Former atheist finds “true meaning”

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A Muslim who became an atheist has now explained why Christianity is the only way to find meaning and bring purpose to life.

In a personal reflection of her discovery, Ayaan Hirsi Ali (pictured above) recalls how, in 2002, she came across a 1927 lecture by Bertrand Russell entitled ‘Why I am not a Christian’.

She had no idea that one day she would be compelled to write an essay with precisely the opposite title.

The harsh strictures of her upbringing in Kenya under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with the 2001 attacks on New York’s twin towers in the name of her religion, led her to embrace Russell’s offer of “a simple, zero-cost escape from an unbearable life of self-denial and harassment of other people”.

The 54-year-old Somali-born Dutch-American is a research fellow at Stanford University.

Part of the reason she now calls herself a Christian is global. The only credible answer to the formidable forces ranged against us today – from the resurgence of authoritarian regimes along with the rise of Islam – lies in the Judeo-Christian tradition, she writes.

Her atheist friends had failed to see the wood for the trees. For all kinds of apparently secular freedoms – of the market, of conscience and of the press – find their roots in Christianity.

Debates nurtured in such an atmosphere “advanced science and reason, diminished cruelty, suppressed superstition, and built institutions to order and protect life, while guaranteeing freedom to as many people as possible”.

She adds: “I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?”

The void left by the church’s retreat has been filled by modern cults preying on the dislocated masses with “virtue-signalling theatre on behalf of a victimised minority or our supposedly doomed planet”.

She quotes G K Chesterton’s point that “when men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing; they then become capable of believing in anything”.

Ayaan said we are engaged in a ‘civilisational war’ for which atheism can’t equip us. For example, we can’t withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can’t explain to our populations why it matters that we do. There is no need to seek answers in some new-age concoction, she adds, as “Christianity has it all”.

From New Life Newspaper issue 351

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