Free Essay Example. Ethical Dilemma: Euthanasia

Published: 2023-03-26
Free Essay Example. Ethical Dilemma: Euthanasia
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Euthanasia Christianity Ethical dilemma Social issue
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1363 words
12 min read

Ethical dilemmas, which are also referred to as moral dilemmas, apply to situations that entail a choice between two options, where neither of the alternatives resolves the situation in an ethically acceptable manner. Therefore, such a case implies that society, as well as the personal ethical guidelines, cannot offer a satisfactory outcome. Ethical dilemmas tend to assume that the chooser will abide by the moral norms and societal codes if law and religious teachings to make a choice that is as ethical as possible (Grand Canyon University, 2017). Numerous ethical concerns are prevalent in the world, such as euthanasia, abortion, birth control, and homosexuality, among others. In this review, the ethical dilemma of euthanasia will be explored. Although people should be allowed to die with dignity in a civilized society and be given the freedom to decide for their lives, euthanasia is opposed by Christian teachings which argue that life is a gift from God, and only He can take it away.

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Ethical Dilemma

The case involves Joni, a quadriplegic who was paralyzed from her shoulder downwards when she was seventeen. This happened while she was swimming with friends at the Chesapeake Bay, where she misjudged the depth of the water and fractured her vertebrae upon diving. Joni has undergone severe psychological problems and depression that made her think of ending her life. She felt that she could not accomplish anything like a human in that weakened state. As a result, her quality of life has significantly deteriorated and is living a life of hardship and misery. The ethical issue, in this case, is that Joni could be granted her wishes of being euthanized. The problem is that euthanasia presents a moral and religious ethical dilemma that is forbidden even in law. However, Joni is suffering, and there is no justification for letting her suffer, yet there is no hope for her life. In a civilized society, people should be alleviated of pain and accorded dignity even at death. Based on the situation, and the core values and beliefs, there is no option that is absolutely morally justified, hence presenting an ethical dilemma.

Core Beliefs

One of the Christian worldview beliefs is the sixth commandment that states, "Thou shall not kill" (Exodus 20:13 NIV). According to Christian teaching, the commandment prohibits murder or abridgment of life by any actions to other human beings. In this regard, engaging in euthanasia and facilitating information on how Joni can end her life is engaging in activities that facilitate the ending of human life, which is against the sixth commandment.

Additionally, human life possesses an intrinsic dignity as well as a value since humans were created in the image of God. In this regard, they have a distinct destiny with God in his life. All human life is equally valuable regardless of the individual situation on earth (Shane, 2018). The human value and dignity cannot be measured on mobility, achievements in life, and intelligence. People who are incapacitated have equal importance with the rest. Therefore, taking away Joni's life would be devaluing human life, which is against the teachings.

Another Christian belief, in this case, is the importance of suffering as part of the Christian life, as illustrated in the Bible. In Romans 5:3, Apostle Paul teaches that "rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance." While weeping in agony in a hospital bed is not easy, the Bible teaches that it is part of the journey to be with the maker. Besides, birth and death were created by God hence should be respected (Cherry, 2018). No human, including self, should interfere with God's processes. Therefore, proposing euthanasia for suffering Joni would be implying her life is not worthwhile and interfering with God's methods, which is against his commands.


Based on the scripture passages and the theological discussions, it seems that the best solution for this case is not to facilitate euthanasia on Joni but to provide the best care to her. Joni should be counselled regarding the importance of her life, and how to be joyful even in suffering as the Bible teaches. Although it can be considered to be an act of compassion, the killing cannot be considered to be a means of caring for the person. The family members and the caregivers of Joni has a responsibility to care for her, just like the community has a duty to care for people who are in terminal illnesses. The best palliative care should be provided to Joni. Although it may not solve the suffering that she is going through, it will give meaning to the value of life according to the Christian teachings.


The Roman Catholic teaches that no one has a right to take away one's life deliberately. No person should facilitate the death of anyone, including self for whatever reason. Besides, suffering is inevitable for human beings, which was demonstrated even by Jesus on the cross. Jesus, being God, would have eased his pain and suffering. However, the Bible as noted in the Gospel of Saint Mark 15:23 teaches that Jesus did so as an example for the human race. Besides, James 1:2-4 teaches, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." This Christian illustration shows that Christians should be encouraged to rejoice in suffering and not take away their lives (DiVincenzo, 2014). Life is sacred as per the Christian teachings, and only God can decide when to take it away. Therefore, the Christian teachings forbid Joni or anyone to facilitate euthanasia on her.


Euthanasia in the case of Joni, could be viewed differently from an atheist viewpoint. Although atheists may point out some dangers associated with euthanasia, they recognize that the freedom of an individual and the right to decide overrides the dangers that could be related to the process. As such atheists may argue that Joni has a right to choose when to die or how to die, considering that she is in immense pain and suffering.

The atheists' argument is different from the Christian viewpoint regarding the value of human life. According to Biblical teachings, all human life is equally important, including for the old, terminally sick, and the physically handicapped. Therefore, every human life should be respected, as only God can decide when to end someone's life. Although human beings are free beings, Christianity teaches that freedom does not extend to terminating one's life, as human life is a gift from God.


The analysis presents a moral dilemma regarding the value of human life and the significance of suffering. Joni is terminally ill, and, hence she feels that she is a bother to caregivers and has no value to society. For that reason, she has considered ending her life. However, euthanasia has been an ethical dilemma for Christians considering many factors at play. Christianity bases its teachings from the Bible, which argues that pain and suffering are part of human life. The same Christianity argues that life is sacred, implying that as a gift from God, no one should take it away. However, the challenge would be viewed differently by atheists who argue that every person has a right to decide, especially when in suffering. Yet, such dilemmas have moral implications in society regardless of the choice that is made.


Cherry, M. (2018). Physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia: how not to die as a Christian. Christian Bioethics, 24(1), 1-16.

DiVincenzo, A. (2014). The beginning of wisdom: An introduction to Christian thought and life. Phoenix, Arizona: Grand Canyon University.

Grand Canyon University. (2017). CWV-101 Topic 7 Overview: Living with purpose. Retrieved from:

Shane, S. (2018). Beliefs in and about God and attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. Journal of Religion and Health, 57(3), 1020-1037.

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