Dawkins can't believe his atheist ally has become a Christian. Ayaan Hirsi Ali explains the error of his doubt.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali was once a central figure among the so-called "New Atheists." She revealed in a Nov. 11, 2023, op-ed that she had converted to Christianity, both for the meaning it provides as well as for its unifying doctrine, which she wrote can "fortify us against our menacing foes."

Militant atheist Richard Dawkins, her longtime friend and "mentor," penned an open letter to Ali three days later, suggesting the Dutch-American human rights activist, mother, and staunch critic of Islam was insincere about her newfound faith.

"You are no more a Christian than I am," wrote Dawkins. "No, Ayaan, you are not a Christian, you are just a decent human being who mistakenly thinks you need a religion in order to remain so."

It appears Ali's sincerity is just one more thing Dawkins has managed to get wrong.

Ali appeared on stage Saturday with Dawkins for the inaugural Dissident Dialogues conference in New York City, where she identified a number of her past intellectual missteps — apparent missteps Dawkins is alternatively committed to keep making — and made abundantly clear both to the audience and Dawkins that she does, in fact, believe in God, pray, and follow Christ.

The former atheist's profession of faith and admission of past errors electrified the audience, which appeared altogether keen to celebrate both Dawkins' loss of a fellow traveler and Christians' gain of a sister.

Background

Blaze News previously reported that Ali, who lives under a fatwa, was raised Muslim in Somalia. Under what she came to regard as a "nihilistic cult of death," Ali suffered genital mutilation, was denied her artistic loves, and was married off to a distant cousin.

While already chased down the road to apostasy by brutal oppression, the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks on the U.S. helped accelerate Ali's rejection of Islam. Ali's antipathy toward Islam apparently prompted her not only to reject the Muslim faith but "to adopt an attitude of scepticism towards religious doctrine, discard my faith in God and declare that no such entity existed."

Decades later, she recognized that atheism is a "weak and divisive doctrine."

Ali explained last year in an article for UnHerd that she became a Christian in part because the faith equips believers to internally and externally fight the evils of the day — battles atheism is at best useless in but more often than not on the wrong side of.

Quoting the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, Ali stressed that "when men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything."

"We can't withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can't explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can't fight woke ideology if we can't defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can't counter Islamism with purely secular tools," wrote Ali. "Unless we offer something as meaningful, I fear the erosion of our civilisation will continue. And fortunately, there is no need to look for some new-age concoction of medication and mindfulness. Christianity has it all."

Ali indicated, however, that Christianity was not simply a sword and a shield for the wars of the age but also a source of ultimate meaning.

"I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive," wrote Ali. "Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?"

Dawkins loses an ally

Dawkins, now a self-described "Cultural Christian," responded to Ali's profession of faith on Substack with his characteristic disbelief, writing, "Christianity makes factual claims, truth claims that Christians believe, truth claims that define them as Christian. Christians are theists. They believe in a divine father figure who designed the universe, listens to our prayers, is privy to our every thought. You surely don't believe that."

"Do you believe Jesus rose from the grave three days after being placed there? Of course you don’t. Do you believe Jesus was born to a virgin? Certainly not," wrote Dawkins. "Someone of your intelligence does not believe you have an immortal soul, which will survive the decay of your brain. Christians believe in a frightful place called Hell, where the souls of the wicked go after they are dead. Do you believe that? Hell no!"

In his response, the atheist conceded Ali's points that Christianity might have "been the inspiration for some of the greatest art, architecture and music the world has ever known," "is morally superior to Islam," and might be "a powerful weapon" against "Putinism, Islamism, and postmodernish wokery pokery" but suggested that such an understanding does not make one a Christian.

Dawkins further suggested that by embracing Christianity, she had succumbed to "weakness."

In March, Dawkins doubled-down, accusing Ali of being a "Political Christian" and noting, "Let's not agree to differ. Let's agree that we don't really differ."

Soulful showdown

Ali addressed Dawkins' doubts about her faith Saturday, indicated she is far more than just a "Political Christian," and expressed regret for having previously aided militant atheists in their attack on religion, reported UnHerd.

With regards to the sincerity of her belief, Ali made clear that while she regards Christianity as critically important from a secular and political viewpoint, she has connected with the faith on a spiritual level and believes in its supernatural propositions.

"On the personal level, yes, I choose to believe in God. And I think that there, we might say, let's agree to disagree," she said. "I think it's something subjective, and it's a choice and there are things that you see and perceive that a different person cannot perceive."

"I'd say you're coming at this from a place of 'there is nothing,' and what has happened to me is that, I think, I have accepted that there is something," said Ali. "When you accept that there is something, there is a powerful entity, for me, the God that turned me around, I think what the vicar is saying no longer sounds nonsensical."

"It makes a great deal of sense, and not only does it make a great deal of sense, it's also layered with the wisdom of millennia," said the former atheist. "And so, like you, I did mock faith in general, Christianity in particular, but I don't do that anymore, and again, I think that's where humility comes into it."

The former atheist's journey to Christ appears to have not only required great humility but some helpful advice.

"I've come down to my knees to say perhaps those people who have always had faith have something that we who lost faith don't have, and people who have faith also, like the woman who told me, 'You ... fight everything and you've lost hope, you've lost faith. Try it. Pray.' I think just in that one word there is so much wisdom," added Ali.

When Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote that she had become Christian, it sounded political.\n\nBut last night she revealed what happened: a spiritual awakening after suicidal depression. Dawkins probed, highlighting \u201cnonsense the vicar says\u201d and Christianity being \u201cobsessed with sin.\u201d Then:
— (@)

Dawkins recycled one of his go-to smears, suggesting Christianity is obsessed with sin. Ali didn't buy the atheist's premise.

"I find that Christianity is actually obsessed with love," Ali said, eliciting applause from the audience. "The teaching of Christ as I see it — and again, I'm a brand new Christian — but what I'm finding out, which is the opposite of growing up as a Muslim and the message of Islam, but the message of Christianity of love. It's a message of redemption."

"It's a story of renewal and birth," continued Ali. "And so, Jesus dying and rising again for me symbolizes that story, and in a small way, I felt I had died and was reborn. And that story of redemption and birth, I think makes Christianity actually a very, very powerful story for the human condition, of human existence."

When Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote that she had become Christian, it sounded political.\n\nBut last night she revealed what happened: a spiritual awakening after suicidal depression. Dawkins probed, highlighting \u201cnonsense the vicar says\u201d and Christianity being \u201cobsessed with sin.\u201d Then:
— (@)

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The Conversion Of Ayaan Hirsi Ali To Christianity Is A Dire Warning To The West

Ali has come to the realization there can be no liberalism apart from the Christian faith from which it emerged. She's right.

Prominent atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali publicly professes her newfound faith: 'Christianity has it all'

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A central figure among the so-called "New Atheists" revealed in an essay Monday that she has turned to Christianity, not only for the meaning and solace it provides but for its strong and unifying doctrine, which she reckons can "fortify us against our menacing foes."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-American women's rights activist, mother, and former politician who ruffled feathers by calling Islam a "nihilistic cult of death" beyond reforming, noted in UnHerd that atheism is a "weak and divisive doctrine" that offers no hope, no anchorage, and no defense against destructive forces at home and abroad.

Ali, who still lives under a fatwa, was raised Muslim in Somalia. In addition to suffering genital mutilation and getting married off to a distant cousin, she was told that many of the things she loved, including music, dancing, and movies, were accursed worldly pleasures and instruments of damnation. Her encounters with the Muslim Brotherhood in Kenya helped cement her antipathy for Islam.

Although no longer a practicing Muslim at the time, Ali noted that the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamist attacks on the United States expedited her rejection of religion. The next year, she read British mathematician Bertrand Russell's 1927 lecture "Why I Am Not a Christian" and "found [her] cognitive dissonance easing."

"It was a relief to adopt an attitude of scepticism towards religious doctrine, discard my faith in God and declare that no such entity existed," wrote Ali. "Best of all, I could reject the existence of hell and the danger of everlasting punishment."

Apparently satisfied with the prospect of rotting in the ground, as Russell posited, rather than in some infernal destination, Ali went on to become a prominent atheist, speaking at various conventions and winning the adulation of various secularists.

David Silverman, the former president of the anti-religion organization American Atheists, touted Ali as a "champion of atheist thought" and "atheism activism" ahead of her 2015 keynote speech at the American Atheists National Convention.

Ali suggested that while the fear she had been convinced was a feature of religion had not gone away with her embrace of atheism, she was nevertheless confident that she had made the right choice. After all, "the atheists were clever" and a "great deal of fun," particularly the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.

However, good wit and good times were not enough to slake Ali's thirst for meaning.

Ali indicated that her conversion to Christianity — which she previously wished for Muslims across the world — is the result of multiple factors.

"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 Community 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," wrote Ali.

According to Ali, secular tools have proven wholly ineffective against these dark forces.

"We can't fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites? The response that 'God is dead!' seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in 'the rules-based liberal international order,'" she continued. "The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition."

Noting that the cultural, legal, and social inheritance secularists most prize is rooted in Christianity, Ali said, "I have come to realise that Russell and my atheist friends failed to see the wood for the trees. The wood is the civilisation built on the Judeo-Christian tradition; it is the story of the West, warts and all."

Trouncing the West's internal and external foes is not Ali's only reason for embracing the faith.

"I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive," wrote Ali. "Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?"

Ali noted that Russell's presumption that "reason and intelligent humanism" come after the fall of religion was wrong. The "God hole" left in the human heart has not gone away but rather has been "filled by a jumble of irrational quasi-religious dogma. The result is a world where modern cults prey on the dislocated masses, offering them spurious reasons for being and action — mostly by engaging in virtue-signalling theatre on behalf of a victimised minority or our supposedly doomed planet."

Quoting the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who penned an essay defending his religiosity a year before Russell's lecture, Ali underscored that "when men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything."

"We can't withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can't explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can't fight woke ideology if we can't defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can't counter Islamism with purely secular tools," wrote Ali. "Unless we offer something as meaningful, I fear the erosion of our civilisation will continue. And fortunately, there is no need to look for some new-age concoction of medication and mindfulness. Christianity has it all."

While admitting she has "a great deal to learn about Christianity," Ali indicated she understands that it is "a better way to manage the challenges of existence than either Islam or unbelief had to offer."

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Former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali: 'Wokeism' has far more in common with radical Islam than you'd think



On "The Rubin Report" this week, BlazeTV host Dave Rubin spoke with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of "Prey" and host of the "Ayaan Hirsi Ali Podcast," about how woke culture is destroying classical liberalism, how elites are finally acknowledging that immigration in Europe is backfiring, and how immigration policies in Europe have negatively impacted women's rights and made Europe less safe for women.

In this clip, Ayaan and Dave discussed how liberalism is being weakened by the identity politics of the woke left. Ayaan explained how "wokeism" has far more in common with radical Islam than many would think. Both seek to shut down free speech, to censor and destroy those who disagree, to divide societies into subsets, and to deny objective truth.

The only way to defend liberalism is to build alliances with centrist and moderate political opponents and create a "new centrism," Ayaan suggested. She emphasized that young people should not seek out safe spaces at university, but should actually want to be triggered.

Watch the video clip below for more details, or find the full episode with Ayaan Hirsi Ali here.


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