Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There is a raging debate in the province of Quebec on the question "Does someone have the right to kill another because the first one is suffering?" There are more and more cases in the news that look like the following that arrived just yesterday.

Here is a video of an example : http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Canada/Montreal/1305551527/ID=2213970096

Does the Bible tackle the issue? From an evangelical perspective how do I answer this question/issue?

Edit : I'm looking to a way to answer a fellow Christian with little knowledge of the Bible, and a non-Christian as well. The question is not simply assisted suicide, but it's implied therapeutic relentlessness as well.

share|improve this question
5  
Very much not just Quebec; UK has similar active debates, over uncertain law (with many people pushing for reform/clarification), and it seems to be topical in many places. Interesting question. –  Marc Gravell Mar 28 '12 at 11:38
    
@MarcGravell Thanks for your input, I did not know for the UK. May be in Scandinavian country as well, but it is a guess. –  David Laberge Mar 28 '12 at 11:41
    
Not worthy of a full answer, but as with most things there is never a "single" Christian answer. Here's a view that might be surprising. As an update to my earlier comment, it was debated in the UK parliament just yesterday –  Marc Gravell Mar 28 '12 at 13:13
    
Support for death with real dignity from that great evangelist Pope John Paul the Great - @jonericson We should cover this on the blog! –  Peter Turner Mar 28 '12 at 14:23
add comment

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted
+100

From a general Christian perspective, I believe that assisted suicide is wrong. I have multiple reasons for this. The obvious, but too obvious, answer is that God commands that we shall not murder. A common objection to this argument is that it's not murder if the person is suffering and wishes to die. Perhaps so, so allow me to argue a separate point.

Ultimately, the main reason I believe that assisted suicide is wrong, falls more on the person committing the suicide, assisted or unassisted, than it does the person who aids in the suicide.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Ultimately, I believe this is probably the strongest evidence against the argument. For those who choose to commit suicide, they are implicitly stating that they are their own. In the cultures that are discussing these situations, there is already an existing undercurrent that essentially claims that our bodies are our own. You can see this argument when it comes to all sorts of things dealing with human life, most noticeably abortion and assisted suicide. The argument can almost always be boiled down to: "It's my body, therefore I am allowed to do anything to it that I want to do."

If the scripture holds true here, which I believe it does, then our own comfort and enjoyment of life comes second to what it is that God would have done in our lives. Assisted suicide denies loved ones the opportunity to learn patience and love towards someone who cannot repay. It runs on the assumption that comfort, happiness, and productivity are the most important things in life, and once those things are gone, there is nothing more to live for. It robs God of the opportunity to do great things, and possibly recuperate the person.

Sadly, I cannot think of any good way to convince a non-Christian of the moral bankruptcy of assisted suicide. Their perspective is typically to say that their body is their own. This has been the same argument used for years in regards to abortion, where the child is viewed as an unpleasant and inconvenient intrusion on the mother's well-being and happiness, and therefore must be eliminated.

It's really the same argument all over again, only this time, instead of killing another, we kill ourselves.

Regarding Therapeutic Relentlessness

I've been asked (at the end of the very long comments at the bottom) to update my answer to reflect my viewpoint on therapeutic relentlessness. Obviously, this is a very sensitive subject, and I'm honestly less clear on what scripture has to say about "how much treatment is too much treatment" when it comes to sustaining a life. There are plenty of other limitations in place, such as financial limitations, availability of technology, etc, that make for hard decisions in this area. How do we balance the physical restrictions, with our moral obligation in this area?

To be honest, I can't think of any place where the Bible speaks directly to the issue of therapeutic relentlessness, mostly because the technology to do such things didn't exist at the time of Christ. But I think it's important to remember that the Bible ultimately isn't designed as a "rule book" that we're to follow, but it's ultimate intent is that we become dependent upon God for our daily lives. It gives us a framework on some clear issues, but sometimes, we'll be called upon to pray and ask God what he would have us do. If the Bible clearly explained every moral dilemma we're bound to face, then there would be no need for wisdom, and quite frankly, it wouldn't drive us into relationship with God. We'd be happy following rules, and that would be all we would do.

In the end, I think it comes down to stewardship, which is implicit in the verse above. We have been given our bodies not for our own purposes, but so that we might steward them properly. To steward something, it's necessary to have the recognition both that the object of our stewardship is not our own, and that we will answer to one greater than ourselves in regards to how we performed our stewardship duties.

A good example of this is in 2 Chronicles 16:12, Asa did not consult God, but rather, consulted the physicians. I don't believe here that the problem was that he consulted the physicians, but rather that he never consulted God. He was being a bad steward in not asking God what God would have for his foot malady. God may have said, "go to the physicians, and they'll heal you", but he might have said to do something else. We'll never know. Asa died in the next verse.

As Christians, we are called to be dependent on God for all things, which means, that ultimately, what we do here isn't always a matter of black and white. God may give us difficult situations for no other reason but that we might become more dependent on him. It's a matter of godly submission. When faced with difficulties like this, which I honestly hope I'm never faced with, our proper reaction should never be to lean in our own understanding, but rather to trust in the Lord.

Personal Viewpoint

I know it sounds like a cop-out answer, but I really don't think there's a hard and fast rule here. From my personal perspective, something seems strange to me about artificially keeping a body of an unconscious person alive for years, when to remove the life support, the body would fail. I see that as somehow different than actively killing the person, but again, that's my opinion on that, and I know some Christians who would probably disagree. Another person, when faced with the same difficulty, may pray and ask God what God would like them to do, and he may lead them to sustain the body for a while. They may view that as good stewardship of what God has given them. Again, no hard and fast answer on that one, I'm afraid.

share|improve this answer
3  
+1 for the idea " they are implicitly stating that they are their own" –  David Laberge Apr 11 '12 at 12:24
1  
Regardless of your views on abortion, that truly is unrelated; there is no 3rd party here. The question asks for an answer for both a Christian and non-Christian; this answer addresses the "to a Christian" angle (so: good), but it is irrelevant to present a scriptural argument in a discussion to a non-Christian, since there is no shared scriptural basis. Likewise, the "convince a non-Christian of the moral bankruptcy" is circular; it is only a Christian morality issue. Personally, I'd argue the immoral act is in refusing to help someone in constant and unending, yet unnecessary, suffering. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 12:33
    
@MarcGravell, the non-Christian argument in favor of assisted suicide really is the same argument: "It's my body. I do with it what I want." Nobody pro-choice considers the baby's body, unless it is deemed to have an "error". I agree with you wholeheartedly that there's no point in presenting this argument to a non-Christian. That's exactly what I state in my second-to-last paragraph. I agree it's immoral to ignore a suffering soul, however, the end of the argument in Christianity comes down to whose right is it to take the life, which comes down to whose body it is: ours or God's. –  David Morton Apr 11 '12 at 13:00
1  
@David "Nobody considers" is very inaccurate, but I don't want to get into that debate (it won't end well for anyone here). Frankly my view is that even bringing up abortion in this argument is a derailment that we could do without, and only serves to inflame. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 13:08
    
@MarcGravell Fair enough. It wasn't my aim to inflame anything here. My aim was to show that the mindset for both is similar (regardless of how we excuse it). In both situations, the debate centers around whose right it is to prescribe death: man's or God's. Regardless of whether the prescription is self-referential or applied to another human, where one falls on that debate informs your view for both or either. And I don't think the situations are completely disconnected. Both are dealing with humans making decisions regarding life and death. –  David Morton Apr 11 '12 at 13:18
show 11 more comments

The Bible does not specifically tackle this issue. There are many passages about murder and murderers.

Matthew 5:21-24 ESV

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Numbers 35:30 ESV

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness

There are many about suicide

Philippians 1:20-26 NIV

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Murder and suicide are not unpardonable sins, therefore it is safe to say that assisted suicide is also pardonable.

The only passage where I can find something extremely close is:

1 Samuel 31:4-6 NIV

Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.”

But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.

Therefore I believe that we're supposed to read into that story. That is, if a person becomes so desperate that they should want to kill themselves or ask for help in doing so, we are not obligated to assist.

To directly answer your question "A Christian response to dying in dignity or assisted suicide?" and since I consider myself a Christian: I would say that one should refrain from aiding people in suicide. The Bible also directs us to treat our bodies as temples to God. Which I believe is to mean that we shouldn't commit suicide. However I believe (as I would) a Christian would have compassion for the person and the family if a person's suicide was in response to a terminal condition.

share|improve this answer
7  
without taking a position here I feel like your last example is a huge stretch. I'd severely hesitate to read that much into something presented as an historical account rather than a teaching or other kind of passage. –  wax eagle Mar 28 '12 at 12:49
    
Re your "A Christian response...", also adding a link to the question. –  Marc Gravell Mar 28 '12 at 13:12
    
@waxeagle That's why it's "I believe that we're..." vs "we are to read..." :) It is a big leap, agreed. It just happens to be my leap, and I have no more authority than anyone else. –  user1054 Mar 28 '12 at 14:18
1  
@Dan I was unclear: I meant "you might find the link I'm adding (to the question) notable" - wasn't asking you to do anything. –  Marc Gravell Mar 28 '12 at 16:58
add comment

The problem comes in that if we are to deem all life with intrinsic value then we are faced with the same problem that abortion and the death penalty brings. Do we succumb to nihilism and then deem the life of certain convicts and / or unborn babies is worthless or do we reject nihilism and deem that it has worth.

Do we grant the doctors the right to end life or do we hold to the ideas that humans should not have the right over life and death. It has grave moral consequences this liberal stance on life and death.

I think that when you go through history the leaders of countries who had these ideas of certain life being worthless had disastrous consequences. Stalin, Pot, Hitler. Although the doctrine that was at the root of their discrimination was different at the core the all had a selective nihilism that enabled them to justify mass murder.

Now I'm not trying to equate assisted suicide to genocide. Do not let me be misunderstood. I'm just trying to demonstrate what these types of philosophies has on a society so we can better understand whether we should allow them or not.

Do we not think that the people who deem unborn babies life worthless may not some day deem my life worthless as well and with it find the justification for murdering me as well? If we allow this now where will it stop?

I propose that these Christian ideals of life having intrinsic value is the core of a just society and to allow this would have disastrous effects that should not be allowed.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There is no "single" way to answer this, because (as usual) there is no "single" Christian view; there are Christian groups with very well versed advocates at both extremes of this, so there are no absolute answers here.

I'm looking to a way to answer a fellow Christian with few knowledge of the Bible...

My view in your discussion to a Christian : if you feel it is strongly against your beliefs, then don't go down this road yourself; don't elect for assisted suicide. However, also try to judge others in this, especially when you are probably (I'm going with the numbers here) unlikely to understand what their life is. Being on the outside looking in can give a very false impression. And, as already mentioned, there are many Christians who are happy with the conclusion they've reached that does not rule this out.

...and a non-Christian as well

In talking to a non-Christian, there is no benefit bringing up scriptural points, since by definition (unless you are talking OT scripture with a Jew, etc) there is no meaningful common scriptural basis. It is very wrong to try to enforce the side-effects of your own religious beliefs on people who disagree with them. If you can make an argument based on non-scriptural reason, then feel free to do so, but it would be a hard argument to make (assuming that suitable assurances were in place to prevent abuse for convenience, or by benefactors or sufferers of treatable depression - that is a separate discussion, however). Equally, the "chance of a miracle recovery" is not medically sound, and should be weighed correctly against the "chance of not" (which is very very significantly greater).

It is not a simple issue. Medical advances have allowed us to reach a place where people can be sustained long beyond the time when (in a more primitive society) they would have surely perished. It is not surprising that the era of the Bible did not have such a complex set of concerns here. Time was weeks, not years or decades.

My personal view (I don't expect many to agree here) is that I would very much like to know that this option is available to me, should I come to genuinely need it. I wouldn't make my pet dog suffer unnecessarily.

share|improve this answer
2  
This viewpoint sounds like: "Do what you feel like and don't judge others on what they do." It also seems to discount Christianity as merely religion, in the sense that it is one among many, which most Christians, I believe, would find disagreeable. Lastly, your final statement might be interpreted to place mankind on the same value basis as animals, which again, would be something that most Christians (I know) would also find disagreeable. That said, it's an excellent viewpoint from a secular humanist perspective, and probably the strongest argument I could give towards a non-Christian. –  David Morton Apr 11 '12 at 14:31
1  
@David I really don't know how to say this: but Christianity is one religion among many. The "in group" of any will of course elevate their own. Actually, the views of different sects of Christianity are so fractured and opposing that when discussing ethics/morality it could be argued that Christianity is about 16 religions among many... Re animals: showing respect and compassion to an animal doesn't mean I equate them to humans. Which is exactly why I wouldn't want a human to suffer pointlessly either. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 14:38
2  
@David believing something does not make it true. Without empirical evidence (and barring an internal logical inconsistency or new counter-evidence) no one set of beliefs (or religion) can be argued to be any more true than any other, incompatible, equally well held beliefs. Hence the entire point of secularism employing critical thinking and empirical evidence. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 14:57
1  
I agree, believing in something does not make it true, however, the converse is also true, disbelieving in something does not make it false. Truth stands as truth regardless of belief. However, secularism does not come without it's own baggage. It assumes that human reason is to be trusted more than revelation. This, of course, stands in opposition to the belief that there is something more trustworthy than human reason, a belief that Christians do hold to. In other words, you hold as truth the idea that human reason is paramount. All other ideas are, thus, unprovable, except that one. –  David Morton Apr 11 '12 at 15:02
2  
"There is no "single" way to answer this, because (as usual) there is no "single" Christian view;" I almost started my answer with that too but thought I would get too much trouble for it. –  user1054 Apr 11 '12 at 18:27
show 18 more comments

I'd like to address the "to a Christian" aspect of the question (I'm not sure the "to a non-Christian" aspect is on topic). I would argue in favour of assisted suicide, on a case by case basis. I don't intend to comment on whether it should be legal or illegal, because I think that is mostly irrelevant to the issue of its morality.

The Bible doesn't have anything directly to say about assisted suicide, or therapeutic relentlessness, so any Christian viewpoint on this subject must be an inference from more general principles. I argue that OP's question is a subset of the more general question of "Is it ever okay for a Christian to choose death?"

Is it ever okay for a Christian to choose death?

One response by Christians to assisted suicide is that we do not belong to ourselves, and thus do not have the right to choose death. My problem with this argument is that it is too black and white. What about martyrdom? We ought to be willing to give up our lives for the cause of Christ, which in many cases (such as refusing to denounce Christ at gunpoint) is effectively suicide. So clearly there are some cases when it is okay to choose death.

I'd argue that the principle at work in whether choosing death is moral is whether the benefit of death outweighs the cost.

There is no cut and dry answer of whether choosing death is always okay, or never okay. Like most aspects of Christianity, legalism doesn't work - we must each examine our own hearts, and the Spirit's will for us.

So, what are some examples of Christians choosing death, where the benefit of death outweighed the cost?

Countless martyrs throughout history have chosen death for the sake of the gospel. In those cases, the benefit (furthering the gospel, integrity in not denying Christ) outweighed the cost (momentary death).

The Bible also has several examples of people choosing death when the benefit outweighed the cost.

One example is Samson:

Judges 16:30-31 (NIV)
30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
31 Then his brothers and his father’s whole family went down to get him. They brought him back and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had led Israel twenty years.

Samson acted as he did, knowing it would kill him. But the benefit outweighed the cost, as he was able to take many Philistines with him, and was likely going to die soon anyway. Note that whether we think killing Philistines is a "good thing" is irrelevant. It apparently fit into God's will and plan, or God would not have given Samson strength to do so (the context suggests that God gave him the strength).

Another example is Jesus. Certainly Jesus could have prevented his death

Matthew 26:53 (NIV)
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

But he considered doing the will of his Father (Mark 14:36) and the "joy set before him" to outweigh the cost:

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Now, some might argue that Jesus knew he would be resurrected, and thus was not choosing death. But don't we as Christians have that same assurance? As Christians, death is not the end. In fact, it is far better to die and be with Christ, but we ought to remain when the cost of death outweighs the benefit.

Of course, for Christians, since we do not love our worldly life, the cost for us is little and the benefit for us is great. But remember that we are called to love, and we must take into our calculation the cost for others and the benefit for others that can be incurred by our remaining in the world. For if all Christians were to simply off themselves, there would be no evangelism. Paul dealt with this very struggle, and his cost-benefit analysis led him to remain:

Philippians 1:21-25 (NIV)
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

So when does the benefit of death outweigh the cost? There are probably a few clear cut cases, such as if the person is a vegetable with no chance of recovery. Let that person be with Christ.

But generally, it depends on tons of factors, such as the amount of suffering one is in, the remaining time left in life, the possible benefit one might have to others, etc. Christians should prayerfully examine their own hearts when making such a decision, and remember the importance of loving others in their decision. We shouldn't automatically choose death, simply to escape suffering, when our life may benefit others or further the gospel. Rather we can count our current suffering as joy, knowing that we are choosing it for the sake of love and the gospel, and we will surely be rewarded.

So, when is it okay to assist in choosing death?

Well, first of all, if we assume the morality of the chooser's choosing, then I don't think the assistance should be categorized as a sin. I don't believe it falls under murder, as the motivation is love, rather than hate. In the same way, an accidental killing is not murder (i.e., a car crash), because the spirit of the law is concerned with our intentions, and our heart (Matthew 5:21-22).

One caveat is that we should never assist in the death of an unbeliever. For the unbeliever, we need to hold out fervent hope that he will come to Christ before his demise. Though the unbeliever does not realize it, the benefit of relieving temporary suffering never outweighs the cost of missing out on the chance to come to Christ.

In Conclusion

In my opinion, in most assisted suicide cases the benefit of death does not outweigh the cost, but I am unwilling to make a blanket statement against all assisted suicide. I'm sure that there are cases where a Christian's suffering is great enough, and their remaining time is short enough, so that the relief from suffering outweighs the benefit they might have on others in their short remaining time.

share|improve this answer
2  
Not sure the Samson example is quite the same category of deaths (accepting death as the consequence of a deliberate act to kill (slay?) many enemies is not really the same as the question), but it is scriptural, I guess. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 17:49
1  
Oh, I applaud loudly the sentiment of your opening lines - however, many Christians do take it upon themselves to involve themselves in this tricky subject in the context of everyone. My meaning: for many Christians, the impact of this with non-Chrisians is f concern to them, which would appear to make it on-topic. –  Marc Gravell Apr 11 '12 at 17:54
    
@Eric Your answer is interesting, but I'm not sure that you answer the question asked. I'm looking to a current social issue. Also I'm not sure that your biblical examples could apply to the current issue. The martyrs example keeps me perplexe, I'm unsure about the way you look at Samson, and Christ death does not have anything to do with suicide. –  David Laberge Apr 12 '12 at 10:17
    
@Eric In brief your argument is: If the benefit outweighed the cost. How would non-christian pragmatism could view the benefit part: economic, opening rooms in the hospital ... I think your answer brings more confusion to the table. But, I do believe that you bring an interesting argument for future development. I will not accept the current answer. How does medical relentlessness fits in your answer? –  David Laberge Apr 12 '12 at 10:23
    
@DavidLaberge, I have edited my answer to hopefully clarify. My argument is basically that assisted suicide is a subset of a more general question: "Is it okay for a Christian to choose death?" The answer that I give for this question is a principle that it is okay when the benefit of death outweighs the cost. I show how this principle applies to martyrs (benefit=furtherance of Gospel), Samson (benefit=killing Philistines), and Jesus (benefit=joy in loving and saving the world). –  Eric Apr 12 '12 at 15:02
show 2 more comments

As a former volunteer in a hospice I believe I have something to say about this, both to Christians and to non-Christians.

How would you want to die? At first, people usually say something like "painlessly" or "quickly". Some youngsters add "young", most older people would add "after long life", "after happy life" or "after accomplishing my goals" instead. Many would say "happy", too. After longer thinking about this, some add "with my familly" and "reconciled". The same people who appreciated quick death in the beginning often come to prefering values that are usually connected with longer time to face death and to accept it's coming.

In modern hospices (or in patient's home, if the familly and nurses can provide him palliative care there) you won't get quick death, but you can be sure you won't suffer of strong pain (and even of medium-level pain, but it often decrease your capacity to do other things, so some patients don't agree with this), you will be treated with respect, your familly will be allowed to be with you all the time (other question is whether your family wants or can reguralry visit you) and there will always be someone to help you, and who will eventually help you to reconciliation (provided you accept help, but hospice doctors, nurses, chaplains, psychologists and even volunteers are trained to be helpful but not aggressive when offering help). About accomplishing your goals - it's harder and I don't want to talk too much about it, but if it's not possible there will at least be someone who helps you to find other, smaller goals which you can accomplish even in the last days of your life, and toherwise help you to accept that not everything is as we dreamed about it.

According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages through which the patient goes to the the acceptance of their end. First the patient denies their situation ("I'm OK"). Second stage is "anger" ("It's the doctors' fault!"), third "bargaining" ("Someone must heal me! God, help me!" or "That healer will surely help me, he is my last chance!"), fourth depression (that's the moment when patients call for assisted suicide the most) and the fifth and final stage is acceptance. Acceptance means that the patient is happy, rejoices of every minute of life, giving thanks for everything good in his life, discovering new and new reasons for joy, easily forgiving or asking for forgiveness and perhaps eagerly waiting for the embrace of God. Not everyone gets to this stage, but those who do often see their last days as the happiest time of their life. Sounds strange, in our achievement-oriented culture where dieing is the worst taboo, but it's true.

Our bodies are temples of Holy Spirit and we believe that Holy Spirit wants us to grow to this final submission to God (or to the acceptance of our life and death as its natural end, for an atheist). Assisted suicide means allowing the person to give up, to fail in this final fight. About animals, it's OK, they can't understand and exploit this final stage of life spiritually, but we are human beings, not animals, and we have a higher sense of life. To allow an assisted suicide means to admit: "Yes, your life is totally pointless and there's no chance to change it, your life couldn't have any sense any more." This should be unthinkable for a Christian - we always have a sense of life in person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was pretty careful about not to die before his time, so why should we ask for "merciful death" before our time is here? Raping our Lord's death on a cross as an excuse for a suicide effectivelly means that His sacrifice was as vain as a suicide, that He didn't accomplish anything - that's a really big blasphemy.

For non-Christians, intrinsic value of might not be as obvious as it should be for a Christian. But even if you don't believe in anything after death, isn't the chance to see your life in a new light and die happy worth goning on and accepting some mild pain?

I'm deeply convinced that anyone who asks for assisted suicide is either too depressed or never really accepted that there could be a sense of life independent of health, money and social status. Both states can change, even though it doesn't seem possible to a person in such a situation. Neither the first nor the second are crimes deserving capital punishment.

Another aspect: giving up too early denies someone's relatives and friends to get to acceptance stage too. Real reasons for most cases of "euthanasia" are that the family convince their terminally ill relative to give up, simply because they don't care. This is usually quite easy, given the state the patient is in. Often there is no bad intention behind it, the relatives just can't imagine any sense of life the dying person could find and think that assisted suicide is the best solution. But wouldn't be better to help both the patient and the familly find better approach to this situation?

Our society is sick with disrespect to life. It's especially our, Christians', work to do everything to heal it, and part of the treatment is telling everyone who might be concerned that there is a good alternative to nihilism. On the other hand, we can't judge those afflicted by this disease of our culture too harshly. This is a disclaimer for those offended by my words about blasphemy - I hope nobody stopped reading at that part.

Finally, few words about therapeutical relentness: exact time is important. If someone wouldn't be able to survive without constant medical help, there's no chance of improving the patient's health and either the patient is unconcious with no chance of awakening to conciousness or they deliberately chose to avoid further treatment, it's probably the right time. It's usually not absolutely clear, but usually it's better not to prolong this state for too long.

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by Caleb Nov 24 '12 at 8:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.