'Acceptance of the practice of voluntary Euthanasia is incompatible with the Christian belief in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of some ethical philosophers or some doctors'. Discuss.

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‘Acceptance of the practice of voluntary Euthanasia is incompatible with the Christian belief in the sanctity of life but not with the attitudes of some ethical philosophers or some doctors’. Discuss.

Euthanasia comes from two Greek words- Eu meaning ‘well’ and thanatos- meaning ‘death’. It means a ‘painless, happy death.’ This meaning can be broadened to mean ‘termination of human life by painless means for the purpose of ending severed physical suffering’ and others choose to call Euthanasia ‘Mercy Killing’

Euthanasia can be classified into a number of categories.

Voluntary euthanasia is the request and consent of the dying person and is usually made on the grounds that death is preferable to the suffering faced by the person. It is based on expected results, relief from anticipated pain. It may relate to the physical or emotional pain that the patient experiences or the suffering of those around the patient.

There are many campaigning groups that want Voluntary euthanasia to be legalised in the United Kingdom. One of these groups is Exit, which is the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. They stated ‘an adult person suffering from a severe illness, for which no relief is known should be entitled by law to the mercy of a painless death, if and only if that is their own request.’

  The right to life generates certain duties in others. Two of these being the duty of service and the duty of non-interference. The duty of service allows people to claim certain duties. These may be claimed of those who are in the business of seeing life is sustained, such as doctors and nurses. The duty of non-interference requires that nobody should interfere in another’s life in a way that may threaten it. Both duties presuppose that being alive is valuable in itself and is worth preserving; to save someone’s life or at least not shorten it in anyway is to benefit that person.

The duties of service and non-interference may be challenged by the quality of life in question and people’s attitude towards it. Cases whereby the duty of non-interference be withheld in the interest of certain individuals, but then life’s are terminated by the people who have a duty of service towards them. These cases introduce the problem of Euthanasia.

The Euthanasia programme of Hitler is regarded when on such topics. In 1939 he gassed 275,000 people, mainly physical, mentally sick or elderly people. They were killed because they were no longer able to work. They were not killed for reasons to relieve their suffering. Sinister possibilities such as these continue to haunt discussions of Euthanasia. Many in society believe that once this form of killing is legalised it will lead to others such as the politically deviant to misuse euthanasia. Members of the family may misuse the principle or those who stand to gain by the death of someone old or sick.

The problems for the medical profession are more immediate. Certain doctors will have nothing to do with Euthanasia saying their jobs are to save lives and not to kill. Meanwhile others argue that since medical science can prolong life almost indefinitely, what must now be protected is the persons right to die. They state that to subject a patient to an unnaturally, slow and often painful deterioration of health is not just uncivilized and lacking in compassion towards the patient and their family, but an ‘infringement of individual liberty’.

The sanctity of life view is held by many people and means that life is not to be treated badly or discarded thoughtlessly. Most Christians believe human life is to be respected above all other forms of life. They believe that we have a soul, which is a part of us that lives on after death and that we have been given an opportunity to have a relationship with God. It is believed in the sanctity of life argument that humans have been created in ‘God’s image’. This means humans have certain qualities and characteristics that God had, for example, they have the ability to reason things and they were created good. Christians also believe that God values human life greatly as Jesus came to die to heal the broken relationship between god and humans. Therefore belief in the importance of preserving life is a key issue in the sanctity of life argument.

The word sanctity means purity or holiness. When it is used to describe life it expresses the idea of the most precious thing. In support of the sanctity of life, the first chapter of genesis stated god created life and all human beings were made in his ‘image’. The 6th commandment also stated ‘You shall not kill’ (Exodus 20:30); therefore the taking of another person’s life is a sin against God.

Consequently Euthanasia under the sanctity of life argument would be forbidden as life should be protected at all costs and it is believed to end someone’s life would be a sin against God. It would be against God’s will to end somebody’s life because life is sacred and it is God as the omnipotent being that should have control over human life. It should be up to him to decide who lives or dies. Life is so precious, all measures should be taken to save it and by Euthanasia, you are killing someone, as a human you are taking responsibility to end a life and this responsibility should be that of God’s. The body is a temple (sacred place) dedicated to God for him to use; ‘Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple then God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple’ (Corinthians 3v 16,17). God should decide what happens at the beginning and end of the story of life.

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However there are problems in following the sanctity of life view. It has been suggested that to respect the sanctity of life means that all treatments must be provided for all people, however sick they are. It has been suggested that the aim is to make life last as long as possible. This is not so. Treatments, which are burdensome or likely to be ineffectual or of no benefit should not be provided and cannot be justified under arguments about the sanctity of life.

The church of England would go by the Bible’s view for Euthanasia whereas the Roman Catholics ...

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