Cultural Views On Euthanasia Essay

1. Introduction

Questions about life and death will always be among the major issues people have to answer both collectively and individually – by every member of society. The ageing population, the increase in deaths from cancer and the expected deaths from AIDS, the development and expansion of life-prolonging technologies, the possible generational and cultural changes in the attitudes of patients, and care of the dying are fast creating grave moral dilemmas for society.

These matters have created a serious need to re-examine the ethical and legal status of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide [1, 2] in South Africa. Such a re-assessment essentially also needs to address ethnic diversity [3, 4], because different belief systems and norms of behaviour [5] will affect people’s views of euthanasia. Although their culture presents people with norms and guidelines according to which their lives may find meaning [6], attitudes towards euthanasia are more complicated than simply voicing an opinion for or against it. This complex situation is the result of various factors which have a great influence on most people’s view of euthanasia. These factors include their cultural and religious values and customs, political orientation, economic situation, the latest developments in medicine and legal issues [4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12].

Attitudes toward life and death are socio-culturally based and culturally specific. [3, 4] According to Comaz-Diaz and Griffith [13], a person’s ethno-cultural identity, that is, the collective values and norms of a specific ethnic group within a specific culture, gives a member of the groupa unique view of life and death. It is therefore important to include ethnicity in a study that assesses attitudes towards euthanasia.

1.1. Ethnicity and Euthanasia

Various authors [8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19] find that people from an African background are more opposed to euthanasia than those from a European background. MacDonald [15] suggests that a possible explanation for this lies in the fact that members of the African ethnic groups are less likely to relinquish their control of their lives and hand it over to others. Other explanations are that Africans are not self destructive because they direct their aggression outwards rather than inwards and that they expect life to be harsh [9, 19, 20]. Early and Akers [14] are of the opinion that major social factors, particularly religion and family, provide a buffer of social forces which prevent self-destruction in any form.

Within the South African context, African communities have an effective social support system and are stereotyped as ‘looking after their own’. [20] For Africans, death and dying form an integral part of their everyday existence. [21, 22] According to the African belief system, the soul of the departed person passes to the world of the ancestral spirits where it continues to live. [21, 23, 24] However, the soul ofa person who has committed suicide is doomed and becomes an evil spirit. [25] It was found [25] that only 14,3% of the African respondents – compared to 10% according to Mayekiso [26] –find it acceptable for somebody to end his or her own life in the event of unbearable illness. The remaining 85.7% [25] or 90% [26] find it totally unacceptable because of the view that all problems can be solved and one does not collapse in despair in the face of difficulty.

Coloured people, on the other hand, are not part of a tribal system and speak no unique language. [27] Even though they have acquired most of the prominent norms and values of the European community [20, 28], the Coloured community are still characterised by a great amount of inter-group coherence and a strong religious belief system. [20] There is, however, no literature regarding the attitudes of members of the Coloured community concerning euthanasia.

1.2. Profile

South African society is characterised by a complex array of economic, cultural, class and ideological factors, many of which are in sharp contrast with one other and conflict with one another. [29] One dimension of this complexity flows from the contrast between the First World and Third World orders in South African society [21, 30].

Until recently, under the apartheid system, the South African population was loosely defined in terms of three racial groups, namely African, Coloured and European. According to Rabe [20], these racial groups did not necessarily represent meaningful cultural groups, especially since the classification of Africans included a wide range of different ethnic groups, such as the Nguni, Sotho, Venda and Ndebele. Groenewald [28] furthermore explains that, according to Proclamation 123 of 1967, the Coloured ethnic group included any person who wasa descendant of a Cape Coloured, a Malaysian, Griqua, Chinese, Indian, or other Asian immigrants or slaves. The entire social, political and legal structures of South Africa were designed around these racial categories [20].

For the purpose of this article, the term Africans will refer to members of the Xhosa group and Coloureds to all people classified as Coloured in terms of the Population Registration Act (Act 30 of 1950). According to this act, a Coloured is any person who is from neither European nor from African descent, or any person with mixed bloodlines [28].

The estimated population of the Western Cape forms 11.25% of the total South African population and is proportionally represented by 26.7% Africans (mostly Xhosa), 53.9% Coloureds, 1% Indian/Asian and 18.4% Europeans. [31, 32] In terms of life expectancy, the Western Cape has the highest average life expectancy (59.9 years for males and 65.8 years for females) [33].

2. Sample and Methodology

Through simple random sampling, an equal number of respondents, 40 from the African (predominantly Xhosa), 40 from the Coloured and 40 from the European communities were identified – 120 in total. All the respondents were older than 65 years of age and resided in the Greater Cape Town area. The reason for choosing the target population was to investigate Cicerelli’s [9] argument who points out that it is significant that a large proportion of older people strive to live as long as possible, no matter how onerous life becomes, and therefore would oppose euthanasia. This argument is supported by Twycross [41] who showed that older people tend to disapprove of euthanasia because of the fear that their lives may be ended against their will when they are no longer in complete control of their circumstances.

A qualitative field study was conducted through interviews, and participation in this study was voluntary. In addition, each respondent’s anonymity was assured and the interviews with the participants were conducted in private. No names or any other personal information was recorded. Once a participant showed any distress or discomfort with any of the questions, the researcher suspended the interview and re-assured the participant. The researcher read each question and statement, explained any uncertainties and recorded the responses in written format.

A basic demographic questionnaire and the full version of the Euthanasia Attitude Scale of Holloway et al. [34] were used. The Euthanasia Attitude Scale was developed to assess a person’s general attitude towards end-of-life decisions. This scale further investigates issues concerning patients’ rights, the role of life-sustaining technology, the physician’s role, and values and ethics. The questionnaire consists of thirty-five questions to be answered on a seven-point Likertscale, of which half were written from a positive perspective, i.e. they were affirmative (pro-euthanasia) and half from a negative perspective (anti-euthanasia). The questions furthermore deal with a variety of issues concerning both active and passive euthanasia, such as the status of brain dead people, life-extending technology, ethics and legal issues. [34] Higher scores indicate more positive, accepting attitudes towards euthanasia. The questionnaire has excellent psychometric properties, such as stability, internal consistency, discriminant validity, and test-retest reliability. Although the test was standardised for the American population, the reliability score for this specific study using the Euthanasia Attitude Scale had an Alpha of 0.55.

2.1. Statistical Techniques Used

An analysis on the raw scores of the collected data was done by the computer software programme Statistical Package for Social Sciences[35].

3. Results

Table 1 indicates the mean and standard deviation of the demographic variable, ethnicity, towards euthanasia, while Table 2 shows the results of an ANOVA analysis of the total Euthanasia Attitude Scale and Ethnicity.

There is not much difference between the scores of each group within the ethnicity demographic variable. Table 2 also indicates that there are no statistical differences between any ethnic group and the person’ sattitude towards euthanasia. The application of the one-way A nova presupposes variance equality (homogeneity) and the high p-value (0.311) therefore strongly indicates that the null hypothesis that older adults do in fact favour euthanasia should be accepted.

The mean and standard deviation of the scores for the subjects of this study relating to euthanasia, as well as each individual scale are presented in Table 3.

Table 3 indicates the average score of the total population on the Euthanasia Attitude Scale, as well as of each individual scale. This, in itself, proves helpful if it is taken into account when looking at Table 3. Table 4 compares the means and standard deviations of those favouring euthanasia and those opposing it.

Table 4 indicates that people who favour euthanasia have higher scores on the scale than those who oppose it. Consequently, people opposing euthanasia also had lower means on each of the five sub-scales. The differences between the two groups on the Euthanasia Attitude Scale and the sub-scales were significant (p< 0.01).

4. Discussion

While various authors [3, 4, 13] argue that attitudes toward life and death are socio-culturally based, culturally specific, and influenced by a person’s ethno-cultural identity, this study found no statistically significant differences between the opinions of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Since only 33% of the population included men and 67% female the gender differences of their attitude was not included in the study.

The social reality in South Africa is such that few Africans are untouched by the pressures and demands caused by a shift away from traditional beliefs, values, social structures, customs and the influences of acculturation. [36] Urbanisation and industrialisation have had a profound impact on family life amongst the different ethnic groups. Among European groups, it has led to the break-up of the traditional, extended family network and the emergence of the nuclear family system. [29, 37] For the Coloured population, urbanisation has resulted in less stable family life. To some extent, this is also true of the African population [29].

According to Rautenbach [37], an important characteristic of urbanisation is that the members of families have become more isolated within their own nuclear families, and that this affects their interaction with the broader ethnic-social group. In addition, the extended family and broader ethnic group usually prescribe the norms and values. [37] However, urbanisation restricts the influence of the extended family, with the result that members of the specific ethnic group receive less guidance on how to approach certain situations. Thus they are alienated from their extended family’s morals and values. [37] Rautenbach [37] illustrates this point by focussing on the change in urbanised Africans’ social, religious and legal structures, which area direct product of the acculturation process. She explains that indigenous laws no longer apply, the hierarchy of authority is becoming less effective, parenting approaches are changing from authoritarian to become more permissive, the extended family structure is being replaced by the nucleus family – which is a result of a change in economic status - and the influence and importance of ancestral spirits are declining. According to Frankl [38, 39] and Havenga [40], the result of these fading forces of religion, traditional morality and values is that people fall prey to conformity and this leads to the disappearance of definite differences between different ethnic groups. Furthermore, the transformation process in South Africa has lead to the amalgamation of cultures, resulting in the loss of cultural identity and uniqueness.


[1]  Chochinov, H.M., & Wilson, K.G. “The euthanasia debate: Attitudes, practices and psychiatric considerations.”Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 40(10):593-602. 1995.
In article      PubMed 
[2]  Latimer, E.J., & McGregor, J. “Euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide and the ethical care of dying patients.”Canadian Medical Association Journal, 151(8):1133-1136.1994.
In article      
[3]  Hessing, D.J., Blad, J.R., &Pieterman, R. “Practical reasons and reasonable practice: The case of euthanasia in The Netherlands.”Journal of Social Issues, 52(2):149-168.1996.
In article      
[4]  Lee, Y-T., Kleinbach, R., Hu, P-C., Peng, Z-Z., & Chen, X-Y. “Cross-cultural research on euthanasia and abortion.”Journal of Social Issues, 52(2):131-148. 1996.
In article      CrossRef PubMed 
[5]  Nxumalo, B. “Let’s look at culture.”SALUT, 5(8):66-68.1998.
In article      
[6]  Baumeister, R.F. Meanings of life.Guilford Press: New York. 1991.
In article      
[7]  Bachman, J.G., Alcser, K.H., Doukas, D.J., Lichtenstein, R.L., Corning, A.D., & Brody, H.“Attitudes of Michigan physicians and the public toward legalizing physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.”New England Journal of Medicine, 334: 303-309.1996.
In article      
[8]  Blendon, R.J., Szalay, V.S., & Knox, R.A.“Should physicians aid their patients in dying?”Journal of the American Medical Association, 267(19):2658-2662.1992.
In article      
[9]  Cicerelli, V.G. “Relationship of psychosocial and the background variables to older adults’ end-of-life decisions.”Psychology and Aging, 12(1):72-83.1997.
In article      
[10]  Darley, J.M., Loeb, I., & Hunter, J.“Community attitudes on the family of issues surrounding the death of terminal patients.”Journal of Social Issues, 52(2):85-104.1996.
In article      
[11]  Ho, R., & Penney, R.K.“Euthanasia and abortion: Personality correlates for the decision to terminate life.”Journal of Social Psychology, 132:77-86.1992.
In article      
[12]  Scott, H.“Assisted suicide and the South African Constitutional order.”Responsa Meridiana:1-17.1998.
In article      
[13]  Comaz-Diaz, L., & Griffith, E.E.H. Clinical guidelines in cross-cultural mental health. Wiley, Toronto. 1988.
In article      
[14]  Early, K., & Akers, R. “It’s a white thing”. An exploration of beliefs about suicide in the African-American community. Deviant Behavior, 14:277-296. 1993.
In article      CrossRef 
[15]  MacDonald, W.L.“The difference between Blacks’ and Whites’ attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia.”Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37(3):411-426.1998.
In article      
[16]  Monte, P.“Attitudes towards the voluntary taking of life: An updated analysis of euthanasia correlates.”Sociological Spectrum, 11:265-277.1991.
In article      
[17]  Singh, K.“Correlates of attitudes toward euthanasia.”Social Biology, 26:247-254.1979.
In article      
[18]  Ward, R. “Age and acceptance of euthanasia.”Journal of Gerontology, 35:421-431. 1980.
In article      CrossRef PubMed 
[19]  Zalick, S.H. Personality and aging. In Zarit, S.H. (Ed.), Readings in Aging and death: Contemporary perspectives (2nd ed.) Harper & Row: New York. 1980, 103-109.
In article      
[20]  Rabe, W. Suicide and parasuicide: Gender, age and ethnic differences in the Port Elizabeth / Uitenhage magisterial districts. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Port Elizabeth.1993.
In article      
[21]  Pauw, H.C.Die ImiDushane van die Zwelitshadistrik: ‘n Ondersoeknahullesosialeorganisasie. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Port Elizabeth. 1978.
In article      
[22]  Soga, J.H.The Ama-Xhosa: Life and customs. Lovedale Press, Cape Town, 1964.
In article      
[23]  Broster, J.A.Amagqirha: Religion, magic and medicine in the Transkei. Via Afrika, Cape Town, 1982.
In article      PubMed 
[24]  Pauw, B.A.The second generation: A study of the family among urbanized bantu in East-London. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, 1963.
In article      PubMed 
[25]  Forster, H.W., & Keen, A.W. Black attitudes in suicide. In Schlebusch, L. (Ed), Suicidal Behaviour: Proceedings of the first Southern African conference on suicidology. Durban: University of Natal, 1988, 98-109.
In article      
[26]  Mayekiso, T.V. Attitudes of Black adolescents towards suicide. In Schlebusch, L. (Ed), Suicidal Behaviour: Proceedings of the third Southern African conference on suicidology. Durban: University of Natal, 1995, 46-53.
In article      
[27]  Venter, A.L.J. Coloured: A profile of two million South-Africans. Human &Rosseau, Cape Town, 1974.
In article      
[28]  Groenewald, J.P.Reaksies op Minderheidsgroepstatus by Kleurlinge. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Stellenbosch.1987.
In article      
[29]  McKendrick, B., & Hoffmann, W. (Eds). People and violence in South Africa. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, 1990.
In article      PubMed 
[30]  Van Niekerk, A. Anderkant die reënboog. Tafelberg, Cape Town, 1996.
In article      
[31]  STATSA. 2004. ONLINE AVAILABLE: [Accessed 11 March 2013].
In article      
[32]  STATSA. 2011. ONLINE AVAILABLE: [Accessed 11 March 2013].
In article      
[33]  STATSA. 2011b. ONLINE AVAILABLE: [Accessed 11 March 2013].
In article      
[34]  Holloway, H.D., Hayslip, B., Murdock, M.E., Maloy, R., Servaty, H.L., Henard, K., Lopez, L., Lysaght, R., Moreno, G., Moroney, T., Smith, D., & White, S.“Measuring attitudes toward euthanasia.”Omega,30(1):53-65.1995.
In article      
[35]  George, D., &Mallery, P. SPSS for Windows. Allyn& Bacon, Boston,1999.
In article      
[36]  Donnald, D.R., &Hlongwane, M.M.“Issues in the integration of traditional African healing and western counselling in school psychology practice.”School Psychology International, 10:243-249.1989.
In article      
[37]  Rautenbach, E.A.Verwantskapstelsels, verstedeliking en die swart gesin. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Stellenbosch.1989.
In article      
[38]  Frankl, V.E. Psychotherapy and existentialism: Selected papers on logotherapy. Washington Square Press, New York, 1967.
In article      
[39]  Frankl, V.E. Sêjavir die lewe(translated from the German: Der Mensch vor der Fragenachtdem Sinn, by F. Deist). Tafelberg, Cape Town, 1980.
In article      
[40]  Havenga, A.A.Antropologieseonderbou van Logoterapie. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pretoria.1974.
In article      
[41]  Twycross, R.G. “Assisted death: A reply.”The Lancet, 336:796-798. 1990.
In article      CrossRef 

Religious Tradition view of Euthanasia

  • Length: 1039 words (3 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Religious Tradition view of Euthanasia

State One Religious Traditions View Of Euthanasia

Euthanasia is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘The bringing about of a gentle and easy death, especially in the case of incurable and painful diseases’ .

The Christian view of Euthanasia is that it is wrong. They understand, the pain and emotional suffering, caused in the case of terminally ill, but believe that a hospice is a better solution and that to commit Euthanasia is murder and a degrading act upon human life.

The most common argument for Euthanasia, is the idea of quality of life. This term was first created in the 1970’s as a term used to describe, the general welfare of a individual. This was gradually adopted as a term to describe a persons overall existence. This ideology, has practically become the argument used to morally justify the killings of hundreds upon thousands of unborn babies, who have genetic defects such as down syndrome and the international starving of brain damaged adults and terminally ill patients. To Christian, this argument has no meaning as we were all created in the image of God and it is believed that each human has a purpose to serve. They see each human as having its own intrinsic worth and to destroy any life, whether a young born child or an elderly person is the murder of a potential. The Christians also mock the quality of life argument as they believe that it is a biased opinion and we have no grounds or framework to judge by. The book of Job, argues against the quality of life argument. In this book, Job claims that suffering is part of being human along with happiness, sadness and anger. This points that if you are suffering, you should live through it and it will make you a stronger person. Paul says in Corinthians 2, For when I am weak then I am strong. He says this when he is trying to describe how he appreciates his “problem/thorn in his flesh” because although he wanted God to take it away he realises that it helps to make him a stronger person and a good Christian, because it reminds him to be humble. It is based upon this that he refuses to take his own life. The Christian sees a good life in respects to a persons response, to a particular situations, whereas the humanists will see only in terms of suffering and pain experienced.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Religious Tradition view of Euthanasia." 13 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
Euthanasia Essay examples - "I will not give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel"1 clearly states The Hippocratic Oath by the Greek physician Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, 400 B.C. This is the first recorded attempt to sustain human life in any case whatsoever. During the Washington v. Glucksberg in 1997, where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the banning of assisted suicide debate, Chief Justice William Rehnquist stated. "More specifically, for over 700 years, the Anglo American common law tradition has punished or otherwise disapproved of both suicide and assisting suicide."2 Today, euthanasia is what we call the "painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and pai...   [tags: Philosophy]2148 words
(6.1 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Arguments Against Legalized Euthanasia Essay - The way "a person goes through the process of dying and accepts death is closely related to the way the person's society and culture view the process. A person's family, cultural values, social and medical institutions are all factors that form part of the context in which individuals die" (Dickinson and Leming 13). In past years, death was an accepted and natural part of life. Unlike today, death was common to occur at home with family and friends present. Advances in health, medicine and medical technology, however, have reduced people's contact with death....   [tags: argumentative, persuasive]1139 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Doctor-Assisted Suicide Should be Legalized Essay examples - “Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.” ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being One of the most controversial topics that is being debated today, both morally and legally, is assisted suicide, sometimes known as active euthanasia. Assisted suicide is the act of directly intervening in order to end the life of a terminally ill patient (i.e. administering a large amount of sleeping pills)....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 8 Works Cited
3190 words
(9.1 pages)
Research Papers[preview]
The Catholic View of Euthanasia Essay - The catholic view of euthanasia is that euthanasia is morally wrong. it has always been taught the importance of the commandement "you shall not kill". The church has said that "nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent person, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying". the church says any law permitting euthanasia is a unjust law. the catholic church does not accept that people have a right to die....   [tags: Euthanasia Essays]845 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Essay about Woman and Religious Tradition - In this essay, I will assess the claim that traditions are parallel in regards to woman by comparing the common beliefs and practices in Hinduism, Confucianism and Islam. I will be concentrating on the commonality of traditional religious practice that is exceedingly male dominated. As Young states, “The tendency toward male domination in the world’s religions (called patriarchy) has inspired movements that have touched virtually all religions in an effort to liberate women from what are considered oppressive religious structures.” He goes on to say, “These campaigns have also sparked resistance among traditionalists, who view attempts to elevate the status of women as an assault on an order...   [tags: Confucianism Doctrine, Hinduism, Islam]
:: 5 Works Cited
1008 words
(2.9 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Euthanasia Essay - Religious Views on Assisted Suicide - Official Religious Views on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide        This essay is dedicated to the expression of the various official views of religious bodies within our nation. Most major denominations are represented. These religions have long been the custodians of the truth, serving to check the erratic and unpredictable tendencies of political, judicial and social bodies which would have Americans killing off their elderly and handicapped.   The National Association of Evangelicals believe that human beings are made in the image of God and are, therefore, of inestimable worth....   [tags: Euthanasia Physician Assisted Suicide]
:: 5 Works Cited
1197 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Moral and Religious Differences Between Euthanasia and Suicide Essay - Moral and Religious Differences Between Euthanasia and Suicide The word euthanasia can be traced back to two Greek words, 'eu' meaning well and 'thentos' meaning death. Together they mean painless happy death. "Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of one whose life is deemed not worth living" David Atkinson and David Field, New dictionary of Christian ethics and pastoral theology. Euthanasia can be split into four categories, Voluntary Euthanasia is the action taken at the request of an individual who whishes to die who is incapable of doing so, or the individual is such a case that he/she cannot request help to die but has left instructions t...   [tags: Euthanasia Essay]592 words
(1.7 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Essay about Euthanasia Is Religious, Medically, and Legally Wrong in Canada - Euthanasia is defined as "a painless killing,espacially to end a painful and incurable disease; mercy killing". The righteousness of this act is being debated in several countries throughout the world,and Canada is no exception. Euthanasisa must not be accepted for religious, legal and medical reasons, as alternatives to such a dramatic end. To begin,the law,both civil and religious,forbid killing. Individuals are prosecuted in courts of law for committing murder. An example of this is the case of Robert Latimer....   [tags: Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Suicide]1315 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Euthanasia Essay - Euthanasia An 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. Discuss. 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.[1] Imagine at the age of 40, you are diagnosed with Motor neurone disease, a fatal disease that causes degeneration of the motor neurones, which leads the wasting of muscles. You are intellectually sound but totally dependant on your spouse for physical support....   [tags: Euthanasia Essays]
:: 15 Works Cited
4067 words
(11.6 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Euthanasia Essay - Euthanasia Should we allow Euthanasia in cases where people who are terminally ill request the right to die. People should have the right to control and chose whether they die or not. However I think they should be in a mentally fit state to do so. If they only have a couple of months to live and can feel the pain if they aren’t injected day after day, then I think they should be given the chance to make decisions for themselves. It is after all their life, it belongs to them and the only judge the only decision maker should be the person themselves....   [tags: Free Euthanasia Essay]813 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Religious Tradition         Euthanasia         Terminally Ill         Genetic Defects         Religious Traditions         Being Human         Book Of Job         Christian View         Down Syndrome        

This can often mean that judgements are given by a third party, rather than from the individual themselves and as a result can lead from voluntary to involuntary Euthanasia. It is the Christian belief that once some of these practices such as Euthanasia become common place, then much more degrading and immoral practices will become common.

The Catholic view of Euthanasia is extremely strong against Euthanasia. They are with the rest of the Christian church in believing Euthanasia to be degrading and a against the moral law of the God. The Pope issued this statement on Euthanasia.
Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is a deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human being. This doctrine is based upon the moral law and upon the written word of God.

In modern day society autonomy or the ability for us to be independent or self governing, is given a great emphasis. Yet autonomy itself is not without restrictions.
In every society, ones autonomy is limited, not necessarily by religion, but simply through the desire to allow the society to operate normally. In a Christian society our autonomy is limited by Gods moral law. Humanists will argue that it is autonomy that is necessary in the individual capacity which means a person should have the right to chose whether they wish to have themselves aided into death. Yet people who are terminally ill in 85% of cases (statistics taken from a Christian response-a U turn) are not in control of their mind and this can irrevocably lead to mis carriages of the patients wishes.

God made us as autonomous beings, that are bound within his law. This means that although we are allowed to chose and control our own destiny it is the one given to us by God and so it means that we must obey Gods law within all of the our actions. The bible teaches Christians that it was God who created all beings, and so only he has the right to take it away. Therefore Christians conclude, that it is wrong to play God in destroying a life or a potential life. As well each life has a purpose, and to commit Euthanasia you are destroying a life which has a potential that is yet unknown. They also believe that to make life, something, that is humanly expendable degrades and cheapens life. It removes the sanctity of life and means that it loses its importance and the respect that surrounds the issue of life and death.

Jesus taught compassion such as love thy neighbour and turn the other cheek and his compassion, which is at the centre of the Christian living should be applied here. The problems created like this are is it more compassionate, to ease someone to easy death or to keep them alive even if they are in a lot of pain. But when this is coupled with the idea that God created that all life, and only he has the right to take it away, means that it is the Christian duty to ease the suffering of a person, but not to kill them as it will destroy the sanctity of life.

In conclusion Christians believe that Euthanasia is wrong, not just to be picky, but because the issues that surround life and death and Gods morally law are clear in their distain towards anything which endangers the sanctity of life . It is focused mainly from the view that God created all life, therefore all life is sacred and humans have no right to take it away. Because God gave man the precious gift of life. This dictates therefore that life is in the hand of God and we therefore have no right to Euthanasia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *