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Euthanasia - What is it? Christian attitudes, and can it be justified.

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Introduction

Helen Morgan 5/10/2007 Euthanasia (a) (i) What is Euthanasia? The word euthanasia comes from the Greek word eu (good) and thantos (death). The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary says 'the act of practice of ending the life of a person who is suffering from an incurable and often painful or distressing illness'. It is often called mercy killing. There are different types of euthanasia. Active euthanasia is when there is active intervention by a doctor to end life. Passive euthanasia is deliberately withholding or withdrawing medical treatment (which would help the patient to live longer) in the intention of ending their life. Voluntary euthanasia is performed following the request of the patient who wants to die. Physician-assisted suicide is similar to voluntary euthanasia but the doctor only prescribes the lethal drug, but does not give it to them. Involuntary euthanasia is when a patient is killed against their wishes; this is murder. Non-voluntary euthanasia is ending a patient's life when the patient is not capable of giving their own permission; it is done in the patient's 'best interests'. (ii) Explain what Christian teachings might be used in a discussion about euthanasia. [40] Christians often refer to the Bible to learn how to live their lives; although, it does not give an exact reference to euthanasia so there is still mixed opinions amongst different Christians. In Genesis 1:27 'God created human beings, making them to be like himself.' This saying how humans are sacred and have dignity just like God has. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing...Nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action'. This is saying that Roman Catholics are not allowed to be involved in any form of euthanasia, including asking for it for themselves. Many other Christians also agree with the fact that euthanasia is murder, referring to how the Bible is opposed to killing humans, for example Greek and Russian Orthodox churches, Jehovah's Witness's, Mormons, and the Lutheran all agree with this. Methodists disagree about Euthanasia. The late Rev. Lord Soper who was a Methodist minister says 'the purpose of life is to love God and to enjoy Him forever. I believe that voluntary euthanasia can be a means to that end'. In comparison the late Rev. Dr Leslie Weatherhead, a Methodist says 'I sincerely believe that those who come after us will wonder why on earth we kept a human being a live against his will, when all the dignity, beauty and meaning of life had vanished; when any gain to anyone was clearly impossible, and when we should have been punished by the state if were had kept alive an animal in similar conditions.' EXIT is a society that aims to make a change in the law allowing voluntary euthanasia for adults suffering from severe, painful deaths if they so wish, and for doctors to help. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes how everyone has a purpose to fulfil, everyone has their own individual gifts 'he gives a different gift to each person.' ...read more.

Conclusion

There is better medical equipment available than in the past and therefore it is the opinion of some Christians that death can be avoided and should be at all costs because pain can be relieved. This is demonstrated by the belief of Roman Catholics, who agree that patients may take painkilling drugs even though they will kill the patient eventually. There is also the Hospice Movement which allows people to enjoy the end of their lives so there is no need for euthanasia to be an issue. However, hospices are usually privately funded and get very little money from the government and they are only recently being set up and available for a wide range of people. The problem that I find is that due to recent medical improvements and intervention, people who have terminal illnesses have been kept alive longer than they would have done when the Bible was written and therefore euthanasia has only recently come to be a bigger issue and because of this there is no exact reference to the specific topic that Christians can use for guidance. Overall, I feel that it is inhumane to keep people who really are dying and want to die in a non-painful way. Although the Bible does refer to people staying alive it also talks about how Christians should give kindness to others. I feel that when someone is going to die painfully it is what God would want for them to die peacefully when they are ready. Euthanasia can be justified for people that have a terminal illness and are being kept alive by medicine which is causing a long, slow and painful death. ...read more.

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