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An Analysis of the Moral and Religious Issues Raised by Euthanasia

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Introduction

An Analysis of the Moral and Religious Issues Raised by Euthanasia The term Euthanasia comes from two Greek words - eu meaning 'well' and thanatos meaning 'death' and means 'painless, happy death'. Some definitions broaden this to mean the practice of mercifully ending a person's life in order to release the person from an incurable disease, intolerable suffering, or undignified death. Euthanasia has been accepted in some forms by various groups or societies throughout history. In ancient Greece and Rome helping others die or putting them to death was considered permissible in some situations. For example, in the Greek city of Sparta newborns with severe birth defects were put to death. Voluntary euthanasia for the elderly was an approved custom in several ancient societies. However, as Christianity developed and grew powerful in the West, euthanasia became morally and ethically abhorrent and was viewed as a violation of God's gift of life. When medical advances made prolonging the lives of dying or comatose patients possible, the term euthanasia was also applied to a lack of action to prevent death. In other words, euthanasia involves the purposeful termination of life by direct action, such as lethal injection, or by an omission, such as starvation or dehydration. ...read more.

Middle

a person -unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people" (Quran 5:32). The Quran also says: "Take not life which Allah made sacred otherwise than in the course of justice" (Quran 6:151 and 17:33). Clearly Muslims do not practice euthanasia because it goes against their moral laws, Jewish ethics value healing and the preservation of life as important goods and as activities mandated by God. The Talmud makes it clear that he who shoots a man as he falls off a cliff to certain death is guilty of murder, even though he shortened his victims life by just a few seconds. Nothing should be done to shorten a person's life neither should anything be done to prolong agony. Jewish law forbids euthanasia in all forms, and it is considered an act of homicide, but if something will ease someone's last hours even though it accelerate his or her death, that may be acceptable. The life of a person is not "his" - rather, it belongs to the One Who granted that life. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also the political question that there are people in our society who agree with euthanasia. Should those with strong religious beliefs try to legally prevent others from living according to their consciences or should they allow others their freedom of conscience and acknowledge the 'right of the individual'? In recent years modern medical advances have brought about a blurring of the previously black and white arguments and have produced a new grey area where the additional ethical questions of 'the quality of life rather than the 'value of life' seem to take precedent. Medical progress may help to relieve suffering but it also raises moral issues for those with strong religious beliefs and ethical problems for those in the medical profession - those who, at the start of their careers, took the Hippocratic oath to "do everything possible to preserve and restore life and not to take it". As scientific knowledge becomes more and more advanced, euthanasia continues to cause many religious arguments, but it is discussed more openly between religious and non-religious groups. Modern scientific methods challenge the views of many religious people. In today's society human beings seem to have greater power over life and death than ever before, and the question remains, 'is it right' for humans to make such decisions? ?? ?? ?? ?? 1. ...read more.

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