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Crosswalk Headlinesposted a blog, Sat, 11 May, 2024

Former New Atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali Finds Redemption in Christianity: It’s ‘a Message of Love’

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A former member of the New Atheist movement who now considers herself a Christian said Saturday she regrets her role in that community and now believes the love and redemption found in Jesus is the true source of purpose. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a research fellow for the Stanford University Hoover Institution, made the comments as she debated atheist Richard Dawkins as part of the Dissident Dialogues conference in New York. Hirsi Ali was previously considered a member of the New Atheist movement alongside authors such as Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens before she announced in a column last year she now considers herself a Christian.  

On Saturday, she said she regrets conflating Christianity with Islam. Unherd covered the conference.    

“I do regret doing that,” she said. “I’m guilty of having said all faiths, all perceptions of God are the same and are equally damaging, so … I have come to regret the damage that I’ve done.”  

Christianity, she said, is an essential element of society.  

“What you value in Christianity is something that really is absolutely necessary to pass on to the next generation,” she told Dawkins, according to Unherd. “And we have failed the next generation by taking away from them that moral framework and telling them it’s nonsense and false. We have also not protected them from the external forces that come for their hearts, minds and souls.”  

Hirsi Ali also discussed her personal relationship with God, telling Dawkins she considers him a mentor but that they now diverge, significantly, on faith.  

Christianity “no longer sounds nonsensical,” she said.  

“It makes a great deal of sense. And not only does it make a great deal of sense, it's also led with the wisdom of millennia,” she said. “... It doesn't seem nonsensical to me. I don't mock it. 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.”  

Christianity, she said affirmatively, is “obsessed with love.”  

“I'm a brand new Christian,” she said. “But what I'm finding about it, which is the opposite of growing up as a Muslim, the message of Islam -- but the message of Christianity I get is that it's a message of love. It's a message of redemption. It's a story of renewal and rebirth. And so, Jesus dying and rising again for me symbolizes that story. And in a small way, I felt like I have died and I was reborn. And that story of redemption and rebirth, I think makes Christianity actually a very, very powerful story for the human condition and human existence.”

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