THE RIGHT TO DIE – REFLECTIONS ON ASSISTED SUICIDE

We haven’t heard from Jack lately. That’s because he died. The media called him Dr. Death. Some considered Dr. Kevorkian a hero for paving the way for some states, including Oregon, to pass laws for physician-assisted suicide.

Brittany Maynard, all over the news, moved there to live—and to die. Brain cancer was slowing taking her life, and she preferred taking her own. She followed through with her plans on Saturday, October 31st.

A doctor in France was acquitted in court after secretly giving seven comatose patients a lethal injection that ended their life. Belgium may be the first country to lift the age limit on who has the right to die, which will include ill minors.

Dr. Jack claimed to have helped over 130 to die. He died in 2011 after serving eight years in prison from 1999 to 2007 for second-degree murder in an assisted suicide in which he administered a lethal injection. The issue “died out” for a time and has returned full-blown with Brittany.

Four principles help Christians make ethical decisions regarding euthanasia, killing with kindness.

  1. God owns our life. The midwife of the human race gave it to us. He determines our entrance and exit, unless foolish choices prescribe an early departure. Those not viewing their lives under the scrutiny of a living, loving God, understandably see the issues differently.

 

  1. God owns our body. Pro-abortion people say, “Her body—her decision.” If our bodies were paid for by the death of Jesus, He alone can rightfully determine their use and destiny. We are not free to end life—in or out of the womb.

 

  1. God values human life. Humanity bears the stamp of its Creator. We care for animals but do not regard them with the same value. Spending big bucks to release a whale looks kind-hearted, but it demonstrates skewed values. Human sacredness

does not depend on usefulness, mobility, or IQ. If humanity sets a price-tag related to utility, it can choose to end life when usefulness expires. Dangerous!

 

  1. God gives value to suffering. Paul, who suffered more than most, considered it “light and momentary” when compared to eternity. When God keeps a person alive who would be relieved by death, we best not tamper. I pray for my immobile and twisted up sister to go, but I shudder to think of making a decision that belongs to God alone.

I get it when people wonder why a person has to stick around who cannot talk, move, relate, or speak, and whose life has lost any semblance of apparent meaning. I have the right to live. I do not believe that I have the right to die. “Thou shalt not kill” includes me.

We dare to proclaim the goodness of God in the midst of mystery. Death with dignity is trumped by suffering with dignity. Lord, have mercy!

2 thoughts on “THE RIGHT TO DIE – REFLECTIONS ON ASSISTED SUICIDE

  1. Quite an issue. For those who embrace the medical model, is it ever right to say no further measures? Will we who don’t be prosecuted for our beliefs? Is there more than one right way? My mom is ready to go any time without measures. She is anxious to be with God. I have been a part of our cultural model of no further measures and believed I received peace from God. Is that his most excellent way? I’m unsure. You have made me think.

  2. Thank you Paul, I have thought about this a lot since the death of Brittany Maynard. I do think you got the date wrong, Saturday was the 1st of November (the date she had decided to take her own life). I remember it well because its my birthday.. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittany_Maynard)
    One question about the “thou shalt not kill” part.. to my surprise when I did my DTS in a bibleschool in the US, most of the people from US were not against killing if it´s in a war. What do you think about that?
    God bless you and your family, Alda.

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