An activist atheist, Christopher Pida often engaged people in debates in order to debunk Christianity. He earned a philosophy degree from California State University at Northridge in 1996, where he said he was "bombarded by relativism." After his best friend, Rob Westerwelt, became a Christian in college, the two would debate for hours.

"I think Rob could have easily driven me away and wrecked any chances of my coming to faith," Pida told CT. Instead, Rob's demeanor was, in Pida's words, "I'm going to love you anyway, but I'm going to stand up for what I believe in." It meant a lot to Pida that, despite their fundamental difference, Westerwelt asked him to be best man at his wedding.

Like Pida, Westerwelt earned his master's in philosophy. It was from Biola, where he now is director of advertising and publications.

Westerwelt invited Pida to last year's Defending the Faith series. Listening to the Biola philosophers made Pida recognize that atheism "took the leap of faith that is usually erroneously blamed on Christianity—a blind, unknowing faith," he says.

Books and taped lectures from Biola's apologists are "why I'm not a moral relativist," he says. They helped him realize the big difference between objective and preference claims. "Torturing babies is wrong; 'I like vanilla ice cream' is a preference," he says. "I became a Christian by force of logic."


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Masters of Philosophy | How Biola University is making inroads in the larger philosophical world.

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