The sanctity of life describes what Christians believe about the life God created for them. The sanctity of life basically means that life itself is a gift, and that gift is from God, therefore only God can take it away. The word sanctity means purity and that life is holy and special. Christians believe that life is the ultimate gift that can be given to humans on Earth, they treat it with the utmost respect and it is treasured.
The sixth commandment itself states that ‘you shall not murder,’ this is in the book of Exodus (chapter 20 verse 13) and to seize another person’s life is a sin against God. In the first chapter in the first book of the Bible it says that God created everything and so out of respect we should not harm our fellow humans. ‘God made man in his own image’ (Genesis1: 27)In thinking that life is precious Christians treat each other equally and fairly, without judgement, believing that all people are made in God’s image.
Therefore, if we are made in God’s image then we are precious ourselves, meaning that we are not to waste life or damage life. ‘Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you’, and also ‘Love your neighbours as you love yourself.’ (Mark12: 31)Christians understand that everyone is valuable in God’s eyes; the sanctity of life helps them to make important decisions in life and death circumstances such as euthanasia.
Christians’ opinion on euthanasia is supported by the sanctity of life. Some aspects of the sanctity of life are that life is God given and should not be destroyed. All human life is precious whether they have a disability or an unusual ability, all life is worthy of respect from others. God has a plan for every individual persons life, however small and insignificant people often feel.’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 temple.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)In Corinthians it means that every person’s body is a temple that belongs to God, ‘your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.’ If you harm yourself in any way on purpose you are harming God too. If you destroy yourself God will destroy you.”Life is sacred because it is created by God for a purpose, and that purpose comes to an end when you die. It’s not for you to choose the moment at which to die.”(Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist and social commentator).If a human is surviving only by being connected to a life support machine, is it morally right to end that person’s life. What might be a Christian response to this?Christians believe that life should not be held on to or prolonged. It is morally right if there is not any chance of that person being able to breathe without a life support machine, if God wants them to survive he will help them to breathe when the life support machine is turned off.In 1976 22-year-old Karen Ann Quinlan took a drug overdose, which left her in a PVS (Persistent Vegetative State). Finally after years of legal battles, Karen’s life support machine was turned off to allow her to die peacefully, but she surprisingly continued to breathe without the machine and stayed alive for several years.’PVS patients are living human beings, they possess the in eliminable worth and dignity of our common humanity. PVS patients are entitled to the ordinary care to which any impaired and vulnerable person is normally entitled.’ (Luke Gormally, the Linacre Centre)PVS is often not diagnosed very precisely; there is not much to distinguish if some one is in a deep coma of in a state of persistent vegetation. There are many patients who recover from being a PVS; if their life support machine was turned off they may not survive.Although it is unnatural to keep a person alive for an extensive amount of time, in the US, Nancy Kruzan’s parents made numerous appeals to remove Nancy’s support machine, it took them over seven years before they were allowed to do so. Nancy was in a PVS for a lengthened amount of time, in Christianity this is immoral.The Methodist church made a statement in 1974, involving euthanasia, they believe that even though a patient is dying they still require the same treatment as the non-dying, they are still people even though they may be able to speak or move like humans.”The argument for euthanasia will be answered if better methods of caring for the dying are developed. Medical skill in terminal care must be improved before death, loneliness must be relieved, patient and family must be supported by the statutory services and by the community. The whole of the patients needs, including the spiritual, must be met.”The Roman Catholic Church is against any form of suicide, whether it’s having an overdose of tablets or excluding treatment. The Church disagree with every intentional action to deliberately cause death is abusing God’s laws. Although they believe that you must only provide painkilling drugs to relieve pain and not a form of death, they feel that life should be maintained at all costs. Members of the Roman Catholic Church as Christians believe that it is God’s place and no one else’s to take life.It’s not only religious group and the medical profession but also the government agree that doctors should not use exceptional measures to extend life of terminally ill.”Man does not have the right to end his own or another’s life for the sake of avoiding possible suffering. We are stewards of our physical life, and God alone can determine when the power to take life shall be given to man.”(Dr Hew Morgan, GP and Christian).’No one can keep himself from dying or put off the day of his death.'(Ecclesiastes 8: 8)By turning off a life support machine, you are playing God’s part; if a human’s life is depending on the support from that machine to stay alive you are preventing that person from living. Although keeping someone plugged into a life support machine for an extended amount of time is also acting as God.If a machine has been living for a person for an extensive degree of time there is a pretty good chance that the person is dead, and has been dead for some time. If this were so, their soul would have already left the body and would be in Heaven or Hell depending on their activities in their life.When a person has been connected to a life support machine for a long period of time has a huge affect on the friends and family. This situation is more distressing as the person is neither dead nor alive, there is no body to bury but there is a person to mourn.’For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.’ (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4)There are many different Christian views on euthanasia, although generally people do not know if their view on the matter would change if they had to deal with the implications of the situation until they themselves were put in that position.”Why is it we are prepared to put animals out of their misery but not humans?”Do you agree with this statement, give reasons to your answers and refer to Christian viewpoints.In the Bible there isn’t even one verse, which portrays animals as equal to humans. God created both beautifully, with a great deal of care and attention, although humans are the only ones who actually have a relationship with God, who can ask him for help and guidance, for protection and thanks. The very first chapter of the Bible states that human are created in God’s image.The majority of humans are meat eaters, this meat comes from animals not humans, there isn’t lines of people waiting to be slaughtered, farmers breed animals for this soul purpose, these animals lead incredibly awful lives and don’t occupy the voices to complain.Animals can often become aggressive and consequently this may develop into a dangerous situation. It’s cruel to lock up an animal because they don’t have the capacity to understand what they have done wrong and why they are being punished. The only way to resolve the problem of mad animals is to put them down, whether this is fair or not it’s the best solution in the present world. Animals cannot defend themselves the way humans can, it is impossible for an animal to stand up in court and defend it’s rights.People look at murder as the ultimate crime in today’s world, if you commit a murder even manslaughter you are looking at life imprisonment, therefore you should go to prison if you turn a person’s life support machine off, as it is thought of as murder by many people.”I have never seen any nobility in a patient’s thrashing around all night in a sweat -soaked bed, trying to escape from the pain that torments him day and night. to my mind when the terminally ill patient has reached this stage, the best medical treatment is death.”(Dr Christiaan Barnard, heart-transplant surgeon).If an animal’s life ever became this horrific, humans would put them down long before. Animals cannot be comforted to the extent we can, their mind do not have the complexity humans obtain.’Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in numbers; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26-28)I believe that humans are created in God’s image and animals aren’t, consequently you cannot compare the two. Animal are not the same as Humans, they do not have the same level of intelligence. They don’t know right from wrong and they do not have a conscience, therefore people are much more important than animals.