Society is made up of people who have a common origin and are governed by common rules and share common beliefs. The society’s affairs are often influenced by numerous factors such as politics, religion, culture, and ideas among many others.
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Many of these factors have such an influence on the peoples’ minds, that they may change the turn of events and literally create “a new society”. The term ‘western society’ is used to determine the societies of Europe, a concept that originated in Greco-Roman civilization in Europe. Handel asserts that “medieval society in Western Europe developed out of the ruins of the Roman Empire” (31).
Western society has benefited a lot from the above factors and was greatly influenced by religion, precisely Christianity. This paper, therefore, aims at viewing the western society and how it has been influenced by Europe, it also views the extent to which religion serves as a progressive and stabilizing force in the society and the way Christianity gave energy and direction to medieval civilization.
During the medieval period, the church was very influential; that influence was felt across the whole western society and every date-to-day affairs were judged by Christian measurement. According to Bredero “medieval society, in which the church occupied an important position and also obtained great and direct authority in politico-economic affairs…” (Ix). It therefore means that the church influenced every human and societal aspect.
Christianity literally shaped the western society to what it is today. Europe is civilized today because Christianity was their major inspirer. The church responded to the fundamental call for the well being of humanity; it taught a more sophisticated way of doing things than the epoch before it. For example, the monks introduced new methods of farming which improved the people’s production hence changing their lifestyle.
Great thinkers of the medieval period rose from the church and during this period, the church was trying to extend its authorities in many ways. One of the means used by the church was provision of education. Noonan claims that “cathedrals which served as evident of this Golden Age developed into the new first universities” (20).
In their schools, they taught faith, including morality which changed and shaped the peoples’ perceptions, and as a result the morality of the society improved. People began to see the meaning of respecting the rule of law and other basic human rights; the fact that brought order to the society.
During that time, the church was concerned with the health of the people, for example, Pope Innocent III constructed hospitals and decreed that others be built in Europe (Porter 123). There were so many researches carried and precisely in the medical field. Many diseases that had no cure before could be cured with improved medicine. This, in general, improved peoples’ lifestyle immensely which means they had time to focus on the more essential issues related to the building of the society.
Impelled by hope that the church offered by improving the society’s state of affairs, medieval Europe was more ready to face its threatening adversaries. The western society became more stable and its progress was felt in the world.
In conclusion, discoveries made by the church and its activities during the medieval period may be considered to be the backbone of the civilization we see in Europe. In its turn, Christianity, factually, is the force behind the stability and progress that western society is enjoying today.
Bredero, H. Adriaan. Christendom and Christianity in middle Ages: The Relation between Religion, Church, and Society, 1st Ed. 1994. Michigan: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publisher. Print.
Handel, Gerald. Social Welfare in Western Society, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publisher, 2009. Print.
Noonan, T. Theresa. Document – Bases Assessment Activities for Global History Classes, UK: Waich Publishing, 1999. Print.
Porter, Dorothy. Health, Civilization, and the State: A History of Public Health from Ancient, USA: Routledge, 1999. Print.