Nursing professionals diagnosed George with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). George is considering the possibility of voluntary euthanasia. Different government across the globe have come up with policies some in support of euthanasia while others are illegalizing the activity whether active or positive euthanasia (Wong et al,. (2018).The same scenario reflects in different religions across the world. It raises the question of the ethical issues surrounding euthanasia primarily to the medical practitioners who are faced with the dilemma of granting the patient their wishes and their moral duty as human beings (Benedict & Shields, 2014).
World view on euthanasia
In the emerging secular pluralistic societies, patients have the right of autonomy. This is right to self-determination. Many ethicists of different philosophical background are comfortable with voluntary euthanasia.
Suffering results from humoral imbalance, violation of code of conduct and bad karma
Hinduism attributes the state of wellbeing to humoral balance which is bile, wind and phlegm and the moral conduct and devotion to God. Diseases and sufferings originate from the following factors; humoral imbalance, karma, unethical behavior and violation of codes of conduct. Further, lack of faith, neglect of religious duties and demonic possession result to disease and suffering. Lack of faith and refusal to perform religious duties results to withdrawal of divine protection which gives way to demonic attacks and consequences of karma which are not time bound. A person’s misconduct can affect the offspring. Congenital malformations are associated with the impact of the misdeed committed in the past by the same body part, and the person suffers the consequences.
Sufferings are satanic oppressions
Christianity which draws its references from the bible refers to sufferings and malady as satanic oppression (Acts 10:38). From the bible, God created human beings and all the universe, and it was good. Suffering is the consequence of sin, after the fall of man (Genesis3:16-19), sin became part of human life. Disobedience to God results in suffering (acts5:1-10), Ananias and Sapphira were struck by illness when they lied to the holy spirit by keeping some of the proceedings of the sales they had made. Suffering and diseases as in the book of Job is a test of one’s faith to God by Satan and a person with faith in God overcomes these temptations. Sickness also comes from demonic spirits (Luke 13:10-17), Jesus heals a woman with the evil spirit of infirmity that caused her back to deform and bend for 18 years. Sickness and suffering are also as a result of sinful eating of the Lords supper as it is in (1 Corinthians 11:29), defilement of the temple of God and as a trial in our lives to use the experience to help others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Sickness and malady may be attributed to once time dies approaching and God plans to be that way.(2 Kings 13:14). Christianity views suffering and malady both as plans of Satan and the will of God.
Suffering and disease is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary problem for which many causes are social determinants. Its cause can be genetic, diet, infectious agents and viruses.
In Hinduism, life is sacred
The Hindu teaches that the entire universe should be looked upon as the Lord. It views all life existence as sacred, all the aspects of the earth including human beings appear as a single aspect. Therefore all the conditions must be maintained, and efforts channeled towards the common good of the universe. Explanations regarding causation of the diseases and sufferings exist. But the person cannot submit to the afflictions and illnesses without attempting the cure. It allows for medical interventions such as surgery and has a series of rituals and taboos and sacraments that start before birth and continue after death to mark the progress of life. Hinduism also advocates for its people to do good, seek medical health and be faithful to promote longevity of health thus life. However, reasoned suicide is allowed in highly selected circumstances to attain release and end of the cycle of rebirth (Nimbalkar, 2007).
In Christianity, life is sacred
Therefore, the value of human life cannot be the measurement by human beings because it is derived from God Himself. According to the Bible (Genesis 9:5-6, Romans 13:1-17), the person who takes the life of another will be held accountable and punished by God. Christianity teaches that human life begins and conception (Psalms 139:13), David talks about how God made his body parts while in his mother’s womb. As a result of the fall of man, death is inevitable for all people (Roman5:12-14), and suffering, illness, and pain accompany the process of healing. According to the commandment (Exodus20:13), the 6th commandments forbid anyone from killing. Life is sacred, and it is only God who gives and takes life.
Hinduism, fate of partaking in euthanasia is determined by its effect on karma
Hinduism offers various views on euthanasia which is a way of ending someone’s life to relieve the person from painful death and suffering. Hinduism refers to human life as sacred and teaches on the ahimsa (do no harm) and also teaches on the effects of karma and moral obligation of a person or a doctor. Taking personal life or someone’s life leads to separation of the soul and the body at unnatural life, the result damages the karma of the person who takes his life and the person who kills.
Moral duties and responsibility (dharma), the Hindus have a moral obligation to take care of the members of their community. Helping to end a painful death is regarded as a moral responsibility and therefore a good deed.
If the person is unable to perform normal bodily purification, death appears imminent, and the decision declared publicly, the person can end his life. This method should be peaceful and use natural means; the person should be allowed to prepare himself and those around him, it should be associated with serene feelings and only performed when it is the right time to end the life, that is when the body has served its purpose, and it is rendered useless.
Christianity, euthanasia is a sin
The Christian religion is opposed to euthanasia, and it regards it as a deadly sin. Biblical teachings refer to life as sacred. Life is beyond human understanding, and all human beings are God’s creation not products of a random process. All people are responsible to God for their actions. According to Sharp, (2018) God is the only giver of life, and it is him alone who can take the life. Suffering should evoke the feeling of compassion and care and euthanasia should not be a way out.
Euthanasia is morally unacceptable unless under particular circumstances
From Hinduism perspective, euthanasia is morally unacceptable unless under particular circumstances. George lives in fear that he may not be able to attend to himself when the disease worsens. However, there is medical intervention available for him to consider before resorting to euthanasia. There is also life beyond the current situation, and the primary target is to free oneself from the cycle of death and rebirth. George should, therefore, seek medical care, be faithful and do good to offset himself the sickness. Euthanasia should be the last resort when his body is rendered useless, and he is ready to undergo euthanasia.
God is the only giver and taker of life
From the Christian point of view, George has the responsibility to live the life given by God without fear because it is Him alone that can take his life. He should instead focus on the positive impact that he will have on the other Christians through the sufferings he has to go through. He has no right to take his life; he should, therefore, endure the pain because it will all come to an end. It is a sin and punishable.
Technological advancement can help ease the pain of George
With the increase in technological advancement, more sophisticated medical procedures are available, and more have been designed to help alleviate the pain and suffering and prolong life. People who are suffering from the various diseases should allow the doctors and caregivers to perform their roles. People get healed of illnesses that had no cure. We all have a moral obligation to protect life. Life is sacred, and only the one who gave life is allowed to take it. Euthanasia which is a form of killing someone is immoral and punishable. Euthanasia is a form injustice to humanity. George should enable doctors to do their part and live to die when it is time.
It is our moral responsibility to protect life and care for the sick. We should use all available methods to provide care. We also have ethical values that guide our daily lives and routine; we should resort to procedures and practices that are ethical and aim towards the preservation of life rather than its end.
Nimbalkar, N. (2007). Euthanasia: the Hindu perspective. In National Seminar on Bio Ethics (pp. 24-25).
Wong, W. T., Phua, J., & Joynt, G. M. (2018). Worldwide end-of-life practice for patients in ICUs. Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, 31(2), 172-178.
Dowbiggin, I. (2007). A concise history of euthanasia: life, death, God, and medicine. Rowman & Littlefield.
Ahaddour, C., Van den Branden, S., & Broeckaert, B. (2017). “God Is The Giver And Taker Of Life”. Muslim Beliefs And Attitudes Regarding Assisted Suicide And Euthanasia. AJOB empirical bioethics, (just-accepted), 00-00.
Sharp, S. (2018). The bible and attitudes towards voluntary euthanasia. Death studies, (just-accepted).
Benedict, S., & Shields, L. (Eds.). (2014). Nurses and Midwives in Nazi Germany: the” euthanasia programs” (Vol. 20). Routledge.