Religious Arguments Against Euthanasia
The euthanasia debate is not only about mercy and love. It is also about one’s concept of life. You can look at life in a way to say I want to live a pain free life, so the euthanasia argument becomes the most logical conclusion i.e. when there is a certain amount of suffering I will stop living. What’s important is that I won’t suffer.
The Christian Vision Against Euthanasia
On the other hand, in the Christian vision what’s important is that I live. Suffering in life, is to be embraced with a free heart. It is what Jesus said “no one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” It is a conscious act of a decision that you are going to accept life as a gift. So one will not decide the specifications of this gift but accept the gift as it is.
If we live it in this way, our option will first be towards life not towards comfort. So, as a principle, euthanasia or suicide cannot be a favourable situation. We have done nothing to receive life and we should do nothing to take it away. Because if you accept that life is a gift, the gift itself decides the conditions.
This is why the euthanasia debate is so important. Because what’s important is that despite my pain I will remain near the person (e.g. my wife) who is so precious for me, so my pain becomes second. The opposite argument is that the pain becomes such a first that you are not a good reason enough for me that I remain alive. For the Christian, the main argument against euthanasia is even if I do not wish to remain alive for my own sake but there is another reason to remain alive – you – I will remain alive for the other person.
Fr Paul Chetcuti SJ
Published: September 2016