Morally, who has the right to give or to take life?

Last week’s article ended by saying that the nature and worth of man is foundational to how we view life, death, and euthanasia

FAITH & REFLECTION

Last week’s article ended by saying that the nature and worth of man is foundational to how we view life, death, and euthanasia…let’s pick up from there.

Euthanasia is the termination of someone’s life in order to relieve their suffering and I disagree with it. My opinion is based on ethical, practical, moral and biblical grounds.

Ethically, euthanasia suggests that some lives are worth less than others. Further, the acceptance of euthanasia reflects the emerging nature of our society; namely the escalation of human rights and the depreciation of the sanctity of life. Moreover, the demanding of one’s rights is typically at the expense of another’s. For example, “Grandma…I don’t want you to die that way!”

Practically, euthanasia will be difficult to regulate. Belgium, for instance, recently removed age restrictions from their euthanasia laws (slippery slope syndrome).

Palliative treatment will be affected, as will be the morale and conscience of the medical workers (and related disciplines) who are in disagreement with euthanasia.

And what individuals, panel or select group, medical or otherwise, will hold the power to decide whose appeal is accepted or denied?

Morally, who has the right to give or to take life? Governmental approval of euthanasia would suggest that it is no longer murder. However, clever terminology and literary gymnastics do not change truth. Additionally, suffering serves a purpose. This may sound trite, but many attest that their most valuable life lessons were learned in valleys, not on mountaintops.

Finally, while the Bible does not specifically mention euthanasia, it does speak to closely related issues. The sixth commandment says, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). God gave life (Job 33:4) and He holds life (Job 22:10). Dying, biblically speaking, affords me one final worldly opportunity to trust my God.

I recognize the solicitous and compassionate arguments for euthanasia. Any endeavor to limit human suffering is notable. There is also the matter of rights, free will and choice. And quality of life; I admit (at least at this stage of my life) that I’ve no desire to linger on in a dramatically reduced capacity. Also, the implementation of euthanasia would result in significant economic advantages.

Even the word “euthanasia”, from two Greek words means “good death”…but I still don’t think it’s good!

Death is universal; the attrition rate is one for one… for every birth there will ultimately be one death. And death is not very dignified, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be dignified about our approach to it. Life isn’t about how long we live; it’s about how well we live. But, it is not up to us to say when it ends.

“You are my God. My times are in your hands…” (Psalm 31:14,15).