Moral, as an active process, governs each person’s behavior through reason. Religions based on value frameworks are intended to guide believers in understanding the distinctions between right and wrong. Morality and religion are frequently at odds, as most religious beliefs and values diverge from mainstream contemporary positions. One such position that we see is in the euthanasia debate.
Euthanasia is, by definition, a core conflict between theologically religious beliefs and ethical standards. Using human rights to justify euthanasia can lead to a slew of issues. At the same time, no one has the right to take another person’s life but one has the right to choose, and this is in accordance with euthanasia. If an individual decides to commit suicide because they are sick not as many people are offended as if someone takes another person’s life. Euthanasia is ethically complicated with theological beliefs. The reason being is that in religious beliefs a person should only die naturally. Even in the Ten Commandments, it says that a person should not kill another person. This is called Natural Law and has more power than euthanasia. Natural law is one directional coming from God, and its focus is on the eternal. People are usually submissive in Natural law as they are life guide lines that help people to change their lives for the better. God has the only power to take a life, and no one else has the right to.
Some view that the person’s decision to end their own life is radically different from regular life choices and therefore cannot be there’s alone. Also, there are times when due to circumstances, a person’s family or doctor will make the choice to end life. If a person cannot speak or communicate their wishes on ending their life if they are terminally ill, it becomes the decision of their family based on talks they may have had before any accident or how they would want to be treated.
This most of the time does lead to unethical practices. An example of this is the practice of ending someone’s life by the family without thoroughly vetting the condition of the patient and the treatment. This is seen as a practice for selfish reasons although a lot of the time it is done to relieve the pain of the patient. These practices, regardless of the reason, go against the basic fundamental right to life and are unethical at best. I see a fundamental conflict here with these decisions; if one is unable to speak and has not talked previously about this type of situation arising, and their wishes with family or spouse.
The second decision is if progress has halted or even digressed, how are we able to justify deciding to stop fluids and interventions by placing on hospice? The basic of ethical reasoning should be applied to determine when a patient needs euthanasia and after thorough research on the patient’s conditions and consultation with the relatives of the patient. Theological beliefs are very conservative and do not take into account the pain that a patient who is almost dying feels, for instance, Wantz condition required proper ethical reasoning.
I know through experience that euthanasia is a very complex issue being faced by many every day. It is a fundamental conflict between theological beliefs and moral standards. The idea of a loved one suffering from no hope for a cure and no chance of recovering makes embracing euthanasia a real option. Without a doubt, euthanasia is a compassionate way to relieve pain and suffering, but defining how it is labeled is complex. Assisted suicide is unethical and illegal in most states, but we can place a person on hospice due to lack of progress and no cure, stop all interventions, food, and water and call it ethical; this seems conflicting to me.
Harris, I. (2005). Australian Association for Professional Applied Ethics 12th Annual Conference.
Macleans, J. D. (1991). Controversy rages over how to suicide. Death defined, 104(34), 1.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2012). Critical thinking: Tools for taking charge of your learning and your life (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
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