Ben Cox, Class of 2008: Eighth grade logic prepared him to be a neurologist

March 2018

Ben Cox, who graduated in 2008, currently is serving in a neurology residency at Mayo Clinic Rochester. 

“Mars Hill did much more than teach me how to memorize or how to pass tests; it taught me how to think,” he said. “As a neurology resident, I see very complex diseases that affect the most complex organ system in the body, the nervous system. I've learned a lot of medical science in college (Grove City College/molecular biology), medical school (University of Cincinnati), and residency, but the basic process of being able to logically think through a complicated issue, figure out what assumptions are being made, and explore alternative explanations is something I learned at Mars Hill in eighth grade Logic class.”

Dr. Cox reflected fondly on “the most influential years of my life” – playing in the Celtic band The Real McCoys, performing on stage, and jumping kilt-clad into the pond with fellow graduate Michael Peters after their last final. That fateful dip is now an MHA tradition for seniors.

“The seven years I spent at Mars Hill were the most influential years of my life,” he said. “I would certainly not be the man I am today without them.”

 Q: How did your classical Christian education prepare you for life beyond MHA?

 A: I could easily write an entire essay to answer this question and, if I had the time, I likely would.  A classical Christian education, rightly understood, ought to touch every aspect of one's life and so it is difficult for me to think of areas of my life now that have not been shaped, in some way, by my education at Mars Hill.  For the sake of time, I'll touch on a few key areas.  

 Intellectually, Mars Hill taught me to think critically about the world.   I learned to reason, to argue, and to convey my ideas persuasively through writing and speech.  I learned to examine the presuppositions of the culture around me (and myself as well) and to question whether these comport with Scripture.  Mars Hill did much more than teach me how to memorize or how to pass tests; it taught me how to think.  I have learned a lot since leaving Mars Hill, but the basic process of how to think, reason, and persuade that I learned at Mars Hill has not failed me.  Most recently, this has helped me in the field of medicine.  As a neurology resident, I see a lot of very complex diseases that affect the most complex organ system in the body, the nervous system.  I've learned a lot of medical science in college, medical school, and residency, but the basic process of being able to logically think through a complicated issue, figure out what assumptions are being made, and explore alternative explanations is something I learned at Mars Hill in 8th grade logic class.

Spiritually, Mars Hill helped galvanize my Christian faith. Part of this came from the academic study of doctrine, apologetics, and hermaneutics.  Having a solid foundation of how to read and interpret the Bible, answer tough doctrinal questions, and  defend my faith has certainly aided in my walk with God and has sustained me in seasons of doubt or discouragement.  But perhaps the most important lessons I learned at Mars Hill were the unspoken lessons of seeing Christ modeled daily in my teachers and peers.  Mars Hill gave me a taste of what living in Christian community is like and this, above anything else, I think most prepared me for life beyond Mars Hill.

Q: How did your Mars Hill education shape the way you view learning?   

A: Mars Hill taught me that education is not just about how to make a living, but about how to make a life.  Learning is often viewed in purely utilitarian terms - how will I use this? how will this help me get a good job/college/graduate school? While I don't think learning is less than this, I think it is more.  Ultimately, I learn and continue learning in order to become a better person and to understand God's world (and thereby God Himself).  I can't do this by only reading medical textbooks (although that seems to be the majority of what I read these days); I need to read literature, poetry, history, and philosophy to keep me from a myopic view of the world and to broaden my understanding of the full breadth of God's truth.  

Q: How did MHA impact your career decision?

A: Mars Hill taught me the doctrine of vocation - that whatever I find to do can and should be done to the glory of God and to the furtherance of his kingdom.  There is great freedom but also great responsibility in this.  Radical changes in the world come through simple faithfulness to this calling.

Q: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

A: Psalm 63, Psalm 103.

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: I enjoy music (I play mandolin, guitar, and banjo), reading, rock climbing, and backpacking.