Civilizations Die from Suicide

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Historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee died OCTOBER 2, 1975.

Providing foreign intelligence for the British during World Wars I and II, Toynbee was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conferences.

Educated at Oxford “almost entirely in the Greek and Latin Classics,” Toynbee taught at King’s College of London, the London School of Economics, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

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Toynbee authored, Greek Policy Since 1882 (1914), and The Murderous Tyranny Of The Turks (1917). He was a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).

His 12-volume Study Of History (1934-1961), described the rise, flowering, and decline of 26 cultures from Egypt, Greece and Rome to Polynesia and Peru.

After World War II, Toynbee wrote Historians Approach To Religion (1956), and Change And Habit: The Challenge Of Our Time (1966), in which he predicted that China would become the major global power if the United States and the Soviet Union could not maintain world order.

“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder,” argued Toynbee, who saw religion as a prime motivation in history.

“When I started, religion was not a prominent feature…In writing my study, I have been constantly surprised to find religion coming back to fill an even greater place.”

Toynbee continued:

“So what does the universe look like?..It looks as if everything were on the move either toward its Creator or away from Him.”

Arnold Toynbee wrote:

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“The course of human history consists of a series of encounters… in which each man or woman or child…is challenged by God to make the free choice between doing God’s will and refusing to do it.

“When Man refuses, he is free to make his refusal and to take the consequences.”


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William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousands on the internet.
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