Broadly put, Western civilization is the set of historical, intellectual, religious and cultural achievements of European and European-descended societies spanning from ancient Greek times to the present. Western civilization is lauded for its achievements and contributions to humanity in fields such as the arts, law, invention, science, religion, democracy, commerce, and philosophy and has developed a freedom of religion and thought that is lacking in many parts of the world.
Elements of Western civilization have permeated or been merged with other cultures and civilizations throughout much of the planet. The internet or United Nations, for example, are products of Western civilization.
Christianity is/has been a very significant component of Western civilization and it has had a very great effect on Western civilization. It is frequently argued that there is no Western civilization without Christianity.
Western civilization was not without its faults, such as allowing a rebirth of slavery that had largely been extinguished in that part of the world much earlier and colonization of other areas around the globe due to the superior technology that Europe had discovered and implemented. But much of the colonization brought better health and longer lifespans to impoverished people.
The Western world or the Occident, Europe (western Eurasia), as opposed to the Eastern World (the Orient), Asia (eastern Eurasia), is made up of the countries of Europe, as well as the technologically advanced countries of the Americas that have been influenced (by colonization or otherwise) tremendously by France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, the United Kingdom or other European nations.
WW1 or the Great War brought on the first decline of Western Civilization, focusing around in Europe due to the millions of young people dying during the conflict. Many of the countries that participated in imperialism and WW1 during the Glided Age were in debt economically, with Germany suffering from hyperinflation and the British Empire, once known as the largest creditor, now being the largest debtor. The Russian Empire dissolved because of the Russian Revolution in which the Communist Bolsheviks, lead by Vladimir Lenin, were victorious over their opposition. The Communist Party had taken over Russia and in 1922, became the Soviet Union, first under Lenin, then by his protegee, Joseph Stalin. Communism being practiced in a country like this, was also a sign that Western Civilization in Europe was declining.
- CHRISTIANITY AND THE WEST by by Wolfhart Pannenberg, First Things website
- There's No Western Civilization without Christianity by Daniel Lattier