Dr. Richard T. Hise, Professor Emeritus of marketing at Texas A&M University and a former Shippensburg University professor, recently wrote a book titled, “A Christian View of the War Against Islam.”
In the book, Hise uses the Bible in an attempt to explain the current conflict in the Middle East and argues that God will eventually resolve the threat of radical Islam.
Unfortunately, Hise trivializes the conflict by condensing a complicated issue with superficial arguments.
Due to limited space I can and will focus solely on one particularly bold assertion that stood out to me in the first chapter: Satan’s control over Islam.
Hise not only argues that Satan exists, and that he has played an active role throughout history — having controlled Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong and currently possessing the minds of some non-Christian and non-Jewish leaders -— but that he is, in fact, the true enemy behind the aptly named Islamic war against the West.
The question we should all immediately ask ourselves is this: Do we have any good reason for believing any of this to be true?
The answer is simple.
Satan’s existence has never been proven.
Saying Satan exists simply because the Bible says so presupposes that everything the Bible says is correct, which we know is not the case.
Biblical scholars know from ancient manuscripts that the texts used to compose the Bible were riddled with hundreds of thousands of errors, ranging from small grammatical mistakes to falsified stories.
This fact alone does not negate the Bible as a historical source, but it immediately makes Hise’s primary source suspect.
Moreover, the fact that Hise is using the Bible itself to confirm biblical claims is a textbook example of circular reasoning — a logical fallacy in which the subject used to validate the conclusion of the argument is the same used to start the argument.
Growing up I understood this as the “because the Bible says so” argument.
Imagine if a scholar went on air and argued that the spirit of Typhon, the sworn enemy of Zeus, was secretly waging a war against the Western culture to which you belong.
To defend his case, he simply referred to the inerrant scriptures of Greek literature.
I imagine the scholar would be laughed at, discredited, and berated by the 24-hour news cycle.
I see no difference with Hise’s use of Satan; the argument is empirically false.
It does not take much scrutiny to see that this book is a tacit appeal to right-wing Christians.
In that respect, the book does an adequate job in providing insight into how some Christians invariably view the current state of affairs in the Middle East.
However, sadly for the reader, that view is skewed with historical beliefs no one should take seriously.