Death is something that all religions have to deal with. Each religion has a specific way of dealing with death. In the case study ‘Case Study: End of Life Decisions’, George is a very successful, active person in his mid-fifties that has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In the case study George has a teenage son and is involved in his basketball league. The diagnosis has devastated George, he knows that eventually he will loss all his independence and have to rely on others to take care of him.
In this paper I will cover two different religions backrounds and their views on disease and suffering, value of a persons life and euthanasia. The two religions I will use in Christianity and Hinduism.
Suffering and death was never God’s original plan. The Bible says that we are made to live forever. Death is not the end it is the start of another existence.
The book of Psalms states “The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me. And horror has overwhelmed me” (Psalm 55:4-5). The biggest fear with death is the unknown and suffering. Jesus said he was the “resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). He came to set us free from the fear of death and to give us hope (Hebrews 2:15). He has abolished eternal death for those who believe in Him and will one day destroy physical death (1 Corinthians 15:26). There will be no death in Heaven (Luke 20:26, Revelation 21:4).
The Word of God tells us this life is short and we shouldn’t get too attached. One day we will be face of Jesus and everything we have experienced and not understood is going to make sense, there will be no more disease, death and funerals. We belong on this earth as long as God wills it and there is work for us to do (Philippians 1:21-26); after that we will make the transition to Heaven. If you believe God sent his son Jesus to die for are sins ending your life with the assistance of a physician, or using other means of taking your own life is not the godly solution to a teminal health condition. God allows us to build faith in him through suffering. Christians believe if you take your own life, or have someone assist you it violates the Sixth Commandment of “do not murder.” Anyone who takes a human life, even their “own,” without His authority, will be held responsible by God. God can forgive. Jesus told us we are not to tempt or test God (Matthew 4:7).
Hindu faith encourages people to die in their homes not in hospitals. Hindus often bring the terminally ill home to die peacefully around their family and loved ones. Love ones will keep a vigil until the moment of passing by singing, praying and reading scriptures, it is also done in the hospital in there is no alternative. Fearing death is natural and results from a fear of the unknown. According to Hindu belief, people with a terminal illness should tell their loved ones so they can prepare for their loved one’s death and be happy for them. Death is the fulfillment of this life and a chance for a better reincarnation, a chance to learn new Karmic Lessons and to move closer to Moksha. Hindus also believe that death must happen naturally and at the proper time. Prolonging life artificially would cause the soul to remain on earth past its natural time. Hindu belief doesn’t support ending life articially. Hinduism warns that the consequences of ending your life will bring bad karma with serious complications for your liberation and rebirth.
How would each religion interpret the nature of George’s malady and suffering? Is there a “why” to his disease and suffering? (i.e., is there a reason for why George is ill, beyond the reality of physical malady?)
Christianity belief is that George is being tested by God. This is God given George to prove his faith in that the Lord has a bigger plan for him.
Hunduism belief is that everything happen when it is supposed to and George will not suffer past his natural time.
In George’s analysis of his own life, how would each religion think about the value of his life as a person, and value of his life with ALS?
Christianity believes that George should understand he is not in this alone God will be by his side.
Hunduism believes that George should see this as a fulfillment of this life.
What sorts of values and considerations would each religion focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
Both religions don’t believe in euthanasia.They state that you should let the illness run its course. The one difference is that Hunduism believe in not prolonging life artificially.
Given the above, what options would be morally justified under each religion for George and why?
With both religions George should trust that God has a bigger plan for him. They call for George to have faith and God does everything for a reason.
Finally, present and defend your own view.
I believe that George shouldn’t even consider euthanasia. In my opinion it is against Gods master plan when you basically commit suicide. I would like to think if I was in George’s situation I would have faith in God, its easy to say I would when i’m not going through it. Also it’s easy to say you would believe and have faith in God when you are in the early stages of the disease, as your health deteriorates you may lose faith.