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What are the religious and ethical considerations to the issue of euthanasia?

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Introduction

Euthanasia essay Carly smart What are the religious and ethical considerations to the issue of euthanasia? The word euthanasia originated from the Greek language; eu means "good" and thantos means "death". One meaning given to the word is "the intentional termination of life by another at the explicit request of the person who dies". The term euthanasia normally implies that the act must be initiated by the person who wishes to commit suicide. There are many different types of euthanasia these are: passive euthanasia which is the hastening of a persons death by altering some form of support and letting nature take its course e.g. removing life support equipment. Another form of euthanasia is active euthanasia; this involves causing the death of a person through a direct action, in response to a request from that person. A well known example was the mercy killing in 1998 of a patient with ALS by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan physician. There is also physician assisted suicide, this is where a physician supplies information / or the means of committing suicide e.g. a prescription for a lethal dose of sleeping pills, or a supply of carbon monoxide gas. Involuntary euthanasia which seems to cause the most outrage is where the killing of a person takes place in which the person has not explicitly requested aid in dying. This is most often done to patients who are in a persistent vegetative state and will probably never recover. Euthanasia raises both moral and religious issues. These issues can affect both the suffering individual and the person who carries out the termination. An Issue which kuhse brought up which relates to both passive and active euthanasia is what is the distinction between killing and letting die? Some may see the distinction being the person who kills causes death whereas the person does nothing is simply letting nature run its course. ...read more.

Middle

Christians believe that in certain cases the double effect argument can be justifiable.For example if the death is caused by drugs which were intended to relieve pain then this is not seen as deliberate killing because as the docturine of faith (1980) expresses "death is in no way intended or sought , even if the risk of it is reasonably taken" Many ethical views are held among the church and outside of it. Such views as Kant's deontological view are very similar to the church. When referring to the subject of suicide Kant quotes "I cannot, therefore, dispose in any way of a man in my own person so as to mutilate him, damage him or kill him" Kant believes that using death as a means of escape of suffering is always morally wrong. Ethicists that agree with the churches views on the sanctity of life and other Christian arguments are Germain Grisez and Joseph M Boyle Jr. They challenge the basic assumptions of pro euthanasia such as the assumption that there is a distinction between bodily life and personal life. In other words they reject the view that one can cease to be a person and yet still be bodily alive. They reject the view that it is the distinctively human component which is not yet present in the unborn or newly born and which is lost irreversibly comatose. The absence of their personal component is what makes one a candidate for euthanasia. The human being is one and bodily life is good in itself. They also reject the consequentialist position that consequences determine the rightness or wrongness of human actions. Anscombre expressed the christian belief well and stated " the distinction between the intended , and the merely foreseen , effects of a volunatry action is indeed absolutely essential to christian ethics." . Daniel c maguire agree's with the Griez and Boyle as far as life should be considered sacred yet Maquire has a proportionists position Maguire believes that life is a basic but not an absolute good. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another problem that may arise if euthanasia were to be legalised is mistakes. Can we be sure that mistakes wil not occur ? Suppose someone chooses death because they have been diagnosed with a fatal incurable and painful illness. Then after the person has been euthanased , it becomes apparnt that the diagnosis was incorrect (hooker 1997) Even if we could ensure that mistakes would not take place the worry of how it will affect moral issues such as religion in the medical system. For example is a catholic doctor were to practise euthanasia they would be completley going against all there own beliefs this may lead to refusal's from doctors to partake. Worries such as how would the doctors come to the conclusion that someone should be euthanased? How many doctors would it take to determine the QOL of the person.Singer beleieves there should be two independent witnesses at the even , but two people can still make mistakes. People have different views on what happens after life ends. Some like Dr Kervorkians Mercitron believe that merely just rot. Athesists will have very different attitudes towards euthanasia compared with a catholic. A Catholic believes that when they die its is their time to go and that God is calling them to be with him in heaven.And although euthanasia offers a way out that is your own descions and pain free others such as catholics and other faiths may find it dignified to have an undecided death and will take any pain that comes with it . The isssue of euthanasia will always cause moral and religious arguments both for and against it is a persons own desion to believe in what they feel is right and the best way to handle a situation. We must all respect the fact that people have difference of opinions and choices and we should do whatever we can to help situations and offer hope and reasurrance in are own way. ...read more.

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