I have a new hero.
For the last week I've been reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I'd seen her on Real Time with Bill Maher and The Daily Show, but I'd never gotten around to any of her writing. I saw her book in Superstore, and decided to pick it up.
Ali grew up Muslim in Somalia, Ethipia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya. She survived genital mutilation, civil war, domestic beatings and an arranged marriage. Infidel is her memoir, and tracks her life from childhood to her emigration to Holland.
Christopher Hitchens wrote an awesome introduction to the book. (RIP) He writes that Ali is one of his closest personal friends, an inspiring feminist and brave human rights advocate.
Anyways, I read this passage this afternoon, and it so closely reflected my own experiences with Christianity, I had to share it. Here's a direct quote:
"One night in the Greek hotel I looked in the mirror and said out loud `I don't believe in God.' I said it slowly, enunciating it carefully, in Somali. And I felt relief.
It felt right. There was no pain, but a real clarity. The long process of seeing the flaws in my belief structure and carefully tiptoeing around the frayed edges as parts of it were torn out, piece by piece–that was all over. The angels, watching from my shoulders; the mental tension about having sex without marriage, and drinking alcohol, and not observing any religious obligations–they were gone. The ever-present prospect of hellfire lifted, and my horizon seemed broader. God, Satan, angels: these were all figments of human imagination. From now on I could step firmly on the ground that was under my feet and navigate based on my own reason and self-respect. My moral compass was within myself, not in the pages of a sacred book."
Anyways, I have other updates about my life, but mostly I wanted to strongly urge you to check out Ali's book.