GETTING A WORLD THAT DOESN'T GET IT
Is it wrong to want to end all the suffering?
Euthanasia is a word that comes from two Greek words meaning ‘good death’ and is sometimes called the ‘right to die’. Euthanasia is not a new issue and has been with humanity for thousands of years in various forms and practices. Historically in the West, euthanasia has mostly been illegal, but this is rapidly beginning to change. As of September 2020, voluntary euthanasia is legal in the states of Victoria (since June 2019) and Western Australia (from mid-2021). In all other Australian states, voluntary euthanasia remains illegal. However it is likely that debate and discussion will occur in NSW within the next decade, which is why this topic forms an important part of the CEC series ‘Getting a World that Doesn’t Get It’. It should be noted that euthanasia differs from suicide in that it is generally administered by an external party, typically a medical physician. Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS) is similar to euthanasia, however, the final action leading to death must be undertaken by the individual who is to die.
We live in a fallen world that is filled with suffering. Many people find themselves in positions where they suffer profoundly with no real hope of relief in this life. Chronic illness, chronic pain and severe disabilities can be lifelong burdens. Our society highly values personal autonomy and self-determination, which are commonly lost, along with significant personal dignity, during the end stages of our lives. People also do not want to be seen as dependent upon, or be a burden to relatives. In many of these situations, and others, euthanasia is seen as a merciful way to die with dignity and on ‘their terms’.
This webpage provides a collection of resources that seeks to engage with the wider debate around euthanasia in our culture today from a Christian perspective, with the purpose of equipping Christians to better respond and witness Christ to our culture. Some resources look at the reasons why people seek euthanasia, others the societal consequences of widespread public access and legalisation. It is important for Christians to know God’s position on euthanasia. What does God think and is it morally ok under any circumstances? It is also important that Christians respond not only faithfully but with ‘gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15). Finally, some resources provide suggestions and avenues from this topic to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, which provides the ultimate hope and answer to all forms of suffering and despair.
Bioethics: the Christian Response to Euthanasia and Gene Manipulation
Calum Miller, a medical doctor, presented a talk on euthanasia for RZIM. Calum defines euthanasia, provides, modern-day medical opinions and details the history of euthanasia in western society. He shows how these issues have played out in the past and highlights the inherent risks we now face as euthanasia once again continues to gain popularity. Finally, he looks at how we as Christians may respond to these issues.Speaker: Calum Miller Publisher: RZIM (permission sought, but no response, assumed permission has been given elsewhere as I note that RZIM has been used on podcasts before)Originally published at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aliAlmiUyB0Duration: Start of Euthanasia part is approximately 41:22, end around at 1:14:43) Date accessed: -7/9/2020
Assisted suicide and euthanasia
John Wyatt starts describes two very difficult cases of people who suffered terribly and sought euthanasia. He discusses issues around euthanasia and provides a compassionate and biblical understanding of why people seek it and how best to respond as Christians.
Speaker: John WyattPublisher:JohnWyatt.com Originally published at: https://johnwyatt.com/2018/01/04/assisted-suicide-and-euthanasia/Duration: 37:10Talk: Assisted suicide and euthanasiaDate accessed: -20/9/20
The Ethical Imagination
This podcast surveys Australians to find out whether people should be able to choose how and when we die. Bioethicist, Margaret Sommerville and Simon Smart from CPX explore the reasons for people seeking euthanasia. For some, euthanasia is a control mechanism for the fear of death. They also explore how the sanitized way we discuss euthanasia and normalization of euthanasia can have a significant impact on the values of our society and our respect for life.Duration:16:00Speaker: Interview of Bioethicist Margaret Somerville with Simon SmartPublisher: Center for Public Christianity (permission not sought)Originally published at: https://www.publicchristianity.org/life-and-faith-the-ethical-imagination/Date accessed: 11/09/2020
Euthanasia For Children - Albert Mohler
Part 1 of this podcast discusses an article titled “Medical Assistance in Dying at a Pediatric Hospital”, which advocates for the extension of euthanasia to children. The podcast outlines how the logic of the arguments used to legalise euthanasia quickly expand to encompass all areas of life, and that there are no real safeguards. Mohler provides a Christian perspective on these issues. He also outlines how fast the culture is changing morally on the intrinsic value of human life.
Speaker: Albert Mohler
Originally published at: https://albertmohler.com/2018/10/19/briefing-10-19-18
Duration: 16:50 (Part 1)
The Truth about Dying
This is an article by palliative care doctor and Christian medical ethicist Megan Best on euthanasia. It argues against euthanasia from a secular perspective.Estimated read time: 7:40 Author: Dr. Megan BestPublisher: ABC.net.auDate accessed: - 7/9/20
What does the Bible teach about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide?
This article addresses the argument that euthanasia allows one to die with ‘dignity’. It outlines how suffering can serve a purpose and that there is a difference between withholding treatment and euthanasia. Finally, it affirms human dignity as image bearers of God.Estimated read time: 5:35 Author: Mary WursterPublisher: The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist ConventionDate accessed: - 7/9/20
TWO QUICK THINGS YOU CAN SAY
In 2002 the Netherlands law was written to legalise euthanasia for patients experiencing “unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement”. But now it has expanded to include people who might otherwise live for many years, from sufferers of diseases such as muscular dystrophy to sexagenarians with dementia and even mentally ill young people.
The availability of euthanasia has also led to the terminally sick and elderly feeling obligated to die so as to not be a burden on friends and family.
Euthanasia poses great risks to society and is not the only solution to suffering. In many cases, suffering can be eased through treatment and good palliative care.
TWO WAYS TO TURN DISCUSSION TO THE GOSPEL
Euthanasia is the deliberate ending of human life. God calls this murder or sin. God has promised to judge and punish all who murder. Jesus went further and said that anyone who hates his brother will be subject to judgement (Mathew 5:22). In the eyes of God, we are all guilty of sin and all deserve judgement and punishment. However, God desires to show mercy and has provided a way out for us through the death of his Son Jesus.
Euthanasia is a solution to personal suffering, but it is one that offers no real hope. God tells us that the reason we suffer and ultimately die is that the world and humanity are under a curse because of sin. However, God doesn’t want to leave us here but has provided all of humanity hope through his son Jesus.
FIVE BIBLE PASSAGES CONCERNING EUTHANASIA
Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 - Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
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 honour God with your bodies.
John 13:34-35 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
Genesis 9:6 - “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
GROUP OR PERSONAL REFLECTION
How would you respond to the question: Why not let someone who is suffering with no hope of recovery end their suffering?
How does suffering bring about good?
How can we change the culture on this topic of euthanasia so that people value life even through suffering? What can the church and/or individual do?
How is the legalisation of euthanasia potentially a slippery slope?
PRAYER ABOUT EUTHANASIA
Your works are mighty and wondrous. Thank you for the gift of life and the beauty in all of creation. We acknowledge that this world was created for your glory and was created very good, but because of sin, is now under the curse, and today many people suffer terribly.
We bring before you those who are suffering and seek death as a way out. We lament that they do not know the comfort, peace and hope that comes from knowing you and that gives their lives and their suffering meaning. We pray that you use this time to soften their hearts to you and that in your grace they come to know and trust Jesus as their Lord and saviour.
Please help the church to be a light in this dark world. May we speak out against the legalisation of euthanasia. May we defend the weak and vulnerable who are struggling with their suffering and considering euthanasia and show love and compassion to them. Please help us to point to the only true and certain hope by the faithful preaching of your Gospel.
Father, please prepare my heart to be compassionate and loving to those who are suffering and may you give me the wisdom and boldness to share your gospel so that people may be saved.
Finally, if Jesus does not return before I die, please prepare me for my own death. Thank you that Jesus has conquered death and hell. Please strengthen me to die well with my faith firmly in Christ and ready to meet you in the eternal kingdom.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
The Culture of Death Reclaims Ground in Germany: A Renewed Threat to Human Life
This article was written in March 2020 regarding the advancement of euthanasia in Germany. It examines the logic of the arguments put forward and the worldview behind them. It also reflects upon the infamous Nazi T4 program and makes some parallels to recent legislation.
Estimated read time: 9:27
Author: Albert Mohler
Date accessed: 7/9/20
This resource provides an overview of the current practices in a number of international countries including; Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland and the state of Oregon in the USA.
Estimated read time: 17:45
Author: John Wyatt
Date accessed: 21/9/20
What Does the Bible Say about Euthanasia and Assisted Dying?
This resource looks at the death of Saul and the death of Jesus to argue that euthanasia or even suicide is never acceptable in God’s eyes and that we should seek to extend life not end it.
Estimated read time: 3:40
Author: Joni Eareckson Tada
Date accessed: 21/9/20
Euthanasia - Arguments from autonomy
This resource responds to three autonomy-based arguments for euthanasia with four arguments against autonomy. It also upholds that no Biblical case for euthanasia is possible. This article is a response by the Christian Medical Fellowship to changes in UK laws in 2005. Australia is at that same point now.Estimated read time: 6:30
Author: Christian Medical Fellowship
Publisher: Christian Medical Fellowship
Date accessed: 21/9/20
This page was posted on: 4/12/2020