Abortion and Euthanasia
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Daniel McCormick S2B Religion 5th Year Coursework Abortion and Euthanasia Explain the beliefs that Christians hold about their responsibilities to those at the beginning and end of their lives. Explain the beliefs that Christians hold about their responsibilities to those at the beginning and end of their lives. The general belief about life and its beginning is that life is a gift from God which only God can take away. As Ecclesiastes 3:2 says "He sets the time for birth and the time for death". Also preservation and protection of life are central to the teachings of Christianity. It is also the belief of many people that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God. Gen 1:26-27 says "God created man in his own image, male and female he created them". All Christians believe that it is special to God and each person is sacred and holy. Each individual is unique. There is a diversity of views among Christians about when life actually begins. On the one hand The Roman Catholic position is 'Pro-Life' and 'Anti-Abortion'. This means that life begins at conception. Psalm 139 supports this, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made. Your eyes saw my unformed body" this implies that a foetus is recognised by God, and should be recognised by Christians as a person.
Marvin Kohl in his book "The Morality of Killing" says that man is never morally justified in taking an innocent life. We are encouraged to campaign against abortion by supporting groups such as 'The society for protection of the unborn child' and 'Life'. These groups work very hard in our community by offering help, counselling, support and advice to women who are considering abortion and have no one to turn to. "The essential sinfulness of abortion consists in the homicidal intent to kill an innocent human life" (CCC). As Catholics, we believe that God sets the time for birth and the time for death, and as we respect human life we have no right under any circumstances to take a life, death should only occur by natural causes. It is possible that a person with a terminal illness may recover fully. Not all Christians feel as strongly as Roman Catholics on this subject. Some condemn it in theory but in practice allow limited abortion and euthanasia. They believe that if a foetus is severely malformed such as in a case of severe Down's syndrome that abortion should be allowed. Others say that it is best, even in such cases to join support organisations like Mencap or Gateway, where these children and their parents get great help. Others may, for example, in the case of a pregnancy resulting from a rape, where the baby was neither planned nor wanted by the mother, agree with an abortion being carried out.
They believe very strongly in their views and their faith and therefore they feel obliged to advise others of what they believe is the truth. The Catechism 2033 tell us that its' leaders are the "authentic teachers" of the faith and they must pass this on to all people. As Christians we believe that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must acknowledge our sins and we must encourage others to do the same. By insisting that they follow our beliefs, we believe we are saving their souls as well as our own. It is my opinion that we should not force other people to accept our views but it is our duty as Christians to encourage non-believers to follow the way of Christ. The word of God can be spread by the example of our lives, such as helping others who are more needy than ourselves, offering support to those who require it, attending church and worshipping God. We can try to lead them in the right direction but if they do not want to accept our ways then we should not force it. Sometimes people of other religions may lead far better lives and perhaps be able to give better example than ourselves so we should respect their views as well. No one likes to be dictated to, persuasion is sometimes the best. In baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit in the same way the disciples received the Tongues of Fire, this gives us the authority to spread the word of God to the whole world. (Acts 2: 3-5).
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