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Euthanasia and religion

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Introduction

EUTHANASIA AND RELIGION By Mel Allgood Euthanasia is the inducement of a gentle and easy death. It is considered to be a form of suicide. Yet the procedure requires the assistance of a third party, due to the potential incapacity of the individual requesting this procedure be carried out. The case could then be turned into one of homicide. As a result of this, it is incredibly difficult to find an individual who is willing to aid in the conduct of euthanasia, as they could face prosecution in a criminal court on the charge of murder. Patients who request euthanasia are often motivated by terminal illness. They appreciate that further medical treatments are unable to cure, or deacelerate, the illness. They also wish to preserve their dignity and conclude their painful suffering. Another example where a patient may want to opt for euthanasia, is when health authorities suggest they go into a hospice especially designed to cope with their illness. ...read more.

Middle

Dr Pellegrino replied, "that he was a lifelong pacifist". There appears to be a conflict between one of his church's fundamental beliefs and his own personal belief. Opposition to euthanasia also comes from Muslim teachings; 'When their time comes they cannot delay it for a single hour, nor can they bring it forward by a single hour' (Qur'an 16.61), translated as, only Allah can choose the length of life a person has. The Jewish faith also holds very similar views. They preach of an injured King Saul, ordering a young soldier to kill him after a battle, to avoid him being captured alive. King David later had the soldier executed for murder, stating that superior orders were valueless compared to those of an individuals' conscience. Three religions come close to the acceptance of euthanasia. The first is Hinduism, which concentrates on the consequences of actions. Their doctrines outline that euthanasia cannot be allowed, as it breaches the teaching of ahimsa (doing harm). ...read more.

Conclusion

Christians also argue that man is not an animal, because he has an immortal soul, but if the human race is significantly different from animals, surely this treatment should better, if not the same. Currently there are strong movements in North America, Western Europe and countries of the British Commonwealth, to legalize the careful practise of euthanasia, if a dog's suffering can be legally terminated, why not a man's? These beliefs are mainly Christian and Jewish, but today's Britain is primarily a secular society, with ever decreasing numbers of worshippers' actually making efforts to attend church services. It seems that today's churchgoers would rather take a 'pick and choose' attitude about their faith and what element of it they follow. Arguments against euthanasia from ancient texts, such as the Bible and Koran, who believe that mercy killing should be legalised are not convincing for the 29% of non believers in the United Kingdom. ...read more.

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