The parallel, that is, to the inherantly more important spiritual dimension of human existence. We read and discuss much about how our bodies are not our own, that we are responsible for taking care of them .... but sooner or later it comes down to comparing smoking to overeating, drinking alcohol to eating sugar and fat, sometimes even refusing daily exercise to refusing daily prayer. But what is the purpose of such comparisons? In most cases, it approaches the line of trying to convince ourselves that my shortcomings arent as bad as yours-- i.e., one guy smokes but doesn't drink, the next guy drinks but doesn't smoke, and the third guy neither drinks nor smokes but eats his fill of pork chops, fried foods, and cake, pie and ice cream and needs to lose 70 pounds. Well, nobody's perfect-- Jack LaLanne, the original 'live longer and feel better' exercise and nutrition proponent, died last January at 95, and cigar-smoking George Burns made it to 100. Winston Churchill smoked 16 cigars and drank a pint of whiskey a day, and ate who knows how much of what, and yet he lived to 91. So proper diet, exercise, and abstinence of harmful substances are no guarantee of a longer, more useful life. So if we don't take care of our bodies, that means we are gambling, hoping to beat the unlikely odds and live useful lives anyway-- or else we don't care, which probably means we don't really see the reason to live longer with greater physical abilities, and everything that produces, like our attitudes and diligence about almost anything. The point is, though, do we miss the most complete, most elementary picture that God supplies for us? The Bible does tell us to take care of our bodies, but it also says, somewhere in Timothy, that physical exercise profits little, with the context being in comparison to the spiritual dimension. The body, to function effectively, and certainly to a reasonable maximum, must be nourished with good foods that build and maintain it, must be kept reasonably free from substances that harm it, and must be used [exercised] to stay in top condition. On the parallel spiritual side, we have the food of every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; refusing the harmful of compromising teachings, trends, or fads; and we maintain by Bible study, prayers, fellowship, and contributing our abilities and entrustments. But, like the physical body side, we can do some of these things and ignore others, and convince ourselves we are better than someone else who fails in what we do, but shines better in our failures. With either dimension, we want to get caught up in our self-righteous disputes and something like it's better to eat a quart of ice cream than to drink one beer, or if you don't tithe then daily prayer and Bible study are useless. The illustration is simpler than that, and should be looked upon for what it shows us personally; not what we want it to show about someone else in order to elevate ourselves. So such questions as "Why put more taxes on cigarettes instead of new taxes on French fries?" mean little as far as what this outstanding illustration is meant to show us. Comparisons may be 'human nature'-- all the arguments on this board among us whose goals and beliefs are not really that different shows that-- but we should care for our own body and our own soul regardless of what we see anyone else doing.