Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: From New Atheist to Humble Christian Convert

10 May 2024


2024 continues to be a year of spiritual surprises. One by one by one, leading conservative voices from around the world are expressing a renewed appreciation — and even personal identification with — the Christian religion. Russell Brand and Candace Owens being two of the most high-profile ‘converts’ to Roman Catholicism.

But it is the conversion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali which I find to be the most intriguing. Her spiritual journey from Islam, to atheism to Christianity is extraordinary. And if it weren’t for her trajectory being towards the person and work of Christ, Hollywood almost definitely would have produced a movie by now.

In responding to the taunts of her former anti-religious colleague, Richard Dawkins, that the teaching of Christianity was ‘nonsense’ and too ‘obsessed with sin’, Hirsi Ali respectfully said this:

I know you really well, we’ve been friends for a long time. In fact, in some ways I think of you as a mentor. I would say that you’re coming at this from a place of “There is nothing.” 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 is a powerful entity… for me the God that turned me around… I think what the vicar is saying no longer sounds nonsensical, it makes a great deal of sense. And not only does it make a great deal of sense, it’s also layered with the wisdom of millennia.

So, like you, I did mock. Faith in general and probably Christianity in particular. But I don’t do that anymore and again that’s where the humility comes into it. It doesn’t seem in 2024 after I went through that experience, it doesn’t seem nonsensical to me and I don’t mock it. I think I’ve come down to my knees to say perhaps those people who have always had faith have something which people who have lost faith don’t have.

And people who have faith also, like the woman who told me, “Well, you’ve had everything. You’ve lost hope. You’ve lost faith. Try it, praying. I think, just in that one word there is so much wisdom… I’m suffering and I’m struggling and I’m just trying to say, it’s not stupid.

A New Hope

What stands out about Hirsi Ali’s explanation of her faith, is not only its intellectual honesty, but her personal humility. More than most, she knows what it means to suffer for decisions regarding her faith, or even lack thereof. To this day, Hirsi Ali lives in the United States with her husband Niall Ferguson, under constant protection due to a fatwa which was formerly issued against her when she left Islam. And now it seems that her former atheistic allies are also trying to take her to task.

Hirsi Ali’s decision to become a Christian though, signals a turning point in the wider civic discourse on religion and how it is conducted. It shows that faith is not dead, and there are ways of discussing it that rise above the dismissive arrogance of recent years.

Hirsi Ali’s humility is an example for us all. Someone who is gracious in her tone and careful in her choice of words. Just observe how she responds to Richard Dawkins’ accusation that the Christian faith is obsessed with sin:

I find that Christianity is actually obsessed with love. And that the figure, the teachings of Christ as I see it, and again, I’m a brand new Christian, but what I’m finding out — which is the opposite to growing up as a Muslim and 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, and it’s a story of renewal and rebirth.

And so, Jesus dying and rising again for me symbolises that story. And in a small way I felt like I have died and I was re-born. And that story of redemption and re-birth I think makes Christianity actually a very, very powerful story for the human condition and human existence.

There is something the Christian faith offers which is not only incredibly powerful, but also unique. It’s the promise of forgiveness and meaning and, most of all, hope. As the apostle Peter writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 1:3)


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Robert Tucker 10 May 2024 at 8:16 am - Reply


  2. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 10 May 2024 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    Brave woman who left Islam so has a fatwa ( order to kill her ) against her , but, who now has found Jesus, the God of Love and Forgiveness. The fatwa proves Islam is NOT ” the religion of peace” we are so frequently told in an attempt to brain-wash us. Only fools can believe that !

  3. Jon Brown 11 May 2024 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark, I haven’t seen the full interview but from the quotes it seems like Ayaan doesn’t accept the historical facts of Christianity. Or at least downplays their importance. The apostle John said that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is the anti-Christ. Christ’s coming, dying and rising again aren’t mere symbols but are a historical reality. You must believe this to be a real Christian. Dawkins understands that Christianity is based on historical claims and if we don’t believe those claims we are not Christians in any orthodox sense. Peterson, Brand and others fall into the symbols camp. For this reason we should be very careful about claiming they’re on our team when they hold a heretical position.

    • Kim Beazley 12 May 2024 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      If you haven’t seen the full interview, and even if all you have is that interview, what right do you have to judge whether or not she is truly saved? None. Besides, who of us, after a few short months after our conversion, had our theology correctly aligned? You are judging her without any evidence. The last time I looked that was what you might term “heretical” too, or at least something that Jesus Himself denounced.

      • Jon 17 May 2024 at 9:24 pm - Reply

        The evidence I was going off was the quote at the end from the interview where she says the resurrection is a symbol of dying and rising again. That’s what I was questioning because Believing in the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus isn’t a matter of having our theology right. It’s THE core belief of Christianity. You’re not a Christian unless you believe that.

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