Effects of the Ethical Dilemma of Euthanasia on my Christian Worldview
Modern life of humanity is full of controversies. It is a well-known fact that there are as many opinions as people in the world. Thus, discussing one particular topic, one can hear many points of view because every person understands it from his/her own perspective. One of such highly disputable topics is euthanasia, and this particular issue will be discussed in the given essay. This problem was chosen for the essay because it is very controversial. On the one hand, it was created to ease people's pain and suffering. On the other hand, it contradicts moral principles not only of certain people, but also of humanity in general, especially, according to people’s religious beliefs. Some people “tend to be most vocal in their opposition to suicide”, others “tend to be more in favor of individual choice” (“What Are Christian Perspectives”, 2015). Although the issue of euthanasia has been discussed by people all over the world for many years, people still cannot find the only true solution for the problem. That is why it is of vital importance nowadays. Thus, the scenario chosen for the essay is connected to euthanasia, its essence, and the reaction that it causes in the world, especially, from the Christian perspective.
The ethical dilemma described in the chosen scenario is the following. A girl, who was out with her friends, got a terrible injury that paralyzed all her body below her shoulders. She became depressed, and she did not want to live. That is why she started to think about euthanasia. Actually, the case itself makes it difficult to make a decision. The situation is extremely complicated. The girl does not have a normal future because her physical state prevents her from leading a usual life. Her family, relatives, and friends are unhappy because their loved one suffers, and they understand that she will remain immobile for a long time, perhaps, forever. Nevertheless, two options can be applied in this case — carrying out euthanasia or not. Each of these decisions will have its ethical consequences. If the girl's family agrees to carry out euthanasia, they will blame themselves for her death. Probably, they also will think what her life would be if she were alive, and these thoughts will complicate their life. On the other hand, if they do not agree to make this procedure, they will be in charge of her life, and, perhaps, also can blame themselves for not being able to ease her physical and mental condition. In both cases, the moral state of the girl and her family will be undermined.
As it was mentioned above, the procedure of euthanasia contradicts religious beliefs. Christianity is one of them. Although, the Bible tells nothing about euthanasia directly, one can read between the lines and understand how Christian commandments may interpret this issue. The most exact phrase from the Bible that shows Christian attitude to euthanasia is “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 English Standard Version). Although, euthanasia is often called a mercy killing, which means that this action is done with good intentions and is painless for a patient, it remains a murder (Hare, 1998, p. 78). However, prohibition to murder is not the only thing that represents Christian negative attitude to euthanasia. Among Biblical stories, one can find such phrase as “in the image of God has He made man” (as cited in Pankratz & Welsh, 2001). Without a doubt, according to Christian worldview, it means that “God is sovereign over life and death: we have no jurisdiction in this area; therefore, we have no mandate to end lives” (Pankratz & Welsh, 2001). Thus, it is clear that euthanasia is regarded as a murder that contradicts Christian beliefs about God's right to give and take human life.
As it is obvious from the Christian point of view, euthanasia cannot be a solution for a problem described in the given scenario. According to one of the Biblical stories, which is very similar to the scenario, one can see an answer to the question. When Job's wife proposed her husband not to suffer any more because of his illness, and accept death, he answered “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). These words mean that man should obey God. Christian beliefs claim that God had suffered for humanity in order to save it, so people should respect this action and behave as selflessly as He did. Moreover, as it is claimed in the Bible, life is the most precious thing that God gave to people. That is why one should appreciate it despite all the difficulties that one might face. That is why family of the girl, whose fate is described in the scenario, should support her and convince her to live. In addition, perhaps, hope and daily prayer will ease her suffering.
However, solution proposed by Christianity can have its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, choosing to avoid the process of euthanasia can lead to unintended consequences. From the scenario, it is obvious that the paralyzed girl feels depressed. Living in such conditions can only complicate her life. If she does not get euthanasia, as she wants, she may refuse to eat, drink, communicate with her relatives, or accept medical treatment and support. It will make her depression even more severe, and she will do nothing but wait for slow death. However, refusal from euthanasia and wise behavior of people who surround the girl can definitely bring some benefits. If the girl, being in such hopeless state, understands that somebody needs her, she will find strength to overcome her condition. Support and care of close people always provide confidence for those who need it.
Another option, different from Christian worldview, is carrying out euthanasia. As it is absolutely opposite choice, it has different consequences. Perhaps, the girl, who does not want to live and the only thought on her mind is euthanasia and painless death, will be happy to hear that her wish is granted and the procedure will be carried out. When it comes to her relatives, it is difficult to predict their condition. On the one hand, they can remember about this case during all their life, and the chances are that they will blame themselves for killing the girl. It is also possible that decision to carry out euthanasia will undermine their mental health, and they will not be able to lead a normal life for some time and think about having children in future. On the other hand, one can easily understand that suffering of a child brings suffering to parents. Perhaps, carrying out euthanasia will ease their burden as well. However, in spite of the girl's relatives' state, they will be the ones who are responsible for her death.
Analyzing all used information, one can make the following conclusion. Although, euthanasia is a highly disputable issue all over the world, Christianity has the only negative answer for this procedure because it contradicts Christian beliefs. Not only is euthanasia a murder of a person, but it is also disobedience of God, which is unacceptable for a true Christian. As life is given to every human by God, it can be taken only by Him. That is why Christian perspective encourages people to accept their burden and cope with illnesses with help of prayer and faith in God. Anyway, it is a moral choice that does not suppose committing a sin.