Treating People as more than Just Bodies

Photo by Laurin Guadiana

A couple days ago, I talked about the biblical basis for defining a person as both body and soul, and how our ultimate hope is not to become a disembodied spirit, but rather to spend eternity in a glorified body. We are not only our bodies, but our bodies are certainly an integral part of who we are. Having laid down that scriptural foundation, I would like to now discuss how human relationships can break apart when we fail to properly apply these principles.

If the ancient Greeks tended to view people as souls trapped in a shell, the modern world has a tendency to view everything as material. If you are a true materialist (in the philosophical sense), you do not believe that souls exist. Therefore, a human being really is nothing more than their body, and all of their thoughts and feelings are the result of electrical signals that they cannot truly control. This has led some atheists, such as Sam Harris, to write treatises declaring that free will does not exist.

This is not the Christian view. We believe that the human will is under the influence of the sinful nature, and that without the power of the Spirit, humans are unable to perform true acts of righteousness or choose to follow God. However, we certainly do believe that all humans have a soul…even if that soul is dead in sin. No human being is only a body. We affirm the real nature of the physical world while also acknowledging the existence of the supernatural.

Despite this belief, many Christians join right in with non-Christians in acting as if people do not have souls. What do I mean by this? Just look at how we tend to treat people whom we look down on for any number of reasons: we often deemphasize their mental and spiritual nature and view them only in terms of their body. Continue reading

How Becoming a Buckeye Changed Me

Giving a show of support to my team before they played Michigan State in 2007.

The world is full of conversion tales: people who switched from Christianity to Islam, Democrats who decided to become Republicans, Samsung fanboys who ran to the Apple store when their Galaxy Note 7 exploded. (You lie, Christoph Waltz! Loved you in those Tarantino films though…) To that list I will add one more – the tale of my decision to cheer for The Ohio State University in college athletics.

To most people out there, this may seem a moot point. Who cares which football team is my favorite? The rest of you may question why I choose to highlight my preference for the Buckeyes so soon after they received a 31-0 thrashing at the hands of Clemson University in the College Football Playoff, a most embarrassing fate indeed that capped off an unspectacular postseason for the previously vaunted Big Ten (but really 14) Conference. But I say, what better time for me to show support for my team? They clearly need it! Continue reading

2014 Olympic Figure Skating Preview and Medal Predictions

The Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, where the 2014 Olympic figure skating events will be held.  Flickr photo by Atos International

The Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, where the 2014 Olympic figure skating events will be held. Flickr photo by Atos International

I have now published an analysis of where I was right and where I was wrong, as well as a few general comments about the competitions. You can read the new post here.

Last fall, I posted an article looking at the potential medalists in the ladies’ figure skating competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  It was rather a diversion from the usual topics I cover on this site, but given my better-than-average understanding of the sport, I decided it was worth a try, if only so I could have a little bit of fun.  Who would have thought that the article would become the most read in the history of this site?  Not me!  It was a welcome surprise, much like seeing one of the U.S. pairs teams skate a clean program. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

In part because of the obvious level of interest, I am making a return to the subject with just over two weeks before the start of the Olympics on February 6.  There has been almost a full season of competitions since my original article, so there are plenty of updates to share.  This time, I will be covering all five figure skating disciplines: men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pairs, ice dancing, and the first-ever team competition at the Olympics.  Without further ado, let’s get a move on! Continue reading

Ohio State vs. Michigan: 15 Years of “The Game”

Ohio State faces Michigan in the 2013 edition of their annual rivalry game.  Photo by Michael Barera

Ohio State faces Michigan in the 2013 edition of their annual rivalry game. Photo by Michael Barera

I felt many different things during yesterday’s Ohio State-Michigan game.  That is what comes from watching your team put its unbeaten record on the line against its long-time rival in a battle of seesawing scores and emotions.  At various points, I felt elated, exhausted, annoyed, anxious – pretty much all of the emotions you would expect a serious college football fan to face during such a game.  However, there was one thing I felt more than any other, perhaps surprisingly so: I felt old. Continue reading

Olympic Preview: Ladies’ Figure Skating

2013 Worlds podium Flickr { QUEEN YUNA } - Copy

Medals winners in the ladies’ event at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships: (L-R) Carolina Kostner, Kim Yu-Na, and Mao Asada. Photo by Flickr user { QUEEN YUNA }

Editor’s Note: A newer article covering all five figure skating disciplines – men, ladies, pairs, ice dancing, and the team event – is now available.  Check it out here.

Figure skating is a dying sport, or so the media has led me to believe.  Nobody understands the new scoring system implemented after the judging scandal at the 2002 Olympics.  Arenas in North America are half empty where they used to be packed.  Hardly any events are shown live on television anymore.

I understand where these complaints are coming from.  Americans’ interest in figure skating has dropped substantially since the good old days of Nancy Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding.  More than any changes to the judging system, I think what has really killed public interest is the lack of big time American stars on the ladies’ side.  Michelle Kwan was a fan favorite for an entire decade, and no one has been able to successfully fill her shoes. Continue reading

Mythbusters: SEC Football Edition

SEC BIG 10 Logos

The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten Conference logos are both trademarks of their respective owners. They are part of the Wikimedia Creative Commons collection and are used here for commentary purposes only.

My readers are most likely familiar with the television show Mythbusters, which takes a claim that is generally believed to be true (or at least intensely debated) and puts it to the test.  Today, I am going to do something similar, only with less explosions.  I am going to examine a claim that is often repeated in the world of college football fanatics: that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) has the best teams and/or is the best performing conference.

Full disclosure here: I grew up in the Midwest and am a fan of the BIG 10 conference.  My particular loyalty is to The Ohio State University, but I also want to see the conference do well as a whole.  Whether in its 10, 11, 12, or 14 team form, I would put its history, traditions, and fan loyalty second to none.  Thus, it is not with complete happiness that I have witnessed this ever increasing SEC superiority complex.

Granted, the SEC is a great conference in its own right.  Its fans are equally rabid and its traditions equally hallowed.  Had I grown up in SEC land, I’m sure I would be just as ardent a supporter of that conference as I am of the BIG 10, which is why I am so thankful that God did not assign me to that fate. Continue reading

In Defense of American Ignorance

I’m going to do something today that might shock even myself.  I’m going to defend the ignorance of my fellow Americans in several areas.  In general, I’m opposed to ignorance.  In fact, I will have to overlook several perfectly valid counterpoints in order to play this role of devil’s advocate.  What you are about to witness is something which may not happen again, but for the sake of argument, it is happening right now.

It is all too easy to point out the deficiencies in the average American’s knowledge about our world, and if it’s easy for me, it’s even easier for foreigners.  Most Americans are more likely to know about the exploits of Kim Kardashian than Angela Merkel (the Chancellor of Germany and current champion on Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women” list).  But as I’m about to show, there are perfectly understandable reasons for this state of affairs beyond simple stupidity. Continue reading

Sochi Blues

Friendly mascots prepare to welcome the world to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi - but will they be welcoming the U.S.?

Friendly mascots prepare to welcome the world to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi – but will they be welcoming the United States?

What was meant to be an example of international cooperation is once again a cause for international bickering.

Since the Russian city of Sochi was awarded the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, there have been concerns in some circles that this would give the spotlight to a country with a poor civil rights record, not to mention a city located very close to the tense Caucasus region.  However, it wasn’t until a certain NSA whistleblower decided to take shelter in a Moscow airport that we had a prominent senator suggest that the U.S. should boycott the games.

In an interview with The Hill (a local D.C. paper), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was asked if the U.S. ought to consider a boycott of the Sochi Olympics if Russia grants asylum to Edward Snowden.  Graham agreed that such an action might be in the cards.

“I would. I would just send the Russians the most unequivocal signal I could send them,” Graham (R-S.C.) said when asked about the possibility of a boycott.

“It might help, because what they’re doing is outrageous,” he said. “We certainly haven’t reset our relationship with Russia in a positive way. At the end of the day, if they grant this guy asylum it’s a breach of the rule of law as we know it and is a slap in the face to the United States.”  Continue reading