Guillaume Bignon, a Parisian who currently lives with his family in New York, was an atheist before converting to Christianity and becoming a theologian — an experience that led him to deliver some pointed messages about faith in the wake of Friday's terror attack.
Guillaume Bignon (Facebook/Guillaume Bignon)
In a reflection piece for Premier Christianity, he said that he was asked how the Paris terror attacks would be processed in a secular culture such as France, to which he explained that "there are only a couple of ways to think through this evil."
"The only option for French atheists (among whose ranks I used to count myself), is to maintain that there isn’t really any such thing as evil," Bignon wrote. "When one denies the existence of God as a transcendent creator of the universe who ordains how humans ought to live their lives, one is left only with conflicting opinions about what individuals like and dislike."
He continued, "If there is no God then there is no objective truth about the good and the bad."
Bignon said that he believes denying God's existence also means throwing out the notion of "objective good" and "objective evil." It is with that in mind that the theologian then framed what it means to be a "consistent atheist."
"To be a consistent atheist one must affirm that the Islamic terrorists in Paris didn’t do anything 'wrong', as such," he wrote. "They only acted out of line with our personal preferences, (and in line with theirs). If there's no ultimate arbiter of right and wrong, that's all we are left with."
And he wasn't done there.
"Maybe that way of reasoning about good and evil strikes you as crazy. 'Of course the terrorists were wrong and their acts were evil' the atheist says," Bignon wrote. "I agree, which is why I think the reality of the evil we just witnessed makes atheism so implausible."
The theologian said that there seems to be something "really, deeply, objectively evil" about what unfolded and that it appears that most people understand and feel that sentiment, describing it as an intuition that can only be valid if there is an ultimate law-giver and God.
The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in Red, White and Blue in honour of the victims of Friday's terrorist attacks on November 16, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Bignon went on to note that there are theological issues to contend with even with the existence of God, including the overarching problem of why a good God would allow for such a horrific event.
He concluded by expressing his hope that others in France will also find Christ, as he did.
"In a culture that is so post-Christian that the Gospel is almost entirely foreign and hardly ever proclaimed, I say ‘the harvest is plentiful, and the labourers are few,’" Bagnon wrote, citing Luke 10:2.
Learn more about his conversation experience here.
(H/T: Premier Christianity)