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Euthanasia and Religion

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Euthanasia and Religion

Euthanasia is the inducement of a gentle and easy death. It is

considered to be a form of suicide. Yet the procedure requires the

assistance of a third party, due to the potential incapacity of the

individual requesting this procedure be carried out. The case could

then be turned into one of homicide. As a result of this, it is

incredibly difficult to find an individual who is willing to aid in

the conduct of euthanasia, as they could face prosecution in a

criminal court on the charge of murder.

Patients who request euthanasia are often motivated by terminal

illness. They appreciate that further medical treatments are unable to

cure, or deacelerate, the illness. They also wish to preserve their

dignity and conclude their painful suffering. Another example where a

patient may want to opt for euthanasia, is when health authorities

suggest they go into a hospice especially designed to cope with their

illness. A wish to maintain their independence, along with the desire

not to continue to be a burden on other family members, then becomes

the motivation.

Perspectives on the ethical issues are vastly variable on this topic,

across the social spectrum. An argument against the practice of

euthanasia, commonly starts with religion. The sixth commandment in

the Christian Bible states, 'Thou shalt not kill'. This implies that

the act would be committed with violence; a criminal act, where the

victim believes that they have a life worth living and would prefer

not to be killed. There would have been no comforting way to induce

death at the time when the Bible was written. Euthanasia however, is

mercy killing. A death where the recipient believes their life is not

worth living and they want an end to their suffering. Thanks to modern

medicines, the end of suffering can be carried out in a humane way.

Therefore to directly associate this commandment to euthanasia is

misleading and the text should rather read, 'Thou shalt not help to

die'.

A majority of the religious opposition to euthanasia comes from the
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