From Islam To Atheism, Then Christianity: The Amazing Story Of Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born activist and former Muslim-turned-atheist, has revealed her conversion to Christianity, describing her journey from Islam to atheism and ultimately to Christianity.
Ali, previously a Member of the Dutch Parliament, is human rights activist and writer known for her controversial views about the compatibility of Islam and Western culture.
In an essay published Saturday on UnHerd, a British news and opinion website she contributes to as a columnist, Hirsi Ali, who is known for her bestselling books and outspoken views, says her encounter with Bertrand Russell’s 1927 lecture “Why I am Not a Christian” led her to atheism, offering solace and escape from the fear instilled by religious doctrine. She found Russell’s views on religion, rooted in fear, resonant with her own experiences.
“It did not cross my mind, as I read it, that one day, nearly a century after he delivered it to the South London branch of the National Secular Society, I would be compelled to write an essay with precisely the opposite title,” adds Hirsi Ali, who is originally from Somalia and is a survivor of genital mutilation, according to The Christian Post.
Hirsi Ali traces her initial disillusionment with Islam following the 9/11 terrorist attacks when she questioned the justifications for the attacks in the name of Islam.
Ali attributes her conversion to Christianity to a broader concern for the challenges facing Western civilization. She cites threats from authoritarian regimes, global Islamism, and “woke” ideology as catalysts for seeking a unifying force. Christianity, in her view, offers a foundation of values and traditions that uphold human life, freedom, and dignity, and counters the divisiveness she associates with atheism.
Responding to her embrace of the Christian faith, conservative Christian philosopher Dr. Robert George wrote on Facebook: “Two decades ago, under the influence of the writings of Bertrand Russell, she became an atheist. Her thought was that atheism was smart and sophisticated — it was allegedly what really intelligent people believed (the ‘brights,’ as Daniel Dennett embarrassingly labeled himself and his fellow unbelievers). It was the way to a world of rationality and civil liberty. Hirsi Ali is not the first to have gone down that misguided path. She now sees that it is indeed misguided and that there is, if I may quote scripture, ‘a more excellent way.’”
Hirsi Ali’s embrace of Christianity also stems from a personal quest for spiritual solace and meaning in life.