Dear Ayaan As you know, you are one of my absolutely favourite people but . . . seriously, Ayaan? You, a Christian? You are no more a Christian than I am. I might agree with you (I actually do) that Putinism, Islamism, and postmodernish wokery pokery are three great enemies of decent civilisation. I might agree with you that Christianity, if only as a lesser of evils, is a powerful weapon against them. I might add that Christianity has been the inspiration for some of the greatest art, architecture and music the world has ever known. But so what? I once got into trouble for extolling the beauty of Winchester Cathedral bells by comparison with the “aggressive-sounding” yell of “Allahu Akhbar” (the last thing you hear before the bomb goes off, or before your head rolls away from your body). I might agree (I think I do, although certainly not in its earlier history) that Christianity is morally superior to Islam. I might even agree that Christianity is the bedrock of our civilisation (actually I don’t, but even if I did . . .) None of that comes remotely even close to making me – or you – a Christian.
A kind and realistic perspective on the situation. I also don't believe someone as intelligent as Ayaan could really delude herself into such nonsense. I think the desperation arising from the threat of Islamism has led her down this path which she will not be able to honestly keep up.
As always; spot on Richard. Spot on.
Strange, off-putting letter. Why discourage anyone from exploring their beliefs? And why speak for someone else about such personal matters?
Correct. Ayaan will not be accepted by Christians if she doesn’t actually come to believe. But worse than this, her idea that Christian dominance is needed to win the “civilizational war” is backwards. In fact, it’s the very thing that could cause us to lose it. I have an essay today in Reality’s Last Stand speaking to this point: https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/c6250196-a8c1-43aa-81e4-d4552eb680c5
An excerpt: “While far-leftism may be a disproportionately atheistic movement, if Christianity is supposed to be a bulwark against it, it’s historically done a terrible job. The last census conducted in the Russian Empire before the Russian Revolution showed 82.3 percent identifying as various types of Christian (with almost all of the remaining being Russia’s Muslim and Jewish minorities), far higher than the 63 percent in the United States today. ... The allegation that far-leftism arises in secular nations because people need to find something to fill the god-hole simply isn’t true. On the contrary, far-leftism predominantly arises in Christian nations.”
So true Ayaan! You dont need any religion to feel fulfilled. All you need to see and ask yourself, what has Christianity done in the past, and what is it doing today? In my country Macedonia, people are predominantly Christians and they would rather spend making their churches extravagant, while the hospitals are run down. As a nurse im absolutely dumbfounded, Most are poor, so what religion does is give them a sense of false hope. Its the hospitals, nurses and Drs that will try and heal them, not an imaginary’God’. Im making the most of my life, because this is it. So im enjoying it to the fullest. Studying Biology and also Im thinking of writing a book. Enjoy your life, no one needs religion, theres 4000 different ones today! How do you know you’ve chosen the right one? Its all man-made, and i want to live my life knowing the truth. Dont you? The truth is backed by evidence, and there is NO evidence of an Intelligent Creator. Take the time and enjoy the things you like to do. Good luck Eve Niceski
I'm not a Christian, but Ayaan has more courage in her little finger than you and most of your readers have in their entire bodies. If she's decided on Christianity, good for her.
What can be more patronizing than someone telling/explaining to you what you REALLY believe...?
The problem with dogmatic belief systems is they are subject to the interpretive whims of the believers. Untethered to any objective truth that is a pendulum that swings erratically. Right now Christianity clearly seems to be a more benign force than Islamism. But that could easily change. There are Christians right now that believe that gays deserve to die. Some believe the same of Jews. There are white Christians that believe black people are evil. Some, all of this and more. They may be in the minority now but there is nothing in the dogma that ensures it will stay that way. The Christian Bible is a Rorschach mess of hearsay that gives no more guidance than what the believer inserts into it. The only possible way to unite humanity is a true understanding of our nature and that of the world within which we live. No dogmatic belief system can provide that.
The problem, Richard, is that your secular humanism only tends to last for a generation or two before it inevitably degenerates into nihilism or some malign replacement for the hole that was formerly filled by religion -- Marxism, Salifyyah, Nazism, etc.
Better to fill that hole with beliefs, however implausible, that persuade people to be nice to each other.
Thank you, Richard Dawkins, for speaking truth to friends
Ayaan was one of those who helped me wake up to the reality of religions. To see her defend one, even if for a pragmatic goal of fighting the worse ideologies threatening civilization, is a big disappointment.
You obviously never had a “Christian” experience. Who placed morality within you if you do claim a moral ethic? Has morality undergone “evolution?” Divine law has existed eternally without change just as natural law has existed since the creation of our universe. We seek answers to natural law questions through the sciences. Divine law is placed within you at conception and Christianity helps you discover it
Well said, Richard Dawkins
Not at all condescending to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali what she believes! What I understand her to be saying is that she embraces the Judeo-Christian narrative as the basis for the best individual life and the best civilization, compared to all other narratives. I take her to be promoting a secular Christianity, akin to secular Judaism, which celebrates the truths of the faith and being part of the faith community, and does not read the scriptures literally. My understanding may be wrong. If I were privileged to be Ayaan’s friend, as Dawkins is, I would ask her for clarification. Perhaps Dawkins will do so at some point, and print a correction to this hit piece.
Could someone who says "you are a Christian" mean that in your behavior you embody the teachings of Jesus rather than that you believe what Christians believe as stated in the Nicene creed? It's an important distinction, I think.
My heart goes out to Ayaan. If anyone deserves to find solace it's her.