Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Defined • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LNVzfJu Qh0 Religion and Euthanasia Religion and Euthanasia • Religions typically have strong views regarding euthanasia, and most are against it. Many explanations are provided for death and dying within religion and these events are often marked with rituals and ceremonies to mark death and in memory of those who have passed. Religion can provide understanding and comfort for those who have died. Reasons religions are opposed: • God has forbidden it-religions with a supreme god believe they have been told in scripture not to kill • Human life is sacred-because God created each life, and they should therefore be protected and preserved • Human life is special-human beings are made in God’s image with special dignity and value, and shortening life would interfere with God’s plan Judaism and Euthanasia • Jewish law regards euthanasia as murder and forbids it, regardless of circumstance. All life is of infinite value, and therefore, saving oneself or another from pain through killing them is not acceptable. It is acceptable: -to ask god to end a life in prayer -for a doctor to perform a surgery that jeopardizes one’s life (if it is believed that the surgery is likely to reduce pain or extend life) -doctors do not have a duty to artificially extend one’s life if they are in pain and treatment cannot cure their illness. Judaism and Euthanasia The value of human life is infinite and beyond measure, so that any part of life - even if only an hour or a second is of precisely the same worth as seventy years of it, just as any fraction of infinity, being indivisible, remains infinite. Lord Jakobovits, former UK Chief Rabbi ...The message of Judaism is that one must struggle until the last breath of life. Until the last moment, one has to live and rejoice and give thanks to the Creator... Dr Rachamim Melamed-Cohen, Jewsweek, March, 2002 Hinduism and Euthanasia Hinduism focuses on the consequences of our actions versus philosophical inquiries of what is right and wrong. Beliefs: • -reincarnation of the soul (the next life is decided by karma) • -taking care of older members of community • -it is important to have your life in a good state before death, with no unhappiness or unfinished business. 2 Hindu views on Euthanasia • Helping someone to end their pain is performing a good deed, which fulfils moral obligations • Ending a life disturbs the timing of the cycle of death and rebirth. Those involved in the euthanasia will take on the remaining karma of the patient. Catholicism and Euthanasia • Birth and death should be respected, as they are part of the life process given to us by God. • Human beings are valuable and possess intrinsic dignity and worth, regardless of mental or physical abilities. • We should care for those who are dying, as well as those close to them, and offer the best palliative care. Catholic Views on Euthanasia • To suggest euthanasia for oneself or another is to judge that the current life of an individual is not worthwhile. • The process of dying should not be disrupted, as it is a spiritually important one. Such an interruption would interrupt the process of one’s spirit moving towards God.