PHI 413 Reflect on the analysis of the sin of suicide and, thus, euthanasia from the topic readings
PHI 413 Reflect on the analysis of the sin of suicide and, thus, euthanasia from the topic readings
Suicide, the act of taking one’s life, and euthanasia, having someone assist in taking one’s life, is morally wrong and a sin in the Christian worldview. Euthanasia is further defined as causing or hastening the death of a patient to end pain and suffering. Euthanasia can be either active by administering lethal doses of drugs to end a life intentionally or passive by withholding medical treatment that would prolong life. Additionally, euthanasia can be voluntary by requesting someone end their life, involuntary when a patient refuses to have their life ended, and the request is not honored, or nonvoluntary when a patient’s life is ended, and their wishes are not known. Physician-assisted suicide is a voluntary/active euthanasia. The patient asks for assistance in ending their life, and the physician makes available a lethal dose of drugs to end the life.
As a Christian, I do not support suicide or euthanasia. Both are condemned in the Bible, and “it is a failure to faithfully acknowledge the sovereignty of God over life, death and even suffering at the end of life” (Hoehner, 2020). God determines the days of our life and the time of death. To commit suicide or request euthanasia is to “abandon one’s stewardship over Gods gift of life” (Hoehner, 2020).
I do not agree with the arguments of autonomy and dignity to justify euthanasia as they are fundamentally wrong.
I believe a patient has a right to make decisions over their healthcare but when those decisions cross the line of ethical principles, they must be denied. However, this denial does not mean the loss of dignity. Human dignity is based on being created in the image of God, and all humans have inherent worth.
As healthcare providers, we are morally bound by our commitments to prevent harm and do no harm to our patients. Physician-assisted suicide is ‘fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as a healer” (White, 2019) and their commitment to the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. For nurses, euthanasia is inconsistent with the core commitments of the nursing profession. The goal and meaning of medicine is to provide comfort and care to our patients; suicide is not a healing act, nor is it comfort and care. (Hoehner, 2020).
Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Health Care. https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/4
White, F. J. (2019). AMA says “no” to physician-assisted suicide. Real Clear Health. https://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2019/07/05/ama_says_no_to_physician_assisted_suicide_110923.html
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This was perhaps our most difficult topic for discussion. Many in our class have been hurt by the tragedy of suicide. Thank you for your contribution to our conversation.
In addition to the views expressed in the class lecture for this week, I would simply add that the details and circumstances that lead a person to such a tragic decision are of such varying intensity that a view of its significance should be approached with careful consideration of the emotional, spiritual, and physical conditions at that time. The “greatest darkness,” as Dr. Zacharias refers to it, varies in such intensity from person to person that it is impossible for one to fully grasp the pain of another at any given moment.
Nevertheless, in their fullest definition, suicide and euthanasia are symptomatic of humanity’s quest to alienate from our Creator and exert our own autonomy over His sovereignty. As we discussed at the beginning of this course, pain is a reality of living, and the God who is sovereign over all things is also providentially wise and merciful. To this we must acknowledge with the Apostle Paul, “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). “All things” must, by implication, include the moments of our “greatest darkness.”
Praying now for peace over you all.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], paragraph 2280:
Everyone is responsible for his life before God, who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master
of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are
stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. (p. 552)
Suicide in the Christian worldview is viewed as sinful and scandalous when the purpose of serving as an example (CCC para. 2282, p. 552). However, depending on the circumstances, suicide by the individuals suffering from “grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering or torture can diminish the responsibility of one committing suicide” (CCC, para 2282, p.552). Furthermore, those individuals who commit suicide should not give up hope at the prospect of eternal salvation because “God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance” (CCC, para. 2283, p. 552). Euthanasia, either by an active intent of “mercy killing” or passive intent in the lack of initiation of medical care to prevent death or purposefully withholding medical treatments and/or interventions, is also viewed by Christian and Judaism worldviews as sinful and highly immoral. My views align with the Christian worldview on euthanasia. I view a person’s actual intent to cause harm to another as wrong and against the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates of Kos, who practice to “do no harm.” My spiritual views of suicide- I find it incredibly heartbreaking when individuals attempt or succeed at suicide due to mental health conditions. I also feel part of the issue stems from the healthcare industry lacking the infrastructure and resources (Nationally and Globally) to render adequate care for all individuals suffering from a mental health condition. As a result, many people suffer, suffer alone, and are lost without help, guidance, and support. We as humans do not do enough for each other. For individuals who have a terminal medical condition, I respect their wishes; however, my views align with the American Nurses Association in providing “respectful, compassionate, and ethically responsible care at the end of life, including palliative care, so that patients do not seek assisted suicide as an alternative” (Frey & Blackwell 2018, para. 10).
Catholic Church. (1997). Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II (2nd ed.). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved from https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/552/
Frey, R. J., & Blackwell, A. H. (2018). Euthanasia. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), Gale virtual reference library: The Gale encyclopedia of nursing and allied health (4th ed.). Gale. Credo Reference: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegnaah/euthanasia/0?institutionId=5865
I agree with the author Hoehner that physician-assisted suicide, as in cases of euthanasia, which is sometimes called mercy killing, is an immoral practice and should be condemned by the medical profession (Hoehner, 2020). It is unethical for a physician to purposefully assist an individual in the process of ending their own life (Hoehner, 2020). Those who are against euthanasia believe in the preservation life and causing no harm to patients and view the preservation of life as an essential principle to the ethical practice of medicine, while others view euthanasia as essential in relieving a patients suffering (Frey & Blackwell, 2018).
I also believe that the patient has the autonomy and the basic right to decline medical treatment, and in those cases, it not considered unethical for the physician to respect the patient’s wishes which would ultimately result in their patient’s death (Hoehner, 2020).
I also agree with the belief of the American Nurses Association (ANA) that Euthanasia is inconsistent with the core commitments of the nursing profession as it profoundly violates our publics trust, and nurses are ethically prohibited from administering medical assistance in relation to any dying medications ( Hoehner, 2020).
The medical principle of ethics of autonomy related to health care providers having respect for their patients and their autonomy is applicable to most clinical situations but the other principles of medical ethics such as beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice must also be considered as well (Hoehner, 2020). Just because a person choses something, it does not mean it is alright, if their choice or decision is not of high moral principle or the ethical goals of medicine and society (Hoehner, 2020).
The sanctity of life according to the Christian worldview should not be compared with the pursuit of a long physical life at all costs (Hoehner, 2020). The act of withholding or withdrawing treatments is allowed under God’s sovereign and providential control (Hoehner, 2020). It is important that we accept the limitations that medicine and treatments offer us and the fact that there are limits to our earthly existence (Hoehner, 2020).
Suffering and death are the result of sin, and it is through suffering and the death of Jesus that the sense and purpose of a follower’s own suffering and death can be changed (Hoehner, 2020). God has made the promise that suffering can lead to ones spiritual growth (Hoehner, 2020). I believe in Hoehner’s description of the Christian Worldview “that every human being is made in the image of God and possesses innate dignity and worth regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, stage of development, or mental/physical functional capacity (Hoehner, 2020). This dignity and value are given by God and are therefore inviolable” and that a “human life has incalculable value because it is created, upheld, and sustained in spite of sin, redeemed by God, and is ultimately destined for eternal communion and glory with God ” (Hoehner, 2020).
Frey, R. J., & Blackwell, A. H. (2018). Euthanasia. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), Gale virtual reference library: The Gale encyclopedia of nursing and allied health (4th ed.). Gale. Credo Reference: https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegnaah/euthanasia/0?institutionId=5865Refer to the lecture and topic readings in your response.
Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Health Care. https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/4.