The religious beliefs of leaders influence their identity and decision-making process. Steven Mansfield’s work detailed the Methodist values of President George W. Bush (Mansfield, 2004) and the agnostic and Christian roots of Barack Hussein Obama (Mansfield, 2011). Iran’s supreme leader Khomeini and former President Ahmadinejad are Shi’ia Muslims of the Twelver Tradition (Ahmadinejad, 2010). President Vladimir Putin, having an Orthodox family, abandoned his faith for a communist-atheism, and is widely known in interviews and publications in Russia and the West.
Eschatology is the religious study of the end times. Abrahamic faiths, such as Christians, await the second coming of Jesus Christ and Muslims await the arrival of the Mahdi and the second coming of his prophet Jesus. Many religions deal with issues of eternal life, resurrection, triumph of good over evil, and ideas of heaven and hell in the eschatological aspects of their faiths.
These tenets influence human social psychology to include end of life spending decisions (“Religion, race could influence end-of-life spending, study shows,” 2011), the way a person votes (Raymond, 2011), or even health care spending (Mukherjee, 2013). A family’s faith defines how people are introduced to religious ritual through rites such as: baptism, brit milah (infant Jewish male circumcision), marriage, tahur or tahura (female circumcision) in Arabic speaking countries, and funeral rites. The individual’s embrace of these beliefs influences many aspects of how behavior is socially expected both in embracing these rites or rejecting them.
A comparative eschatological perspective of Islam and Christianity provides a religious framework for these various perspectives and an opportunity for understanding through a narrow focused set of expositions of cultural and religious traditions. This understanding does not require a personal agreement, given the self dedicating social psychological nature of the eschatological perspectives and interpretations, but with tolerance it provides an opportunity for interfaith dialogue. In intelligence and international security circles, it provides an understanding of the potential for deeply rooted cultural and religious traditions from leaders, tribal elders, colleagues, presidents, and prime ministers (“Benefits of CQ,” 2011). A demonstration of these ideals across a framework can positively demonstrate commonalities to improve interpersonal cultural relations and an interfaith dialogue (Erasmus, 2014). The divided world may build a bridge between Islamic, Jewish, and Christian thought, Eastern and Western philosophical views, and Arab and Persian division (“Examples of Interfaith Dialogue that Contribute Toward the Understanding of Global Religious Traditions,” 2013).
Howard L. Salter lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi with his wife and four children. He enjoys recording music and writing and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Information Technology Management, a Mast of Arts in Intelligence Studies with a Focus on Antiterrorism and is working towards a PhD in Health Care Administration with a focus on economics and regulatory compliance.