Because I was once an atheist and became a Christian, I am fascinated by stories of other atheists-turned-Christians. I have written about several over the years, and I plan to continue to write about them as I find out about them. Well, I ran across another one a few days ago, and his story is different from the others. For one thing, it starts in France!
Guillaume Bignon was born near Paris. He says that his family was “nominally Roman Catholic,” but none of them seemed to take it very seriously. By the age of 13, he decided that he no longer wanted to go to church, and his parents had no problem with that. As a student, he studied math, physics, and engineering, eventually graduating from an engineering school and working as a computer scientist. He also played volleyball for a national league. Here is how he sums up his life at that point:
An important part of young male French atheist ideals also consisted in female conquests, at which I was starting to have enough success to satisfy the raunchy standards of the volleyball locker room. All in all, I was pretty happy with my life, and in a thoroughly secular culture, the chances of ever hearing (let alone believe) the Gospel were incredibly slim.
Obviously, God can conquer the odds, no matter how slim.
As I read Guillaume Bignon’s story, I noticed several things. First, it was a young lady who forced him to consider Christianity. She didn’t make him more inclined to believe, but she at least made him question why he was an atheist. That led him to read the Bible so that he could effectively refute her beliefs. Not surprisingly, what he found in the Bible wasn’t what he expected.
That wasn’t quite enough for him, however. He needed to learn more about Christianity, which was most easily accomplished by going to church. However, he had an “iron-clad” excuse for not going to church. His volleyball league played and traveled on Sunday. That excuse vanished, however, when he ended up being plagued by an unexplained shoulder problem that sidelined him. Since he couldn’t play volleyball on Sunday, he decided to go to church.
The church he went to had a head pastor who was more than willing to talk with him about his unbelief, and I think this is the crux of his story. It wasn’t enough for him to have a potential girlfriend witness to him. It wasn’t enough for him to read the Bible. In the end, he had questions, and those questions needed to be answered. The head pastor helped him find most of the answers he needed. As Bignon writes:
He [the head pastor] didn’t necessarily present an apologetic case (France doesn’t have a William Lane Craig or an Alvin Plantinga to provide a devastating logical critique of atheism/naturalism), but at least his answers were internally coherent, and that was impressive in its own right.
The head pastor gave him a study guide about the basics of the Christian faith, and Guillaume Bignon devoured it. He said that the study guide helped him understand Christianity a lot, but he still didn’t have the answer to his most important question: “Why did Jesus have to die?”
Eventually, he found that answer in his own life. Like all of us, he had done some things he was ashamed of. There was one thing in particular, which he does not detail. God convicted him of that sin, and then he really understood why Jesus had to die. When that happened, he became a Christian.
I would encourage you to read the whole story, because you can really see how God worked behind the scenes to bring him to faith.