Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali woman who has gained worldwide fame through her criticism of religion. She gained international attention when, as a Dutch politician, she collaborated with artist Theo van Gogh in the creation of a short film that was aimed at Muslim fundamentalism. Theo van Gogh was murdered because of that film. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has continued to criticize Islam but now lives in the United States.
In an article for the online magazine Unherd.com, she reveals that she has now left atheism and embraced Christianity. She partly justifies this decision by stating that she no longer believes atheism can withstand the forces she believes threaten Western civilization: authoritarian states such as Russia and China, Islamism, and what she calls the woke ideology.
She argues that the Judeo-Christian heritage is the foundation of Western civilization, something that critics of religion like Bertrand Russel failed to realize.
”We cannot combat these forces if we cannot answer the question: What unites us? The answer ’God is dead!’ seems insufficient. So does the attempt to find solace in the ’rules-based liberal international order’. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our effort to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”
But her conversion is not solely motivated by a desire to defend Western values. There is also a spiritual dimension. She describes how deeply she was affected by her encounter with the Muslim Brotherhood when she was young. Their teachings gave her life a deeper meaning. She closely followed Islamic laws and regulations in order to secure a place in heaven. However, this also fostered a fear of hell.
Atheism initially provided her with liberation, but she describes it as being unable to fill the emptiness in life: ”I have also turned to Christianity because I eventually found life without any spiritual solace unbearable – in fact, almost self-destructive. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?”
She believes that society must be able to provide answers to the question of why we exist. However, she is not interested in new age movements or other ideologies. She believes that Christianity has it all: ”Therefore, I no longer consider myself a lapsed Muslim but a lapsed atheist. Of course, I still have much to learn about Christianity. I discover a little more in church every Sunday. But I have realized, during my own long journey through a wilderness of fear and self-doubt, that there is a better way to confront the challenges of existence than what either Islam or atheism has offered.”
In conclusion, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, known for her criticism of religion, has now converted to Christianity. She argues that the Judeo-Christian heritage is crucial for Western civilization’s survival and that Christianity provides the spiritual solace that atheism failed to provide. She believes that society must be able to answer the fundamental question of why we exist, and she sees Christianity as offering the most compelling answer.