Euthanasia From a Disciple of Jesus Christ in Today’s World

Introduction

By definition, Euthanasia refers to the intentional ending by act or omission of a dependent person for their own benefit[1]. In other words, it refers to that process where a terminally ill individual is assisted to die painlessly. Euthanasia can be categorized in a number of ways for instance Non-voluntary euthanasia where a person whose life is ended made no such request or gave no such consent for the process to be carried out[2].

Voluntary euthanasia is the opposite of non-voluntary as in this particular case, the individual specifically requests for his/her life to be ended. Another form of euthanasia is that of Assisted Suicide where the person intending to end his/her life is provided with the necessary guidance, means as well as information as to how to go about the process with the main intention that they will be used for this particular purpose[3].

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Assisted suicide can be carried out by family members, relatives, friends or physicians where the individual is admitted. Euthanasia by omission is yet another form where death to a person is intentionally carried out by not providing usual and necessary care or basic needs to him/her[4].

On the other hand, euthanasia by action is where a person’s death is intentionally caused through performance of an action such as giving lethal injections[5]. Some forms of Euthanasia such as euthanasia by omission can be considered quite inhumane regardless of the reasons provided for it to be carried out. Religion itself considers Euthanasia as going against nature and God’s intention for human beings to live their lives fully despite the challenges or illnesses they may face in their lifetime[6].

Euthanasia and Religion

Euthanasia is observed to date back as far as 400 BC where Romans as well as ancient Greeks believed that it was not necessary to preserve or prolong someone’s life if he/she was no longer interested in living[7]. They also believed that passage from life to death should be as dignified and serene as possible as compared to experiencing agony.

However, certain specific circumstances were an exception for instance in cases where an individual had been fatally wounded and the only way of relieving his/her suffering was to hasten the end of his/her life[8]. This led voluntary euthanasia to be practiced during these particular eras.

During the Middle Ages euthanasia was greatly criticized as well as greatly defended across Europe. Christianity teaches people that life comes from God and should therefore be considered sacred[9]. Its onset also taught people to respect each other and to consider life as a special gift from God that requires care. In other words, Christianity teaches that each person has the right to live and it is only God who being the Creator of man has a right to life[10].

With this in mind, philosophers during the Middle Ages emphasized that God gives pain in order to pay back people’s sins and therefore the more a person experiences a great deal of pain, the more his/her sins are forgiven[11]. This reason was considered as enough to create fear inside individuals as they believed they were not to interfere with God’s will.

Throughout history, there have also been numerous arguments for and against Euthanasia. According to a few physicians and academics who have in the recent past conducted research as regards Euthanasia, argue that euthanasia should be encouraged as in most cases, the patient may desire to die in order to no longer continue suffering the extreme pain they may be undergoing[12].

Others supporting euthanasia tend to suggest that due to the congestion present in hospitals, it would be more convenient and efficient for doctors as well as hospital beds to be used for people whose lives can be saved as compared to those whose lives are being continued while neglecting their request to die[13]. This may seem somehow harsh and inhumane but on the other hand, hospital waiting lists are in the process greatly minimized and quality of care generally improved when this is done.

Additionally, those proposing for euthanasia argue that the pain that a person with a terminal illness experiences cannot be comprehended by one who has not experienced the same[14]. In such cases, euthanasia is recommended as a means of ending the suffering as pain relievers cannot do so. The right to commit suicide is perhaps one of the reasons as to why individuals opt for euthanasia[15].

Here, this right is granted to the person carrying out the act and not the patient him/herself. In the case if a terminally ill individual, they usually have two choices that is either to allow the illness run its course or wait for the inevitable to happen – death[16]. Euthanasia tends to consider what is best for such a patient. If euthanasia would be legalized, it would permit the introduction of an easy and quick means to ending life when all else, that is medical interventions, have failed and is deemed advantageous to the patient[17].

Euthanasia from a disciple of Christ’s in today’s world

Perhaps one of the most common arguments against Euthanasia is the fact that a dying patient is not in a position to make any rational decision and therefore his/her request to end their life should not be considered[18]. Those opposing it also cite that if federal and local governments would consider provision of better facilities meant to care for the dying, euthanasia would no longer be required.

In addition, doctors usually take the Hippocratic Oath where they vow to try preserving human life[19]. By carrying out euthanasia, or through legalization of it, it would mean destruction of trust between patients and doctors following this oath.

Majority of Christians in today’s world are also in opposition of euthanasia arguing that it would be dangerous to legalize it. According to them, human beings have the responsibility of using God’s gifts to the full and not to end it[20]. In other words, Christians are charged with the responsibility of assisting those who are suffering and not ending their lives instead.

Christians perceive suffering as a positive value and carrying out euthanasia would mean that the patient was weak and therefore not able to get in touch with a particular power that draws the individual closer to Jesus Christ, also known as a special grace[21]. According to Christian teachings, suffering can have a place in the plans of God in that through suffering, the individual shares Christ’s agony as well as His redeeming sacrifice[22].

Disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world perceive dying to be a good thing. There are those individuals who believe that God brought death as a means of testing human beings and their reaction to it portrays what sort of an individual one is and how deep their faith and trust in God runs[23]. In today’s world, majority of individuals especially those aged between 15 and 35 years of age tend to commit suicide at very high rates.

This can be attributed to the fact that such individuals are either experiencing some sort of violence in their families or are drug addicts to an extent of becoming hopelessly depressed with nothing else to live for[24]. Christians suggest that since the option of suicide is not illegal and is freely available to anyone who may choose to take their own lives, legalizing euthanasia will not only be immoral but against nature and God’s will for mankind[25].

Conclusion

Euthanasia has since time immemorial been supported and opposed based on religious or moral beliefs where the arguments have been connected to cultural values as well as cultural practices. Whether or not euthanasia can be legalized is usually determined by media reports and public debates in a number of communities.

However, one of the most weighing issues that is currently being debated on by religious as well as political leaders is the community’s obligation to offer a much more easier way of dying as compared to providing means of minimizing suffering and pain among those opting for euthanasia.

Bibliographies

Cavan, Seamus, and Dolan, Shean. Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die. The Rosen Publishing Group. 2000.

Kelly, David F. Medical Care at the End of Life: A Catholic Perspective. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 2007.

Leies, Louise Mitchell., McCarthy, Donald G., and Bayer, Edward J. Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition. New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center. 2004.

Ling, John R. The Edge of Life, Dying, Death and Euthanasia. London: Day One Publications. 2002.

Mattison, William C III. Introduction to Moral Theology. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005.

Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
Leies, J., McCarthy, D., and Bayer, E., Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition (New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center, 2004).
Kelly, David F., Medical Care at the End of Life: A Catholic Perspective (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2007).
Ling, John R., The Edge of Life, Dying, Death and Euthanasia (London: Day One Publications, 2002).
William, C., Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III (Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor, 2005)
Ling, John R., The Edge of Life, Dying, Death and Euthanasia (London: Day One Publications, 2002)
Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
Leies, J., McCarthy, D., and Bayer, E., Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition (New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center, 2004)
Ling, John R., The Edge of Life, Dying, Death and Euthanasia (London: Day One Publications, 2002)
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
Leies, J., McCarthy, D., and Bayer, E., Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition (New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center, 2004)
Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
Kelly, David F., Medical Care at the End of Life: A Catholic Perspective (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2007)
Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
Leies, J., McCarthy, D., and Bayer, E., Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition (New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center, 2004)
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
Leies, J., McCarthy, D., and Bayer, E., Hand book on Critical Life Issues. 3rd edition (New York: National Catholic Bioethic Center, 2004).
William, C. Introduction to Moral Theology. Mattison III. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. 2005
Kelly, David F., Medical Care at the End of Life: A Catholic Perspective (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2007)
Cavan, S., and Dolan, S., Euthanasia: The Debate over the Right to Die (The Rosen Publishing Group, 2000)
Ling, John R., The Edge of Life, Dying, Death and Euthanasia (London: Day One Publications, 2002)

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