What contributions has Christianity made to western civilization and thought?
There are several:
1. Primary to all contributions Christianity has made to Western civilization is education. Formal education began in the abbeys and convents of Europe and continued as the New World expanded.
2. Record keeping – the Church is the oldest record keeper on the planet. All of records for the births, deaths and marriages were maintained by the Church, especially since the Church and the governments were the same entity, at one time, that was the basis for taxation.
3. Choral music – was formalized and written down in abbeys and convents for the sake of teaching music and passing the traditions on.
4. The Roman calendar was created by one of the early Popes – Pope Julian who created the Julian calendar which has been passed down ever since.
5. Along with record keeping, history was also recorded by the local abbeys and convents, since there was no one else to perform this function in the locales where life occurred.
6. The largest organization and the most studied in the world – the Roman Catholic Church. It is by far, one of the richest and the most historically based organizations that goes all the way back to Jesus. It has documents that are one of a kind and have not been seen by humans for centuries!
7. Genetics was the result of studies undertaken in German abbeys where the initial studies were done by Fr. Gregoire Mendel. Studies were originally done with plants and then expanded from there!
8. Holidays – initially the holiday celebrations were founded in the Christian experience so that Christmas and Easter were celebrated as a part of calendar year. Other holidays were also celebrated but are no longer generally celebrated in the secular calendar.
9. Inductive and Deductive thinking – given to us by St. Thomas Aquinas who was one of the greatest minds in the Middle Ages church. Created many ideas that are still held today and increased the awareness of philosophy plays in the minds and hearts of humans.
10. Jesus in the Gospels, illustrated that dignity and respect was intended for all people, especially women. This was the first documented indication which humans saw a respect for the gender, and for all people who were sinners, sick, crippled and lame.
11. Art was created in a large measure to illustrate the life of Jesus and his disciples. This was a major contribution of the Middle Ages to our civilization, which is the only means we have today of some of the visual thoughts about Christianity.
12. Charitable giving and hospitals are the work of the early Church where those who had were asked to give to assist those who had not. These are a part of the moral fabric of western thought as we know it today!
Reference: Wiki Answers