French Atheist-Turned-Theologian Speaks at JBU
Guillaume Bignon Delivers Chapel Address
Siloam Springs, Ark. (March 9, 2015) - Guillaume Bignon grew up outside of Paris and from an early age rejected the notion that God existed. When Bignon met a Christian girl while vacationing in his mid-twenties, the Frenchman was determined to date her and simultaneously disabuse her of her archaic beliefs. Little did he know that his commitment to disprove the existence of God would lead him straight into a relationship with God and change his life forever.
Bignon will tell his story of conversion from staunch atheism to a committed relationship with Jesus at John Brown University’s chapel service at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 12.
Bignon started studying the Bible in order to refute his new girlfriend’s Christianity, but soon found he could not stop. “I devoured all the books I could get my hands on that dealt with Christianity and related topics,” he said.
This voracious appetite for the teachings of Jesus heightened Bignon’s awareness of his need for Jesus’ death and resurrection. And through various encounters and relationships, Bignon, the atheist since childhood, committed his life to Christ.
Soon after his conversion, Bignon moved to New York City, got a job as a computer scientist in finance, broke up with his girlfriend and enrolled in seminary. He earned his masters in Biblical Literature from Alliance Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology from London School of Theology in Northwood.
Bignon still lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children, works as a computer scientist and is a bona fide theologian.
Bignon’s day starts at 5:45 a.m. with a quick French breakfast and an hour and a half of research, reading and writing before leaving for work in midtown Manhattan at 8 a.m.
“Believe it or not, the sort of logical skills required for my job are very much the same as are needed for a good philosopher of religion,” Bignon said. “So, I find it very beneficial for my job to have this ‘warm up’ doing philosophy in the morning.”
Bignon does not think he will make theology his full-time job, but instead enjoys being both a computer scientist and theologian.
“I get many opportunities to help others discover [Jesus],” Bignon said. “By His grace, that happens through my academic engagements, as well as in day-to-day conversations with New Yorkers, colleagues and friends.”
Bignon cares deeply for those who used to think like he did. He thought belief in the existence of God was “intellectual suicide.” Now, it’s Bignon’s intelligence and hunger for knowledge that fuels his belief in, and argument for, the existence of a God who loves and cares deeply about the world.
In his academic work as well as in his career, Bignon wants to engage those who doubt and disbelieve.
“One of the things I try to remind myself constantly is that I want to be remembered by how loving I was, more than how smart I ever became. I want to get my theology right; I want to defend what is true and good; but if I am remembered as a jerk with correct ideas, then I have failed,” said Bignon.
Bignon will speak in the Cathedral of the Ozarks and conduct talkback sessions for theology and philosophy students after chapel in the Walker Student Center.
John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked No. 1 overall and a Best Value among Southern regional colleges by U.S. News. JBU enrolls more than 2,800 students from 42 states and 40 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a founding member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.