|Type of paper:
|Euthanasia Christianity Ethical dilemma Social issue
In the medical world, euthanasia is still a strong medial concern among many health professionals. It aims to reduce suffering among patients who are known to have very little or no chance of survival, for instance, those with neurodegenerative diseases. Christians also have a very different view of euthanasia. Besides being unethical in its sense, it violates the Biblical teachings on the secrecy of life and the need to respect the gift of life. The Bible forbids murder in all its forms, and euthanasia is a form of murder. Also in forbids one to take his own life, as it is not anyone's to take but only God who is the giver of life. In this paper, we shall discuss the concept of death and dying, using the case of George and relate it with the Christian worldview on the same concept.
How George interprets his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world
Suffering is a great mystery to many, and it all began from the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Man was no longer to enjoy mortality, but instead, go through death and return to the earth where he came from (Shelly & Miller, 2009). When man fell, death began as God had to kill a lamb to offer them something to cover their nakedness. The leaves of trees began to fall, indicating that death had been stricken into the earth. Suffering began, from when Adam was punished and chased out of the garden to fend for himself and his family, and Eve was punished by suffering during childbearing. Suffering as we know has been a constant enemy of man from Genesis, and today it still lives with us (Meilaender, 2013). Jesus, the son of God, went through suffering because of our sins. Therefore suffering is part of our existence in this world and George should interpret it as a stage that all humans must go through until when Jesus will come to restore the earth.
The Bible and the history of the church help to illustrate suffering, and thus gives hope to those who are enduring it. Early Christians were prosecuted and oppressed and went through suffering defending their faith, and spreading the Gospel. Our culture in today's world concentrates a lot of effort to avoid suffering, and when it becomes unbearable, many opt for euthanasia to relieve the suffering of the person (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Our culture also convinces and emphasizes that one deserves what he orshe gets, and the philosophy is fine as long as we are successful and affluent. When one fails and suffers a dilapidating illness as in the case of George, even Christians who have a deep trust in the grace of God may assume that they have done something wrong or they deserve the problems that befall them. It can be assumed that George in the case study is going through the same dilemma, because his life, once perfect has been reduced to hopelessness. The concept of karma as Hindus put it, as punishment because of what we have done is not a Christian perspective (Shelly & Miller, 2009).
How George would interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection
Suffering is not good, and no one loves to suffer. Jesus is the son of God cried in Gethsemane and asked God to relieve him of the cup of suffering that he was going to endure. This indicates that suffering is indeed evil and through Jesus dying on the cross and rising again, he brought good as He demonstrated His love for us, and he restored hope (Meilaender, 2013). In Jesus' resurrection Christians get a renewed hope, that after suffering through death, there is hope in the resurrection and being united with our loved ones. It is, therefore, the duty of every Christian to care for those who are suffering (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Although George's illness gets worse by the day, it is his duty as a Christian to adhere to medications to slow down the progress of his disease.
The story of Job in the Bible also emphasizes on hope during suffering and the perfect will of God. Job lost everything, including all his children and on top of it all, he suffered a very bad disease that made his body weak (Meilaender, 2013). Even when his wife asked him to mock God and die, he refused, because he knew that God is the provider of everything, as well as the taker. He knew that taking his life was a sin even when he was enduring great suffering. He knew that God was testing his faith, and he held on His perfect will and he was restored everything tenfold. The story of Job is a valuable lesson to every Christian, that even amid great suffering, it is important to hold on and wait for the perfect will of God. George, in this case, should understand that even when confined in a wheelchair, his wife and son have someone to look up to. Considering that he was a supportive and loving husband and father in his good health, the family holds on to that and it gives them hope when they see him suffering at such great lengths without considering euthanasia (Shelly & Miller, 2009).
As George contemplates life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), how would the Christian worldview inform his view about the value of his life as a person?
Life is sacred, and only God is the provider of life, therefore having the opportunity to be alive at all time is precious. Human life should not be extended by all the medical means possible, but the person should not be killed intentionally (Hogan & Velez, 2013). It is the duty d doctors to help patients die a dignified death from natural causes but should not take their lives or help them kill themselves as they violate the Christian teachings on the importance of preserving life. As Christian, it is important to know that we are mortals but through Jesus, God has given us eternal life, meaning that even in death, we are alive. At some point in our lives, we shall die and many people die during care in a health facility or at home but that does not mean that one has failed (Hogan & Velez, 2013).
We should be good stewards of life, and through the care of our bodies through good nutrition, exercise, abstaining from drugs, avoiding dysfunctional relationships among other healthy choices. George, in this case, should adhere to medication as an act of stewardship to his life, even if he may not recover (Hogan & Velez, 2013). He knows that at some point he will die, but premature death through euthanasia is not a Christian ethic. George must choose life, to enable his descendants to live in hope and loving God, as well as obeying him and holding on fast to him for the length of days gifted to him.
What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
The Bible is very clear on the fact that suicide is not acceptable by God, although it is a way out of suffering (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Suffering is a mystery that cannot be controlled or understood fully, however it is critical that one trusts in God's unlimited love and compassion. As Christian caregiver, we must provide comfort, hope, and compassion for those who are suffering, without hope of recovering as in the case of George (Meilaender, 2013). Euthanasia should not be an option as it is only upon God to determine when a person should die, and what one can do it to provide comfort by keeping the patient clean, controlling pain and positioning them in a comfortable position (Hogan & Velez, 2013). It is also our duty to discontinue any form of futile heroics and treatments that are unnecessarily painful.
Jesus is the only one who can sustain one in the face of suffering and death, otherwise, it would overcome us. Death is an enemy with deceptive strategies, and it preys among the weak, and those who lack self-control (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Judas in the Bible, upon betraying Jesus, decided to take his life upon realizing his mistake. Satan took advantage of his weakness and lured him into death. God's initial plan was not death, but Satan provoked it by making man disobey God. The acts of disobedience brought about death in this world. But it as a Christian, we should let one die naturally, rather than encouraging one to take Satan's bait of euthanasia. We must encourage others to preserve life even when they are going through enormous suffering (Meilaender, 2013).
Based on the values and considerations above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?
The morally justifiable course of action based on the Christian worldview is to adopt the treatment options that are known to slow down the degenerative process of ALS. It is only ethical that he respects his family, by not giving up so quickly on his condition given that there are people who can live up to ten years with the condition (Meilaender, 2013). What George can do is hope that medications will help him to lead a normal healthy life, for some time before being confined to a wheelchair. Euthanasia corrupts medical ethics as it encourages the use of tools of healing for killing. This means that the doctor-patient relationship is compromised because patients may no longer trust the undivided commitment of caregivers to preserve the life and health of their patients (Sullivan & Taylor, 2018).
George can serve as an example to many that euthanasia is not an ultimate solution to suffering, because it not only corrupts Christian morals but also harms the culture of family and intergenerational obligations (Hogan & Velez, 2013). The temptation that George will be viewed as a burden in the future by his family increases. That makes people view euthanasia as the only option of reducing such a burden in the future. Much as it can be justified, the guilt that comes with such acts is immeasurable and the consequences of such guilt for instance depression may last a lifetime thus affecting the quality of life of an individual permitting euthanasia (Sullivan & Taylor, 2018).
The decision I would you make if you were in George's situation
For the sake of family and the society that looks up to, I would take the option of taking drugs that would delay the degeneration process of ALS. It might be a bitter pill to swallow but set a good example to my family and others in the community. Euthanasia is the easiest way out of suffering for any individual who knows the type of suffering they would undergo through but it violates both the Christian and the medical code of preserving the lives of others to the end. Much as ALS is painful, it is critical to hold on to the perfect will of God and wait for his time to take life.
In conclusion, George's case study tests the limits of Christian faith in keeping God's commandments regarding life and upholding the moral teachings as illustrated by Jesus. Suffering is part and parcel of Christian life but set a good example by holding on to the teachings of Christ as the ultimate hope in suffering. Today's world offers alternatives to suffering which go against the Biblical teachings thus it is important to recognize such teachings amidst our areas of practice. Although euthanasia is justified by scientists, it goes against the perfect will of God. Therefore, as Christians, it is critical that we defend our values and provide care to the affected as our ultimate duty to relieve suffering from others.
Hogan Jr, W. J., & Velez, J. R. (2013). Invoking Shared Beliefs in End-of-Life Decision Making. AMA Journal of Ethics, 15(3), 193-197.
Meilaender, G. (2013). Bioethics: A Primer for Christians. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2009). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing. InterVarsity Press.
Sullivan, D. M., & Taylor, R. M. (2018). The Ethical Landscape of Assisted Suicide: A Balanced An...
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