Despite a long history of obliviousness or outright rejection of St. Paul’s contributions to Western Civilization, the positive influence of his contributions can be found in Western Civilization’s rich history and culture. The fine arts, literature, language, and individual behaviors enjoyed in Western Civilization today are influenced by St. Paul’s teachings and contributions to the early church. St Paul was an important missionary in the early church, and his books and letters, as well as his theological teachings about God’s belief, have had a huge influence over the centuries. St Paul establishes a core conviction and a leading influence on people and cultures in Western Europe through his letters and writings. He is regarded as the second founder of the Christian movement because of the crucial role he played in the development of Christianity. The paper examines extensively the impact St Paul and his teaching on Western Civilization is as far as lifestyle, social norms, technology, specific artefacts, political systems, and belief systems are concerned.
First, Western Civilization is derived from human rights assimilation, democracy, the need for equality, political thought, and favouring right to free thought. Spielvogel connotes that western culture is ubiquitous in culture and politics in that the tradition and women status is highly respected (14). Many Western culture fundamentalists advocate for change regarding women’s rights and assimilation of overall human rights into the society. A few decades ago, women were belittled and treated unequally in that men were held in high stature and seen as superior beings than women. However, women inequality has been fought progressively and the goal obtained through hard struggle. Women freedom of expression and equality has been achieved in Western Civilization. St Paul’s teachings had a great impact in the struggle for freedom of women and equality. Paul’s teachings about women were revolutionary and forward-thinking for his time. Paul applauds Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2 “…our sister, who is a minister of the church at Cenchrae…” The fact that St Paul gave Phoebe a letter exhibits the trust Saint Paul had in women as an apostle. He demonstrated an uncommon trait in that era by giving a woman the document to carry meaning she could even read it. St Paul in his action exhibits respect for women and that they are equal with their male counterparts. He also mentions Prisca and Junia (Romans 16:3-7) in high regard. St. Paul showed he respected women and the roles they played in the development of the church. St Paul delegated duties and allowed women to take part in the activities of the church. The same has been replicated in Western Civilization as women are not only allowed to serve in churches as reverends, prophetesses, and choir mistresses among others, but also in political positions like members of the Congress, Secretary of States, ministers, Prime Ministers, and Presidents.
Notably, historical records of Western Civilization in Europe begin with Ancient Rome and Ancient Greek. With Christianization during the Middle Ages, Western Civilization continued to develop, as globalization, as well as modernization and reform triggered by the Renaissance took course and spread European ways of life (Rosenwein 37). St Paul’s impact began soon in the Roman Empire as his teachings and letters challenged almost everything for which the Roman Empire stood for. Prior to Christianity’s influence, life was expendable as abortion was rampant in those days. In addition, brutal gladiatorial contests were promoted by the Roman where condemned criminals, thousands of slaves, and prisoners of war mauled and slaughtered each other in front of the cheering audience. As Christianity spread in the region, St Paul’s teachings had profound impact on lifestyle and social interaction of the Romans. Psalm 127:3-5 records that “…children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him…” The Bible acknowledges for the protection of life since it is God-given. “…he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave…” (Jeremiah 20:17) the words from the book of Jeremiah affirm that taking life of an unborn child is clearly murder and God loathes those who shed innocent blood. St. Paul was a powerful prosecutor and killed those who believed in Jesus Christ as their saviour. He later changed and was chosen by God to know His will and hear His voice. His courage, strength of faith, and honesty could have influenced the gladiators, those who killed unborn babies, and the entire Roman community to realize life is precious and that they too can be transformed and live to respect the lives of others.
Thirdly, St. Paul brings point of unity within the people in Western Civilization. Many of St. Paul’s letters address elements through which people can live peacefully. What St Paul insists upon is for believers to act as one body with many parts. St Paul in Ephesians 4:1-6, Corinthians 12:12-31, and Romans 12:3-21 beseechs Christians to live together as one. More specifically, Romans 12:5 reads “…one body in Christ and independently parts of one another…” The verse points out that people should treat each other with love and respect as same members of the same family. Many groups and individuals dominant in Western Civilization identified themselves with environmental destruction, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, slavery, racism, and equally other repulsive traits (Runes 121). However, St. Paul’s teaching on love has a great impact in as far as ending slavery, imperialism, and racism is concerned.
In conclusion, St. Paul is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most significant figures in the history of Western Civilization. A quick look at his life’s headlines is enough to understand the impact he had on the entire Western Civilization. His books, letters, and teachings had a wide array of effect in Western culture in as far as lifestyle, social norms, technology, specific artefacts, political systems, and belief systems are concerned. Famously converted on the road to Damascus to prosecute Christians, his teachings would turn the plight of women and their role in church, equality, respect for life, and women status issues Western Civilization needed to act on promptly. Therefore, his impact on Western Civilization affected the way women were treated, their participation in church, and how life was precious and needed to be respected.
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Rosenwein, Barbara H. A short history of the Middle Ages. Vol. 1. University of Toronto Press, 2014.
Runes, Dagobert D. The Hebrew impact on Western civilization. Open Road Media, 2015.
Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western civilization. Cengage Learning, 2014.