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EUTHANASIA

Voluntary euthanasia - the terminally ill patient freely asks to be killed by the doctor who obliges.
 
Non-voluntary euthanasia - when the terminally ill patient is mercy killed but could not consent perhaps due to being in a coma.
 
Assisted dying - when a terminally ill person is given the means to take their own lives.
 
Assisted suicide - is deliberately giving another the means to take their lives even though they are not terminally ill.
 
Euthanasia is ending the life of a person who is dying to spare them further unbearable suffering.
 
The Church allows killing a patient with say morphine to kill the pain. The Church says this is not murder for the person is dying anyway and the morphine is intended to kill the pain not the person though it will make the person die faster. To make the person die faster it has to help kill the person. So if somebody is full of arsenic through their own hand and you come along and give them another bit and it kills them it is not murder! To give the morphine is murder if you believe life is more important than happiness which is the logic behind the ban on euthanasia. Grown people don’t need this abusive two-faced morality and if they commit murder they have to feel persecuted by the Church and state and by God if they accept it. It makes people feel good about shielding murderers. The Church still persecutes on religious grounds today. Thanks to the law, it has as fewer opportunities to do that today but it still manages to do it. When you say anything is wrong then you are asserting the right to make your condemnation law because the law has many rules that ban things both serious and minor. In other words, if the law has the right to ban street-drinking when it could be controlled then it has the right to ban condom machines for God supposedly says birth-control is wrong. That is why it is so important that we destroy superstitious morality.

 

Boyle in Christianity is Not Great says that life is not an instrumental good - we do not value life because it can be used to achieve good things. Boyle's argument is that life is not valuable because it is a means of obtaining other goods but is good in itself. Life is intrinsically valuable. That is to say the preservation of life is justified by the preservation of life and nothing further. This amounts to saying that if there is a choice between somebody being tortured to the extreme for all eternity and putting them out of their misery then keep them alive. People need to feel the horror of this doctrine. If they do they will abandon the Christian faith.

 

Opposition to euthanasia implies that human life is of supreme value which is exactly what Boyle is saying. But the opponents are mostly inconsistent. They say that a patient has the right to refuse therapies and treatments that are reasonably certain to prolong his life. And they say the doctor is not obligated o give the dying patient treatments to keep him alive longer. This is passive assistant dying. It is indirect killing. People exercising hypocrisy in the area of human dying is horrific. It does not give us confidence in the compassion they claim to feel.
 
Catholics say they leave it to God to take the life for it is his right and he knows best. If they are that confident then, why do they let people die when they could keep them alive longer?
 
If you want to protect life from birth to death, then bringing God into it is not the way to do it. What if doctors and society doubt God's existence? You can't expect them to protect life to death then if God is the main or only reason for protecting life. There is something callous about refusing to administer mercy killing to a person in extreme and terminal torment for the sake of God. It is not about God but about the person's suffering and if death should be brought on deliberately to end it. The other problem is the believers are assuming God forbids it. But what if he allows it? What if you think the dying person is dying anyway and deserves to be put to death even if it is in the context of ending their pain? You might feel that capital punishment of a murderer is compatible with euthanising him. And doesn't the Christian faith say we all are sentenced to death by God anyway for sin.
 
It can be argued that refusing for religious and godly reasons to end somebody's life when they need to die to spare themselves extreme torment is religious extremism. It is hurting somebody over faith in God.
 
And some opponents of euthanasia argue that suffering can be a good thing or is intrinsically good. That is extremism of the most disturbing kind. Unless you see the good the suffering is doing and weigh it to matter more than the suffering you have no right to assert that anybody's suffering is worth it. And you cannot see. You cannot see into the person's heart and mind.
 
Euthanasia would seem to be lawful if you are sure the person will survive death in some form of afterlife. The preciousness of life and the need to guard life above all things does not prove that it is wrong for this reason. Euthanasia is lawful as long as abuses are watched out for and the person asks for it without being under pressure from friends and family. The problem is that we are surer that we will live on if this body of ours does than we are if we leave the body. We can’t sacrifice anybody to religious faith.

Some say that it is wrong for the person is forced to desire it by her or his suffering. But you are forced to do many things to get what you want.

It is advised, “You never know what kind of new discovery is round the corner. It is better to let them live just in case as unlikely as it will seem.” Anybody who accepts this logic could justify prolonging life deliberately despite the agony a person is in. Indeed they should if life is the supreme value. Incredibly, the advice is spurned by the Roman Catholic Church, "Care for the dying does not mean keeping a person alive by extraordinary means when there is no hope of recovery. Every reasonable measure must be taken to sustain life. But there comes a point at which it may be more merciful to let nature take its course" (page 17, Moral Questions, A Statement by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales).
 
The Catholic Church says euthanasia is wrong. Let us clarify this. There are two kinds of euthanasia. Passive euthanasia which is letting a dying person die instead of doing anything to prolong their life. The second is active in which the dying person is actually killed (page 127, Ethics: The Fundamentals, Julia Driver, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2007). If the Church is against euthanasia it should encourage the prolonging of life.
 
Deliberately letting a person die is trying to kill them by doing nothing. Or it is killing them by doing nothing. Passive euthanasia only looks "morally" different from active. It is not. Doing nothing is still doing something.
 
The Church claims that it is not killing to give a dying person drugs that will hasten death if the intention is to relieve the pain. How it can say that when there are drugs that perhaps could be given to prolong life escapes us! Also, the Church focuses too much on the supposed intention. The Church says murder is murder whether you intended to kill out of hatred or out of love. The intention makes no difference. If that is so, then if giving drugs to a dying person that will contribute to their death is bad because it is intended to do so then it is still bad if you do the same thing with a different intention. And besides, there is no power on earth or within us that can tell us what our true motives are for self-deception is very powerful.
 
If John kills Barney by decapitating him he is a murderer. If John wants Barney dead and finds Barney in the bath about to drown and lets him drown is he as bad as he would be if he cut his head off? The intention in both cases is to cause death. There is malice in both cases. There could be less malice in the first case than the second for Barney would die without pain. Is it not true to say that John actively murders in the first place and passively murders in the second place? Is it not true to say that the passive murder is worse for John will get off lighter for it and may not suffer at all for it? He will get away with it! If the passive murder is not as bad as the active murder then nobody is able to tell us how much less bad it is! If a doctor didn't give a patient life-saving medicine would that not be the same as killing him?
 
If euthanasia is wrong so is the administration of painkillers, which slowly kill the dying person, to make her or him comfortable. People say that is not euthanasia. To say that it is not wrong and is not euthanasia for the intention is to end pain and not to kill is to make a hypocrite of yourself for if life is more important then the painkillers should be binned. Those who say euthanasia is bad say they put life before quality of life. In that case, they have the choice of not administering the drugs at all. They cannot say they have no choice but to give the painkillers for life is more important than being pain-free. If life is the most important thing then killing the pain is not and is wrong in such situations. Killing a dying person slowly is as much killing them as is blowing them up. Blowing them up would show more integrity for it is not as self-righteously sneaky.
 
The Church condemns euthanasia saying doctors have their belief that a person is dying but cannot be proven right and have often been wrong. Then it goes and allows its members to administer morphine for example which speeds up death in those who are believed to be dying!
 
If you can hasten death by pain-relief drugs, what about people who are not dying but are suffering far far worse? Some people endure a crippling depression that far exceeds anything endured on a deathbed.
 
The Church approves of painkillers that will kill the person when the person is dying. What if the person is not dying? The Church can't approve then. That disapproval acknowledges that the drugs kill. It is a mistake to think of the drugs as simply bringing forward a death that is going to happen. They can't do that without helping to kill the person.
 
Why put the pain before the hastening of death for the dying sufferer and not for the sufferer who is not dying but who is in worse agony? Is it because the patients are dying anyway? If that matters then it follows that though the intention is to relieve the pain there is an intention to hasten death. Why else would it matter if the patient is dying or not?
 
If we are to focus on controlling the pain and not to think of the person as dying or not dying then it should not matter if the person is dying or not. It should make no moral difference.
 
If it is murder to give killer painkillers that will slowly kill a suffering person who is not dying then it is still murder to do it when the person is dying. In fact, it is even more murder then.
 
Damn the accursed hypocrisy of the Vatican and the Church. 
 
The Church holds up saints who were flayed alive for their faith and who went to God offering it all up as great examples. To be consistent it should let the dying person suffer and keep urging her or him to offer it to God. It cannot say that stopping the pain is intrinsically right. If a dying person cannot consent to the pain-killers what then? The Church says that the desire of a patient to be sent on their way should be ignored and yet it heeds the desire of the patient for the morphine. It would seem that if you don’t have the patient’s consent or can’t get it or cannot rely on the patient’s consent, you should not administer any pain relief that may hasten death for you should assume he or she wants to suffer for God. The Catholic Church says contraception is bad for it means a contracepting man lies with his wife and he does not love her completely for he doesn’t love her fertility or God who gave her the gift. If pain and suffering is a gift from God then you are not loving God by killing the pain.
 
Giving the painkillers is euthanasia for the result of this will be the cause of death. The person is dying anyway but without the painkillers they would die of something different. And the Church hypocritically pretends otherwise. I repeat, the painkillers will kill the dying person not the illness even though the illness is in the process of killing the person. The Church would say that if you had a patient dying of cancer and you gave her a whole bottle of aspirin at the one time under the pretence that it was to kill the pain not her that would be murder. Yet it says that if aspirin could kill her slowly it is fine! To be consistent, the Church should let you decapitate your dying patients not to kill them but to kill the pain!
 
The Church says it is not euthanasia to give the pain killers that shorten life to a dying patient as long as the intention is not to kill but to take away pain. This is the principle of double effect. It means that the person is not to be blamed for killing the person for they had no choice but to give the drugs to stop the pain. The principle teaches that if you give painkillers that will bring on death to a dying person and they are needed to arrest the pain then you merely foresee that death will be a result but you do not intend it (page 128).
 
It would be euthanasia if the person giving the drugs that speed up death intended to kill instead or intended that as well as to take away the pain. The Church does not really believe in the principle in relation to euthanasia though it says it does believe. To give one out of thousands of possible examples: I put on a show with my car at a traffic junction to entertain other drivers and I cause an accident. The principle says I didn't do wrong for I didn't intend the accident. Yet the Church would say I sinned in this. The use of the principle to justify giving the life shortening painkillers contradicts the Church teaching that all human life must be considered equally important and once we encourage or cause the death of somebody to save them from intense suffering we are saying their life is not as important as the life of healthy person.
 
I see a car that will hit two people crossing the road. I see that if I grab the man walking beside me and push him out in front of the car I could save two lives by sacrificing his. The principle of double effect rejects this as immoral. The reason is because I have used the man not as a person but as a means. I have degraded him (page 130, Ethics: The Fundamentals, Julia Driver, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2007). But this presumes I was wrong to sacrifice one life to save two. If it is good to sacrifice then I honoured the man. I was not treating him as a means because I had to do the greater good. I had no time to ask him if he wanted to be sacrificed so I had to assume it. Sometimes I have to assume things for people in emergencies and it doesn't mean I am degrading them or treating them as means or objects. The example shows that those who use the principle of double effect are inconsistent. They take it up and then they drop it when it fits or when they feel like it.
 
The case with the man being treated as a means infers that it was a serious evil to do that to him. If it was evil, was it really that evil? Perhaps it was a bit evil but not worth kicking up a fuss over especially considering the circumstances. If I let the car plough into the two people crossing the road and kill them I am using them as a means of doing my will to do nothing.
 
If I can't use the person as a means even to stop the deaths of the persons crossing the road then I am saying life is totally and absolutely valuable. This suggests that life should be preserved at all costs. If a person is dying, it is immoral to give him painkillers to control his agony if those painkillers will shorten his life.
 
Euthanasia is wrong but it is not very wrong so it should be tolerated. If life comes first as the antis say, the hospitals have a choice and should let the patient suffer. They practice euthanasia after all. Euthanasia is certainly wrong but should be made a tolerable evil. It is not seriously evil under the right circumstances and if the patient consents. We can’t forbid everything.

We all know that funerals are largely superficial displays of mourning. Nothing can quite expose hypocrisy better than death – in more ways than one.

If life goes on after death the person who knows you have just prayed and obtained God’s forgiveness is doing you a favour by killing you and sending you to Heaven. It is impossible then to see how murder could be a sin. If God needed you for some job and somebody killed you before you could do it then he is almighty and can deal with the work himself. Death cannot be evil if God lets it happen. Many feel that religion just slanders murderers for it cannot think of a real reason that is compatible with its teaching why murder would be wrong.

The Bible officially approves of the death penalty and absolutely forbids euthanasia. Pope John Paul II only allowed capital punishment in very exceptional circumstances which is against the tradition of the Church which allowed it liberally. The law and the Bible system is allowed to kill you for a crime but it is not allowed to kill you to end your unbearable suffering even if you have been a murderer yourself. Vengeance is made more important than helping. Then the Church tells you to kill yourself by neglecting contraception even if it means you will get AIDS or if a pregnancy will kill you. The Church allows sports like boxing and motor-racing which are not worth the death and suffering they cause despite the fact that they thrive on the instincts of anger and competitiveness which the Church sees as sinful. You may be risking your life every time you cross the road but that is not the same as risking it in the cause of entertainment.

What about a murderer who has motor-neurone disease? He will die slowly and horribly and no one can imagine what it will be like for him. If he has free will, he deserves to die for his murders. He should be put to death especially if he requests it for it is the kindest thing to do. He should be put to death by having euthanasia administered to him. That would be a case where capital punishment would be the right thing to mete out and if it is wrong then capital punishment is always wrong. To refuse a gentle execution to such a man would show great inhumanity.

The anger that erupts in the Church when anybody is mercy killed or when the law is going to tolerate it indicates that the Church opposes euthanasia for unworthy motives. When regulated properly it is not the worst thing that could happen and does not deserve all that rancour. The anger suggests a strong lack of compassion. The Church will talk about its compassion but it is actions we want to see for words are words especially when they come from a shady institution like the Church.
 
The Roman Catholic Church lets you kill a man in self-defence and doesn’t let a mother abort her baby to save her life! They reply that the man is an evil person while the baby is innocent. But what if the man was insane and an innocent person? They still permit you to kill him. Its all lies and hypocrisy and its intelligent men who create these rules and they must see that they are lies. The Church blackmails women to kill themselves and their babies by going on with the pregnancy with the guilt it heaps on them for even contemplating abortion.
 
Pro-euthanasia campaigners assert that if a dog is suffering you get it put to sleep. They say people should have the right to request to be put to sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable and they are dying anyway. The Church says this is asking people to put more value on their lives when they are healthy than when they are sick. The Church says then that it is equally bad to administer euthanasia even in the gravest of circumstances as to kill a health young woman. So it refuses you the right to think, "I know euthanasia is wrong, but I wish I could give it to Tommy for he is so ill and he is dying anyway and he consents to euthanasia but I can't oblige him and that is that." The Church plainly implies that such compassion for Tommy is bad. If you cannot wish you could end his life in his circumstances, then how can it be right to want to relieve his pain at all? Any other kind of compassion must be bad as well.
 
When somebody suffers hideously, people around him or her think, "Rather him or her than me!" And those are the people who ban euthanasia!
 
The hypocrisy surrounding euthanasia is disturbing. It is death they are being hypocritical about. Such hypocrisy belittles death.
 
If you believe that euthanasia is bad on humanistic grounds, on secular grounds that is either good or bad. If it is bad it is made more bad by holding that God commands us to believe that it is wrong. That is at least partly holding that religious belief is more important than giving people their right to euthanasia if such a right exists. If it is wrong we don't need a God to forbid it. If he forbids it, it is because he wants us to oppose it not for our reasons but just because he says so. The more religious the objections the more fake the compassion of the objector for the suffering of the world is.
 
Christianity is saturated with the thought that God has the right to tell you to kill somebody or to wage war. Yet the Christians hypocritically reject the view of some socialists that if you are in your right mind and wish to end your life then that is your right. Christians reply that it is up to God who gives life to take it away! This is not faith but hypocrisy! No wonder Christian warmongers are not deterred by their faith and piety. If anything it’s a support to them as they struggle with their conscience to unleash evil.
 
The doctrine of everlasting Hell has led consistent Christians to refuse to take morphine on their deathbeds which hastens their death on the grounds that it is a mind-altering drug. God gives life for us to choose him or reject him and the last moment of life is the most important moment of all. At that point ones destiny, Heaven or an eternity in Hell is fixed. So one cannot be under the influence of drugs as death approaches. One wants to have as normal a mind as possible to spend the last few moments with God and offer them to God. The Roman Catholic Church allows morphine to be given as long as the intention is to kill pain and not the person. This is only a stunt to avoid a backlash that would expose the Church for the dangerous entity it is.
 
The Roman Church may allow the morphine but many believers will see it is being inconsistent. Thus the Church is still responsible for the results.
 
The doctrine of Hell needs to be left out of any discussion of euthanasia. That is to say, nobody should argue, "Forbid euthanasia for the one who chooses it deserves to go to Hell forever." To even bring the matter up violates the rule, "Do not have a faith or doctrine that accuses people without proving its accusations true." And there is a rule that faith should never insinuate or preach anything that a good humanist would disagree with on ethical grounds.

 

Many countries that ban euthanasia have it smuggled in under a different name.  For example, late term terminations of a baby that cannot live are really acts of euthanasia rather than abortion. 

 

To kill a person on the grounds of compassion is to say they and their life has no value.  This is seen as false compassion or sentimentalism.  Only you can decide if it is!

Moral Questions, A Statement by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1971
Ethics: The Fundamentals, Julia Driver, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2007
Questions of Life and Death, Christian Faith and Medical Intervention, Richard Harries, SPCK, London, 2010
The Choice of Hercules, A C Grayling, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2007