Every day humans are placed in positions where they have to make choices and are forced to live with the consequences of those choices, some good, and some bad. How they choose to make it through these issues of life deeply shape them as a person and fundamentally affect their worldview. An ethical dilemma of peer pressure to use performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) will be observed from the standpoint of a Christian worldview and compared from an atheist outlook.
Paul has been working hard to earn a starting spot on the team. Many of his friends have begun using a performance enhancing drug that is untraceable by drug tests, and the coach has turned a blind eye to it. Just recently, the coach came to him saying that changes need to be made to the roster and he might lose his starting position. In the midst of this, Paul’s friend asked him to try this new drug (PED) to gain a leg up on the competition, and to help him grow bigger, faster, and stronger so that he doesn’t fall behind. Paul is now at a crossroads in his life and forced to make an important ethical decision and has no idea which way to go; whether to take the drug and keep his spot on the team, he don’t get picked on, and so he is not the kid falling behind in the gym; or decide not to take the drug and risk losing his starting spot on the team, losing friends, being made fun of, and possibly slip into depression.
With the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs in sports today, people are turning to Christians and wondering how they view the topic. While the Bible does not specifically address this, there are verses that can be applied here. To begin, we start by looking within ourselves at the human body. Since the fall, “Adam and Eve plunge not only themselves into sin and death, but also all of humanity (Diffey, 2014).” A core belief of the Christian worldview is that the body is the temple of God. When Christ is accepted into the life of a believer, they begin to look at their earthly bodies differently because Christians believe they no longer belong to themselves, but to God. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy; and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17).”
Furthermore, as men and women of Christ, we should be working hard and striving to please Him in all that we do, while obeying the rules of the land, not just to avoid punishment or to please man. God’s Word reads, “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Col. 3:22-23).”
These are just two core commitments from a Christian worldview that could influence a person’s decision in this scenario easily. First, the young man wouldn’t take the drugs from his friend because he knows that it is wrong and it does not belong in your body. If he is lifting weights, he is probably on a diet and already watching what he puts into his body. Secondly, he should not be concerned if his coach is happy with his performance, as long as he gives one hundred percent, and God is pleased, then he has done all that he can do.
The Christian worldview proposes a simple resolution for this dilemma and that is to not participate in the act of using the banned substance or PED offer to him. In the Bible it states, “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. (Romans 14:21).” The same could be said for using PED’s. They might help you at first, but there will be side effects. “These drugs are found to have a beneficial role in heart failure and osteoporosis, however due to the serious side-effects associated with these drugs; they were rejected for further pharmaceutical development (Sowjanya & Girish, 2019).”
In acting according to a Christian worldview, Paul should decline the offer of his friend and continue working hard to earn his spot on the team the right way. Eventually, the test for that PED will come and it will be found that these players are abusing drugs. When that happens, they could face suspension or even being kicked off of the team where as Paul would not face those consequences, nor have any guilt weighing on his shoulders. Paul can look to Christ for his strength and comfort. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This would be Paul’s best course of action to take in this situation. This might keep him from a starting position for the moment, but it will pay off when everything comes out, and the drug is discovered, tested for, and members of the team fail for the banned substance.
It only makes sense that there must be benefits to PED’s, since world class athletes throw away millions of dollars daily from doping. While the benefits are plenty, there are just as many downfalls to PED’s as well. Still, most athletes excel on their own with the technology and numerous types of equipment given for working out, stamina, and recovery. “The real challenge lies in distinguishing between enhancers and steroids (RAPP, 2009).”
Paul chose to go against the grain of his peers and not use PED. He stayed true to his beliefs in a Christian worldview and listened to morals that God placed in his heart. In doing this, he will probably lose his starting spot on the team, get picked on, and lose friends. Now, when he should be celebrating, he is suffering from his choice. “God will not violate your free will, so when you take the wrong path, you suffer. When you encounter evil or negligent people you may suffer (‘Topic 6 Overview,’ 2017).” Another perceived benefit would be, by keeping God’s standard for his life and following God’s Word, Paul could experience blessings that he cannot imagine, begin to happen in his life. This is not saying that Christians have no financial problems, health problems, family problems, job issues, or conflicts in life, but rather rewards are given to those who look toward God as they confront these challenges, while holding onto God and His Word, refusing to be moved by the issues of life. God will reward those who diligently follow Him and keep His commandments. The Bible states in Deuteronomy 7:9 we are to, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” These rewards are brought forth when these challenges are overcome through faith in Christ.
An unintended consequence of this dilemma would be the fact that it only takes one time using these drugs to get hooked. Addiction has no preference, whether your rich or poor, skinny or large, young or old, addiction does not care, it will take you right in and absolutely ruin your life and the ones around you. Other unintended consequences could include a worst case scenario where Paul would feel curious, decide to use PED, and then something goes wrong with the injection. His friends, scared, and not wanting to get into trouble, helped him out of the locker room. Little did they know they overdosed him and Paul ends up dying. Things like this happen daily, all because the “friend” does not want to get in trouble. It is sad that situations like this happen but it is true. This is what the world is becoming. “People’s “default mode,” he observed, is to be critical of others while justifying themselves. He explained how this is so easy to do because individuals see the world through selfish eyes in which they are the heroes of their own stories (Merrick, 2014).”
Paul faces a huge decision that will not only affect him and his ability to be truthful but also his friends and teammates. In fact, his whole future could hinge on the decision that he is currently faced with. This could impact his life forever and he does not realize it, but he is playing with fire. In the Christian worldview Paul should listen to and follow God’s Word but when this scenario is seen from the eyes of an atheist, you see a picture without a God. “Even when one’s assumptions are not religious in a traditional sense, they function much like the assumptions found in other worldviews (Hiles & Smith, 2014).” Say for a moment that Paul is not a Christian; he could still make decisions based upon learned morals and/or right or wrong choices. The main difference being that his morals would be based on good deeds toward others rather than being centered on morals, lain out by God.
After all is said and done, and the temptation to fit in, use PED’s, and be part of the group was difficult for Paul, but he stays honest to himself and what he believes. This is where we reflect and remember that, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13).” He provided a way for Paul to escape this temptation, through His Word, and He will do the same for everyone. “Before losing his wife C.S. Lewis often said that, suffering is God’s gift to Christians, a gift that helps them to grow up and leave a childish existence behind for a more mature one (Sharpe, J. 2014).” Paul might have suffered some by losing friends, being picked on, or losing his starting spot on the team, but he did the right thing.
Ultimately, the way that a person will deal with this ethical issue depends on their worldview and their own set of values on life. This paper shows by way of research and Biblical proof that our bodies are a temple of God and it is our responsibility to take care of what goes into it and what you do with it. In the Christian worldview, we work only to please God, not man. Also, we are careful that we don’t become a stumbling block to others around us and we need to be edifying and lifting others up, in Christ’s name. Apart from the many horrible side effects these medications may cause, the Christian and the atheist worldviews can look at the subject similarly and both have positive sides, moral standards, and definite differences between right and wrong. We saw a few great examples of what perceived benefits may look like from the Christian worldview as well as unintended consequences from both sides of the issue.
Luckily, Paul chose to remain true to his beliefs and abide by God’s will. Since he made the correct decision by choosing not to use performance enhancing drugs, he will not ruin his chance at a career in sports and he can continue to have a drug-free future. Paul won his chess match of faith this time, but this struggles that people everywhere face are real, and continually shape worldviews around the world!
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