Western religions

The Western religions are the religions that originated within Western culture, which are thus historically, culturally, and theologically distinct from Eastern, African and Iranian religions. The term Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) is often used instead of using the East and West terminology, as these originated in the Middle East.

Western culture itself was significantly influenced by the emergence of Christianity and its adoption as the state church of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century and the term "Christendom" largely indicates this intertwined history. Western Christianity was significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion (notably Platonism) as well as the Roman imperial cult. Western Christianity is based on Roman Catholicism (Latin Rite), as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy, from which it was divided by the Great Schism of the 11th century, and further includes all Protestant traditions splitting off Roman Catholicism from the 16th century.

Since the 19th century, Western religion has diversified into numerous new religious movements, including Occultism, Spiritism and diverse forms of Neopaganism.


  • The religious thinking of Europe is accustomed to rigid impoverishing definitions, to strict exclusions, to a constant preoccupation with the outward idea, the Organization, the form. A precise creed framed by the logical or theological intellect, a strict and definite moral code to fix the conduct, a bundle of observances and ceremonies, a firm ecclesiastical or congregational Organization, that is Western religion. Once the spirit is safely imprisoned and chained up in these things, some emotional fervor and even a certain amount of mystic seeking can be tolerated – within rational limits; but, after all, it is perhaps safest to do without these dangerous spices.
    • (Aurobindo, Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo: The Renaissance in India ,1997:191). quoted from Malhotra, R., & Infinity Foundation (Princeton, N.J.). (2018). Being different: An Indian challenge to western universalism.

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