How a French Atheist Becomes a Theologian

Inside my own revolution.
How a French Atheist Becomes a Theologian
Image: Dan Bigelow

If French atheists rarely become evangelical Christians, how much rarer it is for one to become an evangelical Christian theologian. So what happened? One might argue that with 66 million French people, I’m just a fluke, an anomaly. I am inclined to see it as the work of a God who says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy” (Rom. 9:15). Hearing the facts may help you decide for yourself.

I grew up in a wonderfully loving family in France, near Paris. We were Catholic, a religious expression that seemed to arise more out of tradition and perhaps superstition than conviction. As soon as I was old enough to tell my parents I didn’t believe any of it, I stopped going to Mass. I pursued my own happiness on all fronts, benefiting from my parents’ loving dedication. It allowed me to do well at school, learn to play the piano, and get involved in many sports. I studied math, physics, and engineering in college, graduated from a respected engineering school, and landed a job as a computer scientist in finance. On the sports front, after I grew to be 6 feet 4 inches and discovered I could jump 3 feet high, I ended up playing volleyball in a national league, traveling the country every weekend for the games.

An important part of young male French atheist ideals consisted of female conquests. Here, 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 the gospel—let alone believing it—were incredibly slim.

New Life Goal

When I was in my mid-20s, my brother and I vacationed in the Caribbean. One day, returning from the beach, ...

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