisation of Europe during the Middle Ages and the reform and modernization triggered by the Renaissance.

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The Church preserved the intellectual developments of classical antiquity, and is the sole reason much of them is known today.

Classical antiquity is a term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world.

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Medieval Christianity created the university, the hospital system, scientific economics, natural law, and numerous other innovations across all intellectual fields.

Natural law is a philosophy asserting that certain rights are inherent by virtue of human nature endowed by nature; traditionally God or a transcendent source, and can be understood universally through human reason.

Economics is a social science concerned with the factors that determine the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment with specialized medical and nursing staff and medical equipment.

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Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy.

Paganism is a term that derives from Latin word paganus, which originally meant "rustic, rural" and later came to mean "nonparticipant, one excluded from a more distinguished, professional group" and thus "private, civilian" as opposed to "public, official, military".

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The globalization by successive European empires spread European ways of life and European educational methods around the world between the 16th and 20th centuries.

An empire is defined as "an aggregate of nations or people ruled over by an emperor or other powerful sovereign or government, usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Brazilian Empire, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Byzantine Empire or Roman Empire."

Globalization or globalisation is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.

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European culture developed with a complex range of philosophy, medieval scholasticism and mysticism, and Christian and secular humanism.

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Rational thinking developed through a long age of change and formation, with the experiments of the Enlightenment, and breakthroughs in the sciences.

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Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the concept of political pluralism, prominent subcultures or countercultures and increasing cultural syncretism resulting from globalization and human migration

Subculture, a concept from the academic fields of sociology and cultural studies, is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles.

A counterculture is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores.

Human migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intentions of settling, permanently in the new location.

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