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Abortion and Euthanasia

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RELIGIOUS STUDIES COURSEWORK - ABORTION AND EUTHANASIA A - Explain the beliefs that Christians have about their responsibility for people at the beginning or end of their lives. Christians believe that all life is sacred, meaning that it is a gift from God - it is holy, precious and should not be taken for granted. Christians believe that God made Man in His own image, so therefore our life represents God's life, which is another way in which it is sacred. As life is sacred, then Christians believe that it should be preserved, which gives Christians responsibility to care for those unable to look after their own lives, such as those at the beginning or the end of their lives. There are several Bible passages which show that life is sacred to God, so should be sacred to us. St. Paul writes it perfectly in his first letter to the Corinthians, in which he asks, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." (1 Corinthians 316-17). He later repeats himself in the same letter, saying, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body." (619-20). As St. Paul states, our bodies are a temple to God, so we should treat them in that way. The fact that he repeats this point in the space of three chapters reinforces his point. He also says that Christians should treat their bodies as sacred as they were received from God, so it is a way of worshiping and giving thanks to God to keep your body sacred. ...read more.


If a Christian believes that this is also, along with the Bible, the Word of God, then this is definitive evidence to show that abortion is against God's Will, so should not take place. Aside from the Bible, there is some Christian teaching to support this view. The Roman Catholic Church, which is against abortion in all circumstances, has published two papal encyclicals on the subject of abortion: Casti Conubii (1930s) and Humane Vitae (1970s), which both state that all life is sacred and should be preserved at all costs. These Christians also refer to the example of a young woman in Glasgow who was raped. Her Church convinced her not to have an abortion and then they gave her social and financial support so that she could still give birth to the child, without any of the problems usually associated with an unwanted pregnancy. This shows that it is possible, in severe situations, to avoid an abortion, proving that abortion is not necessary. There are other Christians who are more tolerant towards abortion than this. They still believe it to be morally wrong, but believe that it can sometimes be seen as the lesser of two evils. For example, if a woman has been told that there is a very large risk to her life, should she give birth, some Christians argue that it would be better to save the life of the mother by sacrificing the unborn foetus. Another example would be if there was a great chance that the child would be born with a major physical or mental handicap, in which case some Christians would make the case that the child's quality of life would be so minimal that it would not be worth it. The counter-argument to this is that any life is better than no life, in some Christians' opinions. The Christians of this view will use the Bible passages used above to show that abortion is wrong, but will say that it can be the best option in some cases, but certainly only as a last resort. ...read more.


As well as the Christian view, there is also the general view that nobody has the right to force people to believe something. We are entitled to freedom of political and religious beliefs, providing that they are not offensive. All people's opinions are valid and Christians cannot make others accept their position just because they are Christians. Whilst we should be entitled to say what we want, this does not mean that we can impose our views on others. It is certainly true that Christians should be guided and influenced in part themselves by the Bible, the example of other Christians and the Church's teaching. However, as a Christian, this is not all that is necessary. One also needs to gain understanding on a personal level, through prayer, for example, an individual connection with God. With this, influencing others becomes uncalled for, as Christians can be trusted to come to moral decisions by themselves. Christians also believe that they should show respect to all people. This includes respecting the decisions of non-Christians. Some Christians interpret this to mean that trying to make all people accept your views is disrespectful, so is not morally justified. To summarise these views, some Christians believe that you should not try to influence others because God created humans with Free Will: all people can come to their own decisions about life. In conclusion, I disagree with the statement that Christians should not try to make others accept their position, but only up to a point. I believe that Christians should stand up for what they believe in and spread God's message, but to do this, they must understand that they cannot and should not force somebody to agree with them, as this goes against the ideas of Free Will. A Christian should express to others their views on life, but should allow them to make their own personal decision, should it agree or not with the Christian view. Alex Lodge ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 11 ...read more.

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