After describing the hardships of a pious Muslim wife with a cruel husband in a country where divorce is not allowed, Ayaan Hirsi Ali says:
If you are a Somali woman you must learn to tell yourself that God is just and all knowing and will reward you in the Hereafter.(p. 12)
Married Somali woman believe in the Hereafter for the same reasons I do, which is the same reason single or married, educated or not, Christians, Jews, and Muslims do. When contemplating own existence, we see ourselves against an infinite abyss that we call God. Our faith is a positive response to the message of miracle workers and prophets that our freedom is before God, that our past will be gathered up when we die, and that our death will be the defining moment of our lives. With fear and trembling, we hope for a perfect fulfillment in the Hereafter based on our human experience.
Ms. Ali is not just skeptical about the Hereafter, which is deism, but thinks people who do believe in revealed religion are irrational. Ms. Ali is in no position to criticize others because she herself does not see the irrationality of her father's explanation of why people should be honest. Ms. Ali thinks her mother is the one who is irrational:
Ma taught us to tell the truth because otherwise we would be punished and go to Hell. Our father taught us to be honest because truth is good in itself. (p. 45)
Both of her parents, as well as her teachers, gave Ms. Ali the gift of faith:
The Prophet did teach us a lot of good things. I found it spiritually appealing to believe in a Hereafter. (p. 272)
But ultimately she decided not to believe in God:
One night in that 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. (p. 281)
Ms. Ali started her political career by criticizing a Muslim leader for saying in a TV interview that homosexuality was sinful:
To the Somali in me, this attitude was familiar; but the Dutch person in me was shocked. The interview caused a commotion, and I sat down and wrote an article and sent it to the NRC Handelsblad. I wrote that this attitude was much larger than just one imam: it was systemic in Islam, because this was a religion that had never gone through a process of Enlightenment that would lead people to question its rigid approach to individual freedom. (p. 266)
The so-called Enlightenment occurred in the 17th and 18th century when people began educating themselves instead of being educated by the Christian churches. People like Thomas Jefferson and Voltaire got miseducated and became deists. In the 19th century, humanism and socialism became important movements for social change throughout the world. Humanism is the belief that our goal in life should not be to serve God, but to serve mankind. Humanism replaces the study of revelation (theology) and the study of being (metaphysics) with science.
The scientific basis of humanism is the pseudo-scientific idea that humans are superior to animals, not because humans have spiritual souls and animals don't, but because of evolution. Ernst Haeckel, and other early Darwinists, thought that some races were superior to the other races and that the life of some human beings has more value than the life of other human beings. Germany carried out the first Darwinian genocide from 1904 to 1907 when tens of thousands of Africans were killed in Namibia.
Western civilization rose above that of the rest of the world long before the 18th century. My theory is that the freedom and prosperity of the West compared to the rest of the world was caused by the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. In the west, bishops and popes gave orders to emperors, kings, and princes. In the Eastern Roman Empire, by contrast, emperors gave orders to bishops.
At one point, Ms. Ali's father pleaded with her:
My father said, 'Islam does not say women should be beaten. Islam is a religion of freedom, and peace. You can fight the oppression of women, Ayaan, but you must not link it with Islam. (p. 286)
Ms. Ali links the violent behavior of many Muslims to Islam by quoting from the Koran. This is an old trick. Christians who quoted from the Talmud to justify their hatred of Jewish people invented the scam. Deists like Voltaire justified their anti-Semitism, as well as their deism, by quoting from the Old Testament. Of course, Ms. Ali's motivation is not to increase the hatred of and prejudice against Muslims and their religion. Ms. Ali is trying to persuade herself that she has not lost anything when she lost her faith in Allah.