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Reblogged:Two Thinkers on Hirsi Ali's Capitulation

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In which a light going out signifies a wake-up call.

I am glad to see that I was hardly the only one disappointed to learn that Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- who had traveled so far intellectually from her religious upbringing -- has chosen to profess religion.

Yaron Brook does an outstanding job in his podcast (also embedded below) considering and addressing the points she made in her essay to that effect.

The strength of Brook's presentation is that it is even-handed. He shows due respect for Hirsi Ali's past strength of character, intellect, and accomplishments. Doing so sets the context necessary to show several things about this move, including: why it is surprising, why it is nevertheless understandable on a couple of levels, and why it is so disappointing.

If I recall correctly, Brook said at one point, A light has gone out.

That is absolutely true.

I have only begun reading Watkins's analysis, but Brook mentioned it towards the end of his, and per Brook, and my reading so far, he argues in a similar vein.

His opening is strong, and is a call to arms to those of us who see the issue at stake for the West better than those who are mistakenly or otherwise relying on Christianity to bolster her during these challenging times:
... Ayaan's account has nothing to say about why she thinks Christianity is true. There are no arguments offered for the existence of God and no arguments offered for the reliability of the New Testament.

But there is an argument. Not for the conclusion that Christianity is true, but for the conclusion that Christianity is necessary. It is necessary, Ayaan believes, to uphold the value of western civilization and it is necessary for the individual seeking meaning and purpose.

This is not a new argument. Christians have been making it forever, but it was Jordan Peterson who most effectively injected it into the current debate. Peterson used it to win over Dave Rubin. Now, with Ayaan, he's claimed another scalp.

All of this was avoidable. Peterson's argument is a bad argument. But no atheist has stepped up to convincingly answer it because there is no moral leadership among today's secular thinkers. Instead of offering the world an inspiring rational moral ideal, atheists have evaded the issue, or, worse, embraced a secular form of Christian ethics.

We can do better. [bold in original]
Fellow travelers will know where this is going, in the sense that we know of a rational alternative to the faith, renunciation, and sacrifice that Christianity upholds over reason, love of life, and the rational pursuit of values.

But both go further: It is up to those of us who do know better to find a way to get that knowledge out there more effectively.

Brook quite thoroughly demolishes Hirsi Ali's worse-than-baseless assertion that Christianity alone can uphold dignity and rights. Whether Hirsi Ali's profession of faith is sincere on some level or driven by panic does not matter: Joining forces with the same people who brought us the Dark Ages (and were only dragged into the Renaissance and Enlightenment kicking and screaming) will prove the final nail in the coffin for the West, and not its salvation.

Watkins is right that we can do better, but after listening to Brook, it becomes clear that we must do better.

Fortunately, we know what the Christians can only profess to take on faith: the truth is on our side. In a war that has us outnumbered and off the initiative, we do at least have the most important advantage.

-- CAV

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