The word sanctity literally means sacred, special or precious. The phrase ‘sanctity of life’ is the concept that human life is extra-special and precious, and should be protected in every possible way.According to the teachings of Christianity, all life belongs to God. As we can see in the Christian story of creation (Genesis), God created the first man, Adam, and then created the first woman, Eve.”Then the lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it, he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.” (Genesis 1:27)Christians believe that God, as the creator of all, is the only one who has the right to take or give human life in any circumstance.”The lord kills and restores to life, he sends people to the world of dead and brings them back again.” (I Samuel 2:6)In many sections of the bible, we can see Jesus performing miracles to help people. This supports the idea that not only human life itself is precious, but also the quality of human life is also very important in the eyes of God and his son, Jesus.Throughout the bible there are several demonstrations of human life being protected by Jesus. An example of this is where Jesus stops a woman who has committed adultery from being stoned to death. This implies that although the woman has actually sinned by breaking one of the Ten Commandments, he still values her life to the extent where he is willing to persuade people to spare her. Such actions can only support the Christian idea that life belongs to God and no other human has the right to take a life.Despite the obvious inclination towards the protection of human life in the New Testament, there appears to be a few contradictions to this in the Old Testament.”Anyone who commits murder shall be put to death… The principle is a life for a life.” (Leviticus 24:17-18)In the Old Testament, there appears to be more of an inclination towards the idea of retribution – anyone who has committed a murder shall be murdered themselves, for example.A possibility as to why this could be is that the attitudes towards death at the time of the writing of the Old Testament were quite different to what they were at the time of the New Testament. During the time of the Old Testament, the people were still quite primitive and the writings perhaps are a reflection of the violence during that particular period. God would have accepted that a religion being introduced with ideas so radical that they would attempt to change the whole attitude of society completely would probably not be accepted. However, during Jesus’ time, people were more accepting of the message of Christianity and more ready for a peaceful environment and less violent society.”Murder defiles the land, and except the death of the murderer there is no way to perform the ritual of purification for the land where a man has been murdered.” (Numbers 35:33)This quote could be used to argue that life was still regarded as being precious and sacred because murder was seen as something punishable only by death, which is probably the most severe penalty anyone could pay.The biggest and perhaps most important suggestion that life is sacred according to the bible is one of the Ten Commandments, issued by God himself.”Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20-21)This is a very definite statement which clearly supports the idea that if a human takes another human’s life they are going against the will of God. From this perspective, if God is so against killing that he issues it as one of the ten rules for every human to live by, He obviously sees human life of uppermost importance.Within Christianity today there is the concept of ‘Just War’. For any war to be considered just in the eyes of Christianity, it must comply with all of the conditions of ‘Just War’. The conditions of ‘Just War’ suggest that life in general is sacred, but in certain circumstances it can be justified to kill. Although it could be argued that ‘Just War’ is going against the teachings about the sanctity of life in Christianity, it also has to be recognized that in some situations in the modern world killing has to be performed in order to save the life of others. ‘Just War’ tries to reflect the attitudes towards death and murder today as well as comply with the teachings of Christianity, just as the Old Testament reflected the attitudes towards violence during it’s time and the New Testament reflected attitudes towards life and death in it’s time.”Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that his temple.” (I Connthians 3:16,17)This quotation demonstrates clearly that God considers human life to be extremely precious and valuable. It also shows that according to the bible, each person has a little bit of God in themselves and that by murdering another human we are in fact conflicting directly with God. Obviously to conflict with God is not something a true Christian would wish to do.We can also see that the quotation supports the idea that because God made all human life and put a little bit of his own spirit into each human, it is much more valuable than the life of any other animal on this planet. As humans we are the children of God and he obviously values our lives much more than he does any other life because in ourselves we have a little bit of him.One aspect of Christian belief that suggests that human life is extra-special is that if a human follows the Christian faith they will eventually gain eternal life with God in Heaven. Obviously, God would not allow a human soul to enter heaven if he did not consider their lives to be of great worth.According to the teachings of Islam, human life is sacred. Islam supports the teachings of the Old Testament, and so it’s ideas that God created life would be the same as those within Christianity.
Describe the teachings about the sanctity of life according to Christianity and Islam Essay
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