Famed Muslim-turned-atheist scholar Ayaan Hirsi Ali declared she is “now a Christian.”
The best-selling author known for her outspoken views against Islam and in favor of women’s rights explained why in an op-ed published on UnHerd: “Why I am now a Christian.”
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The “Infidel” author talked about how the Muslim Brotherhood successfully indoctrinated her and her peers when she was a teen in Nairobi, Kenya.
“We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not be loyal to Allah and Muhammad while also maintaining friendships and loyalty towards the unbelievers,” Hirsi Ali wrote. “If they explicitly rejected our summons to Islam, we were to hate and curse them…a special hatred was reserved for one subset of unbeliever: the Jew.”
After radical Islam, she notes, “atheism seemed so appealing.”
She quickly became friends with famous atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, but was left with one simple, unanswered question: “what is the meaning and purpose of life?”
For Hirsi Ali, life as atheist had become “unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive.”
So, what changed? Why do I call myself a Christian now?
Part of the answer is global. Western civilisation is under threat from three different but related forces: the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.
We endeavour to fend off these threats with modern, secular tools: military, economic, diplomatic and technological efforts to defeat, bribe, persuade, appease or surveil. And yet, with every round of conflict, we find ourselves losing ground. We are either running out of money, with our national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars, or we are losing our lead in the technological race with China.
But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
The answers to saving civilization don’t lie in new things. “Christianity has it all,” Hirsi Ali said.
“That is why I no longer consider myself a Muslim apostate, but a lapsed atheist,” she concluded. “Of course, I still have a great deal to learn about Christianity. I discover a little more at church each Sunday. But I have recognised, in my own long journey through a wilderness of fear and self-doubt, that there is a better way to manage the challenges of existence than either Islam or unbelief had to offer.”