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What are the arguments against the moral permissibility of physician assisted suicide...

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madisonmichele | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:21 AM via web

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What are the arguments against the moral permissibility of physician assisted suicide from a Christian perspective?

What are the arguments against the moral permissibility of physician assisted suicide from a Christian perspective?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:33 AM (Answer #2)

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The major argument against assisted suicide (or any kind of suicide, for that matter) from the Christian perspective is that suicide takes a decision that should be made only by God and allows people to make it.  In addition, the act of suicide is an act of desperation that shows a lack of faith in God.

To most Christians, life is a good thing and is a gift to us from God.  To this way of thinking, only God has the right to end a person's life.  Moreover, the idea that life is terrible and death is preferable is an insult to God because it is a rejection of the great gift he has given us.

To Christians, then, assisted suicide is immoral because it shows a lack of gratitude to, and faith in, God and because it takes for humans a decision that is only God's to make.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:50 AM (Answer #3)

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Physician-assisted suicide is also morally wrong because it places the physician in the position of being an accessory to the act. It's not solely the decision of an individual to end his/her life that's involved, but it's also obtaining assistance and/or support from the physician. Presumably a physician would be aware of what was being planned and would have previously made the personal decision to be a part of the plan, but it does open the door to physicians becoming unintentional participants. Even if their participation is intentional, the ethics of the Hippocratic Oath that prevents them from doing harm would be seriously compromised if they were to assist in a suicide.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 3:53 AM (Answer #4)

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It is against the law of God and against the law of man to take another's life.  Murder is murder.  There is no gray area...it is either black or white.  This is why Christians usually fall on the Pro Life side of the abortion argument, as well.   You can't put a fancy name on it and make it OK.  "Physician Assisted Suicide" is still murder.  Just as "suicide" is self-murder, and considered to be one of the worst crimes you can commit against God.  Most religions believe that those who commit murder spend an eternity in darkness because of this horrible moral crime. 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:24 AM (Answer #5)

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Suicide is a sin.  For anyone to help another person committ sucide is also a sin.  Therefore it is unChristian.  Assisted suicide is also musrder, which makes it doubly a sin.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:37 AM (Answer #6)

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I don't necessarily agree with the above post, but most conservative Christians would probably cite the most serious of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not kill." Many Christians would argue that helping someone to kill one's self would be breaking this commandment, damning themselves in the process.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:59 AM (Answer #7)

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I have to agree with the last post. Simplistically, "Thou shall not kill". While the assistant is not actually killing the other person, they are helping them to die. When looking at suicide in the Bible, I found a pretty relevant quote: God is the Creator of life (Genesis 1:20-28), while Satan holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) (http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/suicide.htm)
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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 5:52 AM (Answer #8)

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From a moral and especially from a religiously moral perspective, we can argue that life is sacred, and that humans should not determine, as individual or as groups, when life ends.  As a religious person, we could argue that the decision for life to end belong only to God, and to enact a law that allows physician-assisted suicide, or worse, to choose that path ourselves would be a crime against God and God's will.

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bigdreams1 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:00 AM (Answer #9)

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While I agree with the general sentiments above, and while I (as a Christian) do believe that a physician who gives advice or materials to a severely ill or depressed person that helps him or her commit suicide is breaking the "Thou shalt not kill" commandment, I can also certainly understand the desire to want to help someone put themselves out of pain.

My mother died this year after an excruciating battle with cancer, where she was pretty much comatose for the last month...with bouts of pain in her coherant hours.  My dad and my brother were adamant that they should have had the right to help her die (which was her wish), as they could not bear to see her in so much pain anymore.  I understood that...but my personal belief that only God can give or take life...kept me from agreeing.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM (Answer #10)

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The notes here I agree with. God gives life and one would believe that God takes it away in His time. However, man also takes the life of someone who has committed a capital crime, like murder, in some states. If the Ten Commandments say, "Thou shalt not kill," then shouldn't this pertain to all situations?

I'm playing devil's advocate here—if it is a judgment call, a decision made by society to punish evil doers, then some people are saying it's acceptable to practice capital punishment. If someone is in terrible pain, the question remains, except that this is not punishment, but release. However, if one is following the dictates of Christianity, killing another is wrong, and in the Roman Catholic Church, suicide, even attempted, is a mortal sin.

How do we feel comfortable drawing lines that are solid and immovable in some cases, and as firm as Jell-O in others? I find that if a rule is going to be made, it must be consistent. In that this comes up against Christianity, I don't know that this will ever happen. For to be true to religious law, taking a life is murder. This is a tricky point around which people try to maneuver.

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