Former Atheist, Now-Christian Says Atheism Failed to Answer a Simple Question
It wouldn’t take anyone very long to look around the world at this point in time and begin to lose hope. And for one former atheist turned Christian, that’s precisely why Christianity is needed.
Introducing Ayann Hirsi Ali, a columnist for UnHerd, a British news site, as well as an author, podcaster, and research fellow at Standford University’s Hoover Institute.
In an essay for UnHerd, Ali describes herself as a former atheist, someone who refused to believe in God, the purpose of religion, or the hope of an afterlife. According to her, atheists rely on a “jumble of irrational quasi-religious dogma” instead of faith. Basically, they seek to fill the void of religion with intellect and pragmatism.
However, after living years in that lack of faith, as well as seeing what the world has become, she began to question if her so-called wisdom and intellect were doing her or anyone else any good. In fact, she said it was “very nearly self-destructive.”
Well, for the basic fact that atheism could not answer one of life’s most simple questions: What is the meaning and purpose of life?
And because it could not, it keeps those who assume to truly believe in a lack of God or purpose in a perpetual state of despair.
Now, to be sure, Christianity doesn’t always answer this question exactly the same way. After all, faith is a personal experience, and each believer may have a slightly different idea as to why they are on this earth and what God has in store.
However, I think it’s safe to say that the basis for all the possible answers resonates with this kind of idea. Namely, that God loves us and wants us to succeed. He wants to see us in Heaven with him one day and, therefore, has put all kinds of tools at our disposal to get us there.
As Ali explains in her essay, this kind of belief, as well as the knowledge that following God’s word and attempting to intimidate Jesus Christ as one of those tools, offers the perfect recipe for the soul. It gives us something to believe in beyond ourselves and gives us purpose.
Essentially, it is everything the soul needs to flourish.
After all, studies have shown that without hope, without some sort of purpose, most human beings literally can’t survive.
Of course, Ali notes that Christianity isn’t just about making the individual whole. It’s also an answer for the world and any “civilizational war” we encounter.
She asks us to take a look around the world, noting the problems. We have terrorist attacks from Hamas, Russia and Ukraine at war; China, Iran, and North Korea are seemingly on the brink of conflict.
And then there are our own national issues… the economy is in the dump, woke ideology is ruining the next generation, crime is skyrocketing, and don’t even get me started on immigration.
Yet, all we seem to be doing is offering superficial solutions to these problems. We wave money around, send out troops, devise new technology, or talk ourselves to death. And as Ali says, “With every round of conflict, we find ourselves losing ground.”
“We are either running out of money, with our national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars, or we are losing our lead in the technological race with China.”
But that’s not even the main point.
How can we win a war or even withstand our enemies if we can’t even explain why it matters that we do?
As she says, “We can’t fight woke ideology if we can’t defend the civilization that it is determined to destroy. And we can’t counter Islamism with purely secular tools. To win the hearts and minds of Muslims here in the West, we have to offer them something more than videos on TikTok.”
And just like that, we are back to the question of what is the purpose and meaning of life.
As a nation founded and rooted in Christianity, we once did everything based on the Word of God and his teachings. It gave us purpose and great success, even against terrible odds. But how are we to succeed now, with all that hope and purpose forgotten?
The sad fact is that we can’t, we won’t. At least not until, like Ali, we realize our true purpose once again.