Recently retired Army Lt. General Michael T. Flynn has been advising Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency this year, including the now Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump. He served in the Army for 33 years, mostly as an intelligence officer. His last post was as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. It is like the CIA to the Defense Department. He was somewhat critical of the President Obama administration, such as the president’s refusal to properly identify our Islamic terrorist enemies, such as his refusal to call them Radical Islamists or the like. He was going to be fired, but retired early.
Lt. General Flynn’s new book, The Field of Fight, has just been released. In it, he says a major strategy for fighting Islamic terrorism that the U.S. is not using, and should, is to “discredit their ideology.” I wholeheartedly agree.
The Qur’an has many troubling verses that command Muslims to kill infidels and the like, and it sometimes mentions by name Christians and Jews or “people of the book,” referring to the Bible. The world should know this. Saying Islam is a peace-loving religion is a skewed assertion. Perhaps most Muslims in the world do not desire to force their religion on others and militarily establish Shariah law throughout the world. But that is exactly what radical Muslims are fighting for, and they read the Qur’an. In fact, many of them memorize it as all Muslims are exhorted to do.
Mohammed, the founder of Islam, eventually became a warrior who enforced his religious beliefs on others. But discrediting him or the Qur’an, which Muslims believe came from him, will be of no use in the West ideologically discrediting radical Islam. But one strategy that should be considered is opposing the belief of these radical Islamic terrorists that if they die for jihad they immediately go to heaven to be rewarded with many bountiful gifts.
This Muslim conviction about the faithful going to heaven immediately when they die depends on their belief that the soul is immortal. Most Jews and Christians believe in the immortality of soul as well. But it can be argued, quite persuasively I think, that Muslims, if not Mohammed himself, got this idea mostly from Jews and Christians. But this belief is not a biblical concept; rather, Diaspora Jews and post-apostolic Christians got it from Hellenism that had been influenced by Platonic Greek philosophy.The benchmark book to consult on this is Life After Death: The History of the Afterlife in Western Civilization (Doubleday, 2004, 880 pp.) that was authored by Jewish Christian New Testament scholar Alan Segal. He writes (p. 702), “The most long-lasting Greek contribution to Jewish culture was from the aristocratic, Platonist intellectual elite of Greek society that said the soul was immortal.” Segal explains, “All this was rejected by Biblical writers, . . . only God has immortality.” Indeed, the Apostle Paul writes of God the Father, “he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality” (1 Timothy 6.15-16 NRSV). Segal adds (p. 705), “Apostolic Christianity at first wanted nothing to do with immortality of the soul.” Indeed, when Christianity became a mostly Gentile religion, that is when it accepted the Greek notion of the soul’s immortality.
See some of my posts on this as follows:
1/8/2015: “Did El-Sisi Say Revise the Qur’an?”
2/21/2015: “Does President Obama Read the Qur’an?”
11/17/2015: “If ISIS Attacks the U.S., Then What?”
12/9/2015: “Are Muslims Being Radicalized with the Qur’an?”
12/17/2015: “Memorizing the Entire Qur’an”