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Former prominent atheist shares journey to Christian faith

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former atheist and leader in the New Atheism movement, has retracted her past assertions that all religions, including Christianity, were equally damaging.

“I do regret doing that,” she said in a discussion with evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins at an event last weekend. Bottom of Form“What you value in Christianity is something that really is absolutely necessary to pass on to the next generation. 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.”

Ali shared with Dawkins her journey to a belief in God.

“You’re coming from a place of ‘there’s nothing,’” she said. “And what has happened to me is, I think I have accepted that there is something. And when you accept that there is something, there’s a powerful entity — for me, that’s the God that turned me around.

“Like you, I did mock faith, in general, and probably Christianity in particular, but I don’t do that anymore. I have come down to my knees to say that the people who always had faith have something that we who lost faith don’t have.”

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The dialogue also revealed a softening of Dawkins’ stance. Confronted with Ali’s personal testament to her faith, Dawkins said, “I came here prepared to persuade you, Ayaan, that you’re not a Christian,” he said. “I think you are a Christian, and I think Christianity is nonsense.”

The conversation also tackled the broader implications of religious belief on society. Both Ali and Dawkins agreed on the problematic aspects of Islam, which Dawkins described as a “nasty religion.” Dawkins, who recently said he identifies as a cultural Christian despite his criticisms of Christianity, discussed the potential of using Christian beliefs as a “milder virus” to counteract the more harmful ideologies present in other religious movements.

–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice

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