The issue of Euthanasia is certainly a difficult one. There is a sense where we want to give the individual the right to shorten their life where their existence is no longer bearable. Yet on the other hand, we recognize the dangers inherent in softening our view on the sanctity of life. It would be very easy for a corrupt government to extend voluntary euthanasia into something else - the removal of citizens who are no longer useful to society due to age or infirmity.

It was once held that suicide affected a person's eternal salvation, and in the end, euthanasia is a form of suicide. Yet, the Bible doesn't specifically make a ruling on the issue. It doesn't comment on whether humans should increase or decrease the length of life through medical intervention. We do though have to accept that euthanasia has wide social ramifications.

I have to say I'm not sure about this issue, and if I were in severe pain in the last stages of life I would happily take a pill to end it all. None-the-less, let me put the argument against euthanasia.

The practice of euthanasia as the intentional killing of one person by another, can never be regarded as the compassionate answer to the burdens which may be suffered by a dying patient. It is not a private matter since it always has serious implications for all members of society. Evidence from Holland, where voluntary euthanasia is permitted under strict conditions, shows that it is quickly followed by non voluntary euthanasia.

Christian teaching affirms the value of each individual made in the image of God. Our lives are a gift from God. Neither our own life nor the lives of others, are ours to take.

Giving one person the power of life and death over another strikes, not only at the heart of Christian teaching, but also at the obligation of the State to protect its citizens - particularly the weak and vulnerable. Additionally, it places an unacceptable burden on doctors.

There will be continued attempts to legalize voluntary euthanasia and doctor assisted suicides, but as Dr. Brendan Nelson stated, doctors must never be "sanctioned to kill." It may, at times, be judged necessary to withdraw or withhold certain treatments because they are considered futile or unduly burdensome. Yet, this differs radically, and in a morally significant way, from intentional killing.

The compassionate answer is to provide the best palliative care and medical services possible for the patients and to give support and comfort to all those affected by the pain and suffering of their loved ones. Even in the midst of all this the Christian hope of eternal life beyond death stands firm, giving dignity and meaning to death itself.


[Pumpkin Cottage]