The aim of the European Defence League is to defend internal and external attacks against Western Culture, which we equate with Western civilisation, Occidental culture, the Western world, Western society or European civilisation, as used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems and specific artefacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe.
The term also applies beyond Europe, to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to Europe by immigration, colonisation, or influence. For example, Western Culture includes countries in the Americas and Australasia, whose language and demographic ethnicity majorities are currently European.
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 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. Before the Cold War era, the traditional Western viewpoint identified Western Civilization with the Western Christian (Catholic-Protestant) countries and culture.
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. Empiricism later gave rise to the scientific method during the Scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.
The Catholic Church is also at the center of the development of the values, ideas, science, laws, and institutions which constitute Western civilization. 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.
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. Greece was followed by Rome, which made key contributions in law, government, engineering and political organization.
Western culture continued to develop with the Christianisation of Europe during the Middle Ages and the reform and modernization triggered by the Renaissance. The Church preserved the intellectual developments of classical antiquity, and is the sole reason much of them is known today.
Medieval Christianity created the university, the hospital system, scientific economics, natural law (which would later influence the creation of international law), and numerous other innovations across all intellectual fields. Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan societies, such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy.
The globalization by successive European empires spread European ways of life and European educational methods around the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. European culture developed with a complex range of philosophy, medieval scholasticism and mysticism, and Christian and secular humanism. Rational thinking developed through a long age of change and formation, with the experiments of the Enlightenment, and breakthroughs in the sciences.
This section of the website will cover European history and geography and look at the people and institutions that have influenced the development of Western culture and we have also included sections on current “Defenders of the Faith” in various countries.
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