Assisted Suicide: A Christian Choice and a New Freedom

It's time for Christianity to grapple with the ethical issues that face us at the end of life.

TRUTHchangesYOU

02/27/2003 06:47:09 PM

If we believe/trust God is in control, how can we ever be worried about anything? There's more to believing/trusting God than accepting that Jesus Christ died for our sins and the more comes when you feed your spirit with the word. The kingdom is like a seed that you plant that grows into a tree... A tree that doesn't get uprooted during a storm. If I'm not benefiting anyone reading this I apologize but I thought I'd throw that in there.

lucilius

02/27/2003 10:51:49 AM

Yes, doctors are NOW often the ones to tell family members it's time to let go. As I said, that hasn't always been the case. And what if there are "advance directives, proxies, etc." requesting assisted suicide -- or better yet, the plainly stated request from someone terminal, suffering, but still conscious?

blissfulamb

02/26/2003 09:32:01 PM

Lucilius, there is a world of difference between removing extraordinary measures (or not instituting them in the first place) and assisted suicide. They are in a practical sense different, and in an ethical sense different. Not resuscitating a terminally ill patient who has died is not the same as injecting a patient with a drug to stop their heart. I have been present at over 100 deaths. I can tell you now that doctors are much more likley to advocate removal of feeding tubes, life support, etc. than to refuse to "let go". In fact, in meetings about terminal cases within hospitals, there is often discussion about how to convince families to withdraw means. The current atmosphere is very inclined towards removal of means, which is fine when there are advance directives, proxies, etc. Removal of means allows the natural process of dying to occur. Assisted suicide is different.

KyyDakh

02/25/2003 08:57:58 AM

I guess one way of saying it is that without a right to die, you're giving them a duty to live miserably.

lucilius

02/24/2003 10:19:49 AM

Blissfulamb, the reverse of your question about "the duty to die" has long been one of the major arguments for the "right to die" movement. People have seen their elderly relatives -- including ones I have seen, in my own family -- kept hanging around in misery due to drastic intervention by doctors who couldn't "let go": terminal cancer patients resuscitated, the brain-dead hooked to heart and lung machines, etc. As people's control over their own health care has increased, these situations have thankfully become less common, but they still happen. We're already "assisting" those who would die peacefully by prolonging their pain. It's a matter of knowing when to quit.

blissfulamb

02/24/2003 08:12:19 AM

We aren't talking about just suicide here but an organized way of assisting it, right ? Kyydakh,if a person is at a point of being "biochemical reaactions of a bag of meat" (or bag of water, you said both, maybe you think we are basically stew) then they are incapable of any suicide , assisted or not. It is then euthanasia without consent. Withdrawing life support, extraordinary means, etc. is not the same thing. You miss the subtlety here both what pressures might be on people to opt for it while they are conscious and how it will effect the community once it becomes the norm. Christoper Reeve just said in an interview that,when he realized he was paralyzed he thought he should kill himself because he was going to be too much of a burden. Imagine that.

KyyDakh

02/23/2003 12:50:50 PM

I find a hard time seeing suicide in the instance of bedridden people as being an abuse of life. It's keeping them alive when they can't endure that looks more like the abuse. Suicide is just ending the biochemical reactions of the bag of meat you call a body. Life continues on, regardless of that bag of mostly water. About the slippery slope: I don't think that particular slope can happen if we make it clear we're opposed to involuntary euthanasia. Those are two different topics with some trivial physical similarities. And I don't see how involuntary could be made legal in the US. Involuntary is the same as murder, voluntary is not. As for Hell: A God who would do that to a person can be nothing but appallingly evil.

blissfulamb

02/22/2003 04:31:44 PM

KyyDakh, it's difficult for me to think anyone living in this world cannot know how many slippery slopes we've gone down. The arguments for assisted suicide do not at all confine themselves to your A-F ; and this isn't about anyone voting to kick the elderly when they are down. Being a freedom loving country has nothing to do with it except that we delude ourselves into thinking everyone makes free choices just because they have "choices". The duty to die will surface when a santitized method of assisted suicide is norm. It will develop from the pressures of economics, interpersonal relationships and the impatience of our lives, etc. Many unintended, and not positive, changes in our attitudes towards the sick, elderly and disabled have occurred subtly but perceptibly. It will not be voted on. But it will surface. After all now we talk about whether parents should have the right to kill their living handicapped babies. And it's all a very civil conversation.

KyyDakh

02/22/2003 02:42:18 PM

The big differences are A) That person is likely to die soon anyway. B) That person has probably led a full life and is ready to move on. C) That person's life is being artificially extended, but for some reason, that's not being viewed as a crime against nature. D) Pain is likely involved. E) Most people can't stand being unable to do anything. F) In the case of brain death or severe damage, the person has likely moved on already, and there's no point to sustaining an empty bag of meat they used to live in. Oh, and to the people who think it'll turn into a "duty to die"... Well, I think that's just an absurd attempt to create a slippery slope argument. I don't see how one will lead to the other in a freedom-oriented country like the US. We're not perfect, but I don't think the majority would vote to kick the elderly when they're down.

krekel13

02/21/2003 08:50:31 AM

I just want to know how this is any different from abortion. At least in this case, the person who's life is ending has a choice in it.

blissfulamb

02/20/2003 05:19:32 PM

I am new to this particular discussion and so may have missed that this has been discussed, but an early activist in the hospice movement once asked : Will the right to die become the duty to die? I have a good deal of experience with families and patients, they are complicated and motivations vary. I am on a hospital committee that reviews instances when advance directives are overlooked or ignored and it happens frequently. I just don't have the confidence, from my own experience, that we can handle "assisting" ethically.

KyyDakh

02/20/2003 09:25:43 AM

I think one of the big problems with a lot of "religious" people have with this issue is that they can't separate the concept of life from biochemical reactions. There is more to living than breathing.

Maccabeus

02/19/2003 05:16:11 PM

mbwatz> Well, that would be the case if the sole argument against assisted suicide were "no playing God", since either prolonging or ending life would qualify. However, many people would dispute your assertion that "your life...includes death". Specifically, they believe that death is an intrusion on life that has no business existing. (The same is considered true of injury, disease, etc.) Obviously they cannot make death go away entirely, but they believe it should be combatted as completely as possible.

TRUTHchangesYOU

02/19/2003 04:42:44 PM

One of the best things about the TRUTH is that when you hear a lie, you know it's a lie.

curiousdwk

02/19/2003 02:40:51 PM

(Cont) To the article: If your religion wants to ascribe a particular meaning to life and to define the scope of life, that's fine. But that's subjective truth that leads to experiential truth. That is not objective nor reasonable truth which is to be held as true for everyone. Science can say how long the brain waves are operating, but cannot say what quality of life is obtained by prolongation. The problem comes when people have feelings towards scenarios such as assisted suicide and then feel that they must be eternal truths to be foisted on everyone. They attempt to find a source so they can "reason" and hold everyone to their "reason". But reason follows feelings, it does not create feelings. Any reason you give can and will be countered and seldom will people change because of reasons. Feelings are much more real (even though they may not be as true for everyone) to people and are the stuff that people respond to.

TRUTHchangesYOU

02/19/2003 02:32:45 PM

I believe whatever a person chooses is between that person and their own conscience. Romans 14:22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

curiousdwk

02/19/2003 02:28:45 PM

Dennkat It isn't a matter of either the Bible or evolution. The purpose of the Bible is to explain WHY people experience life as they do while evolution explains what has been done. Religion may explain why we are moral creatures, why bad things happen to good people, etc. But it should never be used to explain HOW things happened such as creation. WHY creation, and WHY good and bad relationships, but not HOW things were created. At the same time, evolution has two aspects to it: evolutionary facts and evolutionary theory. The facts may lead to WHAT changes have occurred over a period of time (much longer than 7,000 years). Evolutionary theory may deal with WHY they happened (e.g. survival of the fittest, propagation of the species, etc.) These WHY aspects are theoretical also and should not be confused with the evolutionary facts.

mbwalz

02/19/2003 01:08:51 PM

I think if you accept medical science to prolong your life as moral, then you cannot find assisted death immoral. Either you trust God enough to not let medical science intervene in the process of life, or you trust medicine to help your life (which includes death).

lucilius

02/19/2003 12:45:00 PM

'Scuse me, dennkat - you think people can only comment intelligently on the sufferings of others if they're anti-evolution? Ridiculous. And ridiculously arrogant. And if you think "science is devoid of real truth," get off the Internet. It's not biblically-based. Go back to living without indoor plumbing and (while we're on the subject), modern medical care. None of these things are anticipated in the Bible. You can be as self-righteous as you want, but don't expect to get the best of both worlds: all the benefits of a reasonable worldview with none of the ethical implications.

dennkat

02/19/2003 12:01:59 PM

Soul Alive, I guess it boils down to whether your truth is based on Darwin's Origin of the Speicies or the Bible. My truth is Biblically driven. I have learned that science is devoid of real truth. Science's truth changes from day to day. Legitimate science once believed the earth to be flat, David spoke of the 'sphere of the earth' thousands of years before science acknowledged the same. We will never see eye to eye because our points of reference so greatly differ.

deeceer

02/19/2003 09:48:42 AM

I watch and cared for my husband as he died from cancer. I prayed every day that he might be healed by Father's will. I believed that Father would heal him up until he took his last breath in my arms. Was I saddened? Yes! But I knew this was Father's will, and we as humans have no business questioning Father's will. Father has His own timing in every aspect of our lives, and we should not try to force His hand. I prayed for healing for my husband. God granted Him the ultimate healing, He took him home where he is whole. But it was Father's will and Father's time. Christians must know that they must wait for Father's will and Father's time. That is part of being a Christian. Christians cannot advocate assisted suicide, nor should we tolerate it anymore that we tolerate partial bitrh abortion, which is noting more than murder.

Soul_Alive

02/19/2003 12:40:29 AM

Dennkat, your original post spoke of "moral cowardice", "playing God", and trying to control the "whens and hows" of life. These are not the things of logic and reason. Rather, opinion. At any rate, the story you relate below is truly sad and unfortunate. Yet, it does not serve to invalidate all circumstances wherein assisted suicide might be considered by a terminally ill person. I'm wondering still what you would do should your son or daughter contract a disease which, left untreated, becomes fatal? Would you intervene? Of course. By the way, your attempt to distinguish "medical intervention" and "end of life" issues fails. Many people suffering from terminal/incurable illnesses are medically treated right up to their death by the use of heart/lung machines, pharmaceuticals, etc. They are "maintained alive" by this medical intervention and would expire without it -- just like the hypothetical son or daughter would expire if not treated. Are we still playing God?

Soul_Alive

02/19/2003 12:24:08 AM

Cathymm, Pardon me? Only physicians and other healthcare providers have the right to discuss this? I'll have to beg for your forgiveness then since I've only nursed several family members and friends through terminal illness over the years. I'm sorry to have been so presumptuous to think I might engage in the discussion. I suppose us "little folks" should just sit by quietly and absorb your wisdom. Why is it that so many people on this board think we can't all engage in discussion -- that only certain folks, like pastors with 10 years' experience and level 1 trauma physicians have the right to think hard and form valid opinions on matters of grave importance??

dennkat

02/18/2003 10:49:09 PM

In European countries which permit euthenasia loss of "quality of life" has been used as sufficient reason to end one's life. Originally these countries put these laws in place to offer an "option" to those who were dealing with critical illnesses. But, as is became financially expedient to broaden the scope of these laws these countries did so. Now the sick individual is no longer the sole arbiter of their destiny - now their doctor can make the decision for them, without their permission. Imagine how Hippocrates must be rolling in his grave!!!

WereBear_Walker

02/18/2003 10:48:39 PM

dennkat - I *dare* you to do what I did, then call it the easy way out !!!

dennkat

02/18/2003 10:34:53 PM

Soul Alive, I have argued that you are confusing issues of medical intervention with issues of end-of-life. I approach the issue from a standpoint of logic and reason, you retort with an opinion based in emotion. Death is black and white. You can't take back a mistake once someone's life has ended. Example: a tragedy was shared with me by a fellow minister who had cared for a family during a time of crisis. The wife in the family was diagnosed with what they believed to be a malignant tumor. She grew despondent at the news and decided to end her life, which she did. During the autopsy it was discovered that the tumor was fibroid, not malignant. With medical intervention she would have lived to a ripe old age. If our culture wasn't so in love with death perhaps she would have had the support and encouragement she needed to face her situation. But instead she listened to the voice of our culture which says, 'Take the easy way out.' Too bad she wasn't around to learn the good news about her misdiagnosis!

Lena246

02/18/2003 10:04:05 PM

Why is Bishop Spong's article in "The BEST of Beliefnet"? Surely it should be categorized as "The WORST of Beliefnet"!

Lena246

02/18/2003 09:37:55 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with BillSamuel and with"citruscounty". Believe me, I have been there, watching someone I loved dearly die a slow and agonizing death. Call me stupid, but never for a moment did I loose hope that she would live, it was only when she finally breathed her last that I stopped hoping. She had been made as comfortable as possible with the help of morphine and I am so glad that she was allowed to die when, as I believe, God had decided. Despite the hopelessness of her illness I'm glad that she wasn't rushed into eternity by some "dogooder" with an overdose of morphine. And despite her pain, she herself never once suggested that she be put to death

Cathymm

02/18/2003 09:24:17 PM

I am a Chaplain in a Level 1 trauma Center, which is where the sickest of the sick go. Unless you also see what I, and thousands of healthcare providers see everyday, you don't even belong in the discussion because you don't know what you are talking about...it is all head talk. for you.

BillSamuel

02/18/2003 09:13:18 PM

First, let me express my disappointment at BeliefNet at presenting Bishop Spong as a Christian voice. His writings over a long period of time make clear he has rejected Christianity. We need to draw a line between doing everything medically possible to keep any semblance of physical life going regardless of the circumstances and actively participating in the taking of the life of another person. Either extreme represents playing God. What we need to do is make the last part of the life of those nearing death as comfortable as possible, including holistic hospice care and the use of accepted pain control methods to minimize pain even when that may result in earlier death than having the patient suffer in pain. But the actual point of death should not be manipulated, but allowed to happen whenever it does when we are using reasonable medical measures.

ts4utoo

02/18/2003 08:46:14 PM

This argument seems so tiring and boring...how arrogant so many people are who believe that THEIR way is the correct way...and THEY have all rights over anyone thinking differently than they do...MAN!! It turns me off to organized religion more and more every day... Not that it matters, but it is one's OWN PERSONAL choice whether he wants to end his life or not. What I find ridiculous and absurd with these arguments, IS THE TOTAL HYPOCRISY based on one's OWN religion...So, let me get this straight: It's okay to kill anyone who we deem NOT fit to walk on the earth because of a conviction...that's okay. God approves!!! And it's okay to basically kill ourselves slowly with SUGAR, OBESITY, ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE..etc...and God approves...but OH MY GOD!!! The immorality of stopping the life of a person who is suffering and is not going to live, even when they have DECIDED this life's choice for themselves...now THAT'S IMMORAL??? Please!!

citruscounty

02/18/2003 08:14:44 PM

Just another opinion from another crack pot Episcopal clergyman. Wonder why their membership has been dropping like a rock for the last decade or two. He obviously isn't a Christian so why is he making comments about what Christians should be doing ? It's none of his business.

Soul_Alive

02/18/2003 07:21:13 PM

Dennkat, perhaps you should re-read my post. I did not attack you, nor did I think you were a fundamentalist as you suggest. I merely commented on your opinion. This is not an ad hominem argument. I said nothing about you, only about your opinion. Grow up pastor and learn how to take criticism of your posts. By the way, you still haven't responded to my post. Finally, for a pastor, you're rather arrogant. I have watched and nursed family and friends over my life suffer and die. How dare you presume otherwise.

RobertWesley

02/18/2003 06:11:06 PM

I have had a couple pets who reached the point of having to humanely end their lives when there was no hope left. For those people who have requested humane treatment, how can we do any less? It seems like the pinnacle of self-centeredness for those who have no concept of what suffering and torment the dying and their families are feeling to glibly say that we must continue such torment and suffering just so they can have the self-righteous feeling of being able to control other people. Does it sound like I have been there?

dennkat

02/18/2003 05:07:34 PM

We live in a society that will imprison you for damaging an eagle's egg; that will fine you for starving your dog; but that will tell you that you are doing the humane thing when you kill your pre-born child or starve to death your loved ones. It's no wonder that my comments are so frequently met with such great indignation. Something is very wrong in the heart of our modern society, and nothing short of an act of God will set it straight!

lucilius

02/18/2003 03:45:23 PM

(Cont., II): And while I'm at it, don't try to distort the issue into "find random unconscious person, starve 'em to death." The question here is what to do if a rational person, clearly suffering and without hope of recovery, says "Please help me die." At the very least, if a person is vegetative they must have previously, clearly, publicly and finally expressed the desire to be treated in this manner if they became incapacitated and were beyond recovery, as WereBear Walker described (and, you will note in that case, with morphine to mitigate the effects of stopping nourishment).

Gertrude_of_Nivelles

02/18/2003 09:36:57 AM

Werebear: How hard that must have been! I am sad for your pain. Really what you did was not assisted suicide; you simply stopped extraordinary efforts to prolong you loved one's life. In the natural world, he could not continue without heroic interventions, that now, were only serving to torment him. Assisted suicide is a more aggressive intervention, as I understand it--a real hastening, rather than an allowing natural processes to complete. Forgive me if saying this adds to your pain. God Bless You and Comfort You

WereBear_Walker

02/18/2003 12:23:11 AM

dennkat wrote : "Until you've been their you have no right to speak an opinion. You assume me the ignorant one? Hah!!!" My, what a *humble* thing to say - Not ! Your arrogance is *exactly* why folk of your ilk have no business whatsoever dictating to others! I have been there - I gave the orders that released my beloved partner from the prison his body had become due to cancer. I held Medical Power of Attorney, and with Dana's full prior knowledge and consent told his doctors to stop food & fluids, permitting only morphine for pain relief - he died 3-1/2 days later. Did I hate doing it ? Yes. Do I still struggle with the unsolvable paradox that hastening the death of the man I loved was the most loving thing I could do ? Yes. Would I do it again. Yes. Would I want it done for me ? Yes. Do I think I did something "wrong" or committed a "sin" ? No, because I did what I did unselfishly, out of love, and at great emotional expense to myself, because Dana wanted it that way.

esoterico

02/18/2003 12:00:51 AM

This will be the final word on the subject if formatting remains intact: The Rosicrucian Fellowship is composed of men and women who study the Rosicrucian Philosophy known as the Western Wisdom Teachings as presented in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. This Christian Mystic Philosophy presents deep insights into the Christian Mysteries and establishes a meeting ground for Art, Religion, and Science. Max Heindel was selected by the Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross to publicly give out the Western Wisdom Teachings in order to help prepare mankind for the coming age of Universal Brotherhood, the Age of Aquarius. http://www.rosicrucian.com/zineen/suicide.htm

Maccabeus

02/17/2003 07:35:41 AM

Flutehover> I'm sorry you feel attacked. I had no intention of "attacking" you, only correcting what seemed to be a factual error. I apologize for assuming you had written a long series of posts. I've seen you do so before, assuming my memory is correct, and because my work schedule is such that I sleep during the day after checking Beliefnet and e-mail, I did not take the time to verify there were any more posts there. Please continue to post your opinions. I hope that so mild a disagreement will not injure your sensibilities.

dennkat

02/17/2003 03:13:20 AM

Absurd!!!!

dennkat

02/17/2003 03:11:44 AM

I correct myself "there." By the way, Soul Alive, are you familiar with an Ad Hominem attack. That is when you have no real defense against the argument of an individual, so you attack them instead of their logic. Sound familiar?

dennkat

02/17/2003 03:05:17 AM

Soul Alive, (????) You are confusing end-of-life issues with normal day-to-day medical intervention. The assumption I make here is that no normal course of medical intervention is going to make any significant difference, and that death is inevitable. I believe you over-read my statements. You are assuming that I am some illiterate Fundamentalist who is operating devoid of experience or wisdom. I am a Pastor with 10 years experience -- who has watched some 50 people in the congregations I have served slip from this life to afterlife. It is both my experience and my opinion that those who have left their ultimate destiny in God's hands died with peace, even though in the shadow of suffering. Those who intervened and took matters into their own hands were filled with nothing but regrets if their attempts failed, and their family was filled with nothing but regrets if their attempts succeeded. Until you've been their you have no right to speak an opinion. You assume me the ignorant one? Hah!!!

FLUTEHOVER

02/16/2003 11:31:51 PM

I also find it disturbing to be attacked by strangers. I'm not sure that an internet site works because I'm used to something better. Attacks like this should not happen. It's an experiment of mine to be here and all experiments have conclusions. It's one thing for everyone to have their say. It's another for untruths to be accepted. It's too easy here for a serious subject. I probably won't be expressing opinions on beliefnet anymore. I have done better.

FLUTEHOVER

02/16/2003 09:14:21 PM

I only put two posts here. I've been away from Bible reading for awhile but if my memory serves me right, there was a prophet who asked for his life to end and God let him leave earth. Jesus Christ wanted to leave the earth because of "this generation." A relative of mine had cancer from the age of 9 to 65. Medicine helped her and she was good for my life. Hers was not as fulfilling as she might have liked. Once I had to work more than I wanted to because someone at work had to visit their father, a man who had a brain hemohage unexpectedly because of a blood thinner. When she was informed that her father might have brain damage for years, she said she felt she had seen a concentration camp. I've been too long for you. I wouldn't argue and I won't.

Maccabeus

02/16/2003 06:03:59 PM

Flutehover> I don't have time at the moment to go over your entire, rather long, series of posts. However, I noted that you claimed "In the Bible, Elijah complained about his life and God released him of it." In fact, when Elijah complained of his life, God gave him encouragement and a mission, and Elijah lived several more years, on the run but apparently satisfied with his existence.

Soul_Alive

02/16/2003 12:08:35 PM

Dennkat, If we carry your logic (opinion) fully, it is absurd. Let's say you have a daughter who contracts viral meningitis or pneumonia. Would you seek medical treatment for her?? Of course you would. Yet, by your argument, you would then be trying to "dictate the whens and hows of life." Shouldn't you just let the disease run its course? After all, God created the viruses. Perhaps God caused your daughter to become infected. And now, you play God by intervening. ?? Absurd.

dobie3

02/15/2003 12:11:13 PM

I have always believed that the life God has given us is sacred. Our purpose on this earth is not always known to us, nor is our effect on others. Is suffering the reason to commit suicide or it is to assist others in their moments of questioning and growth in their spiritual lives. My mother-in-law lived 25 years with bouts of cancer. During that time she was an inspiration to all those who met her, young and old. She touched others who had the disease and gave them a small dose of hope with faith. What a disaster if we have come to believe that the only way to make a mark on this world is to be perfect in all ways. Will this lead to future intervention of relatives, governments and others to remove those who are elderly and incapaciated in some way. Who is to say what God meant when he said we are to live life abundantly. The abundant life comes from inside us and not from our shell.

dennkat

02/15/2003 08:14:37 AM

Suicide is the ultimate in moral cowardice. It is the unwillingness to trust God. It is an expression of the age old curse of wanting to be gods -- where we dictate the whens and the hows of our lives. Isn't that what got Adam and Eve in trouble in the first place? Oh, but I forgot, you don't believe in Adam and Eve, do you? They are but urban legends told to give the people of Israel a sense of history and a sense of connectedness to God. What hogwash!!!!!!!

FLUTEHOVER

02/14/2003 08:30:52 PM

Also, I think this man's article is really very enlightened.

FLUTEHOVER

02/14/2003 08:29:26 PM

It's scary that people are paying to live when there's no guarentee that it might not be "life" as they have known it. I worry that in future generations, people will view our efforts to live so many more years as medical backwardness - like bloodletting. The fact is, medical science has advanced to a moral dilemma. Anyone who has seen the elderly tubed up in hospital beds and surviving operations must wonder if this is the way it was meant to be. In the Bible, Elijah complained about his life and God released him of it. Obviously the dilemma is terrible, murder vs. torture. Many people who are healthy most years have a terrible fear of the medical options of today - and that's not comforting to them. Not the way to go. Something actually has to be done about this. Doctors are committed to keeping people alive but what is alive? And is it worth it for the rich to hire machines for a few pent-up years?

Psionycx

02/14/2003 04:45:38 PM

The whole point of Spong's outrageousness is to get people talking. That's why he plays such controversial positions. Too often people operate on a kind of religious auto-pilot, parroting the religious beliefs they've been initiated to without ever having really thought about. It leads to a kind of static belief where people believe something only because they've never thought about any other angle. Assisted suicide seems evil to some people more because they instinctively fear death rather than anything else. They'll have to grieve for a terminally ill friend or loved one at some point, but they'd rather they not be forced into hard choices. Or face the choice themself.

akbusch

02/14/2003 04:02:19 PM

Like what he says or not, you have to give Bishop Spong this: he sure gets us talking! I agree with much of what he says here. When it comes to his exegesis of Paul, I find it not so much incorrect as incomplete. Yes, Paul does call death the "last enemy", but goes on to make it clear that because of Christ, the "last enemy" has been defeated, his "sting" has been removed, and he is no longer to be feared, which actually supports Spong's argument, as I understand it. I don't know where I come down on the issue of physician-assisted suicide, but I certainly agree that there are indeed things worse than death, and that while the marvels of recent medical technology do often prolong life, they also often merely delay death.

Medicrick

02/14/2003 02:45:38 PM

Technology has blurred the line between live and when death occurs. For many this process has produced a situation where live can be artificially extended through technology and medication. Life is also now defined a little differently than it has been historically. If life can be sustained and the quality of life is maintained then the time for dying has not arrived. If life can be sustained but the quality of live is nonexistant and if the patient is going to dragged through a sea of pain and missery or there is no chance of recovery then maybe the time to die has arrived. Actively participating in or faciliting the on set of death is murder. When does death occur? For me death is when the brains upper functions flat line. The only functions left are the autonomic functions keeping the heart and the lungs going. The individual is no longer at home but has gone home.

TRUTHchangesYOU

02/14/2003 01:55:39 PM

Colossians 3:16 Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. Matthew 18:18 I tell you this: Whatever you prohibit on earth is prohibited in heaven, and whatever you allow on earth is allowed in heaven. 1 Corinthians 8:9 But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble. Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Psionycx

02/14/2003 01:06:21 PM

But that's what Christians have been doing for two millenia! It began when Paul won the argument that non-Jewish converts to Christianity didn't have to get circumcised. It continued with Christians discarding the Levitical Code. And it has continued throughout Christian history to this day. Christianity has survived and grown because it has always adapted to changing times, cultures and situations. Even the most rigid Bible Believers I have ever seen don't obey everything in the Bible, they just claim to.

luckyeryka

02/14/2003 12:58:08 PM

If you are going to be a Christian, you cannot dismiss Biblical text because it isn't modern or politically correct, or just because you don't like it. It is one things to recognize Biblical metaphors. It an entirely different one to say that something written in the Bible is "not even metaphorically true". I am currently not a Christian because it does not align with my beliefs. Mr. Spong should give up on his attempts to customize Christianity and realize that you cannot pick and choose what passages in the Bible to believe. If Paul was wrong about homosexuality, perhaps he was wrong about God?

lucilius

02/14/2003 12:33:40 PM

Medically safer ground, deacon777, as is clear in my post. And your assertion that assisted suicide is an "unjust action" is only your opinion, and in fact the subject of this debate. Oregon has done a rather good job of keeping the genie in the bottle. Its law can easily stand as a model for federal legislation, which would supercede any differing state law. Can you support your claim that "the vast majority of citizens simply do not want to go there," or is that just another of your relative positions that you're trying to impose as a universal absolute? The attached Beliefnet poll shows opinion here split about evenly, 55 percent against to 45 for.

otheologos

02/14/2003 12:01:47 PM

psion You are absolutely right -- Jesus did choose to die. But because he was fully man and fully God at the same time, natural death WAS possible for him -- indeed, it DID HAPPEN! He died on Friday, then by Sunday He was risen. (Hence the consternation of everyone around.) He didn't kill Himself -- He allowed himself to be killed by others. But Jesus was fully God and fully man AT THE SAME TIME, and a "natural" death like we humans face happened to Him -- He loves us so much He suffered for us and like us, thus making our suffering meaningful. O Lord, Glory to Thee! Glory to Thy Resurrection, O Christ!

deacon777

02/14/2003 11:55:10 AM

Safer ground? I beg to differ. The means (suicide) does not justify the ends (release from pain). You cannot have a just conclusion with unjust actions. Thats ethical morality 101. Furthermore how can this genie be kept in the bottle. Upon what criteria does assisted suicide become legal - in a civil way? I suppose a state could pass laws stipulating the threshold that had to be met for this "procedure" legal, but I guarentee you the fifty states would have practically fifty different thresholds. Its unworkable in civil law, and its immoral in religious law - and fortunately the vast majority of citizens simply do not want to go there.

lucilius

02/14/2003 10:25:34 AM

One point I haven't seen raised but I think has a big effect on this issue is that we now have a much better idea of what terminal illness is than when religious prohibitions on suicide were written. It's only with the development of modern surgical techniques, the germ theory of disease, some understanding of genetic conditions and noninvasive scrutiny such as X-rays and MRI -- all from the late 19th or 20th centuries -- that we can say conclusively that someone will not recover, even if death may take months (I leave out, obviously, the readily apparent cases such as mortal wounds). We're on much safer ground now to make the judgment that someone's last days will only be filled with pain and helplessness.

Soul_Alive

02/14/2003 05:29:52 AM

Matt (vtm2000), Let me get this straight. You think it's selfish for a person suffering horribly with an incurable disease to commit suicide because you and others will then have to mourn??? i.e., "how dare you end your suffering and cause us to suffer? we don't want to mourn so you must endure your horrible pain" ??? Talk about selfish. By the way, I agree with you that Spong might really enjoy being provocative. He does make some good points at times.

andrewcyrus

02/14/2003 01:20:01 AM

Jesus the shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1Peter 2v25

andrewcyrus

02/14/2003 01:18:04 AM

Yes Jesus rose from the dead and healed the sick, and the lepers and raised others from the dead. And he encouraged his followers to pray and fast and they to could do much more wonderful miracles than he. Did the apostles hand Judas the rope? No

Psionycx

02/13/2003 11:07:06 PM

otheologos, Yes. Jesus committed suicide. He was under no obligation to die. Nothing could have forced Him to die. He died because He chose to do so. That is a key salient point. If you truly believe that Jesus is a part of God, then you must acknowledge that natural death is technnically impossible for Him, even if done to Him by the actions of others (such as Romans with big crosses and nails). Even if one does not believe in Jesus's divinity, the Gospels clearly state that he knew what would happen and chose to face it anyway.

Psionycx

02/13/2003 11:07:01 PM

This is a pattern followed by countless martyrs down the ages, who could have chosen to live but instead chose to die. So the notion that life must be preserved at all costs is slightly mistated. That God is sadistic enough to insist that mortals must live in suffering until He (or the natural processes of His creation) get around to ending their suffering does not synch with my idea of a loving God. This does not mean that life should be treated cheaply, or ended gratuitously. But especially in these times where death can be a longer road than it was for ancient peoples, we need to be mindful of human suffering.

cat536

02/13/2003 09:19:27 PM

I've never read such screwy theology before as spong writes! St.Paul viewing death as "the last enemy " that had to be destroyed because of believing the creation "myth" ? What does he think Jesus did ? Nothing, apparently, that made an impression on Mr. Spong!!! why does he call himself Christian? what spong calls 'christian ethics' isn't Christian or ethical.

vtm20002000

02/13/2003 07:10:23 PM

I've read a lot of articles by Spong, and one of his books. Frankly, I think he just likes to be controversial, and he'll say anything to shock people. He's kind of like the liberal version of Jerry Falwell (who, you probably remember, called the prophet Muhammed a "terrorist").

vtm20002000

02/13/2003 07:07:48 PM

I fail to see how suicide is any less selfish than homicide. After all, it certainly is not for the victim of a homocide that we mourn--the victim is dead, he knows nothing. The people we mourn for are ourselves, since we miss the deceased; or, if we never knew the victim, then we mourn for those that did. With this in mind, what is wrong with homicide that is not also wrong with suicide? matt

otheologos

02/13/2003 06:53:57 PM

"Yet Jesus committed it" ????? Helllllo? Do you know ANYTHING about Christianity? Jesus most CERTAINLY DID NOT commit suicide! He was God incarnate, and ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE KILLED so that we humans might once again be able to get close to our God! Yes, that's right, God Himself allowed Himself to be killed for our sake! As you can see, this is very different from committing suicide. Please don't spread lies like "Jesus committed suicide" -- you claim to be Christian, but you believe this??

travestine

02/13/2003 06:01:12 PM

Thank you, lucilius, for pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians who pick and choose which medical procedures God "ordains". As a Christian, I think it's time we followed the way of mercy and treated our loved ones with the same love and care that we treat our pets. I've never understood why it's considered "inhuman" to allow an animal to suffer in pain, yet it is at the same time required by law that our loved ones be forced to endure pain beyond medicine's ability to control. My beloved great aunt keeps a copy of the book "Final Exit" prominently displayed on her shelf and has let me know that, should the time come that she decides it's necessary, she plans to use it to take charge of her "final exit". I support her.

lucilius

02/13/2003 05:53:16 PM

I agree, limelight. That's something like the state my grandfather's in right now; he has advanced Alzheimer's, and no longer knows who or where he is; can't even speak a complete sentence. He often spoke, when younger, of how he didn't want to live if he was senile. Perhaps what hurt the most was watching him in those early moments of terror, when he realized that it was all slipping away; that in a few moments he wouldn't remember what had just happened. And this would happen again and again, but less and less frequently, with no way out. Otheologos, I have trouble imagining a god that will smile upon me if a person in great pain, obviously soon to die, says "Please help me" and I refuse -- and will condemn me if I help end that pain the only way possible. Didn't Jesus bless the man who carried his cross for him?

Psionycx

02/13/2003 05:51:24 PM

Yet Jesus committed it.

otheologos

02/13/2003 05:35:18 PM

Christians most certainly should NOT fear death, for that is precisely why Jesus came -- to reunite us with God and make the fear of death disappear. One can sugarcoat this with emotionalism all one wants, but the issue here is more WHO CHOOSES when one dies?? I admit, with modern medicine there are many gray areas, but when someone says "please help me die" and you do it, killing them, that's not so gray! They are culpable for not doing God's will-- we do have to suffer from time to time - and the assitant is guilty of murder. My church does not view suicide as a "viable option," we don't think Jesus wants it.

limelight

02/13/2003 05:28:36 PM

Lucilius, I think at that point the only thing left is the shell. What was the person, the life force has already moved on. I watched that happen with my dad. He passed away from bone cancer and for the last week he was so drugged sensless that he wasn't there. His "lifeforce" (for lack of a better word) had already departed. Only the shell was left. My dad was not there.

Psionycx

02/13/2003 05:21:50 PM

Well, people often seek to render illegal acts they themselves feel the temptation to commit. But why is suffering morally acceptable? Why should those who aren't suffering be allowed to tell those that are that they must go on suffering because the healthy folks fear the alternative. Yes, God could grant a suffering person the peace of death. He could also heal that person outright. But He doesn't typically do either. In some cases, death becoems just one of the hard choices that is a part of life.

lucilius

02/13/2003 05:15:53 PM

Thanks, limelight. My pointed sarcasm usually goes unappreciated. I can't imagine wanting to die so long as I can function at some level of normality: as long as my mind is clear and I have a way to communicate, I think life would still be worth living. But then I haven't lived with hideous pain either. I have known a few who did (such as bone cancer patients). To escape it, they were basically drugged senseless, and no one objected; I can't see a practical distincition between that and just hastening death when it is obviously inevitable. I do know that I would not want to live if I lost my mental faculties. If "I" am no longer the occupant of my body, what remains to die?

wandering_word

02/13/2003 05:12:23 PM

Assuming that life really is to be respected, is it more respectful to be hopeful that things will get better in life, or is it more respectful to end our lives as Mr Spong suggests? Which is the greater respect? Hope in Life or Affirmation of how good life once was.

limelight

02/13/2003 04:56:49 PM

I think that perhaps a lot of people are afraid that condoning assisted suicide may allow some to cover up not so noble intentions such as getting rid of a cranky old relative for fun and profit. Or cooercing Dear Old Gran into doing away with herself so Junior could inherit. There would definitely have to be some sort of screening process. Gee here's a thought, maybe some of these naysayers are afraid of their own thoughts?

Psionycx

02/13/2003 04:48:29 PM

Why are supposed Christians so afraid of death? As we begin our national march to war, we are loudly arguing that it acceptable ("Just War") to kill people simply because they might become a threat at a future date. This is not considered sinful or wrong. Yet helping people who are suffering to die is "murder". I'm not saying that everyone who feels a little dpressed should get a doctor to help them commit suicide. But for people who are terminally ill or severely crippled with no hope of recovery, who are we to say they have to endure their suffering because the idea of ending their lives offends our sensibilities?

limelight

02/13/2003 04:45:04 PM

Lucillius, As always you are a voice of reason. One of the things I think that people forget is that backin the days of the Bible, while it was not unheard of for people to live to be 70-80-90 years old. it was not common. Today it is quite common to live to be over 100. Modermn medicine has figured out how to keep us alive, but not how to keep us from wearing out, we still do. And I for one, do not want to be around when my days of usefulness are past and I become a burden either economically as well as emotionally on my family. I hope that when my time comes my family will love and honor me enough to concede to my wishes. L.

lucilius

02/13/2003 04:20:40 PM

OK, xcrydr,deacon777, Edwin1974, heidikhawaii and Emeriel; next time you get an infection, don't take any antibiotics. If you get hit by a bus, drag yourself home and don't get your broken bones set. Your god will determine when you die, right? When it hurts, just pray. That'll make everything OK, and you won't dirty yourselves with the "artificial prolongation of life" you find so unChristian. Any form of modern medicine is technically "artificial;" but I guess you'd be OK with god-approved medicine from the time of Jesus. He probably wouldn't mind leeches and bleeding. Embrace natural death! It's beautiful! Since we're all going to die anyway, why not play it "safe" and leave the whole thing in god's hands?

deacon777

02/13/2003 04:06:58 PM

For proponents of this sham called "assisted suicide", if the argument is - regardless of my personal beliefs, everyone has a "right" to be released from their pain and suffering if they so choose - then praytell, where does physical pain and suffering stop and mental pain and suffering begin. In otherwords one could say, "I hate life, I'm in mental anguish, I want to get off the train as 'twere, then put a gun to his head and pull the trigger, or inhale carbon monoxide, or try some other painless means. Can we at least get "real" about the terms we are discussing here. Assisted suicide is a polite way of saying you don't have the guts to do it yourself and would somebody else please kill you...all in the name of mercy. Amazing.

otheologos

02/13/2003 03:48:09 PM

This guy is such a sham it's not even funny.... "St. Paul was wrong"?? What are you going to say next.... that Paul was wrong to say that Jesus was God? "Bishop" Spong is spiritually detrimental to our health! Why the ECUSA doesn't defrock him, I'll never know.

zarabeth

02/13/2003 03:02:07 PM

I agree with Spong on this issue.

izzyjk

02/13/2003 02:49:19 PM

angpuppy. rt. rev.john shelby spong d.d retired bishop of episcopal diosese of newark

bardmountain

02/13/2003 02:44:01 PM

In my own personal mythology, which I would decline to force on anyone else, I think the taking of life is wrong. That would include war (about to have one), capital punishment (happens all the time), eating meat (good grief happens a lot), and assisted suicide (very, very rarely happens). That being said, if a loved one was continuously suffering with no hope available and wanted nothing but release from pain and misery, I hope I would be strong enough to forsake my own spiritual/psychological well being to help end their pain and misery.

izzyjk

02/13/2003 02:31:57 PM

if you hold the this theology,then marliyn manson sumed it up years ago. "your already dead,go ahead and kill yourself"

angpuppy

02/13/2003 02:20:15 PM

Bishop of what Church?

izzyjk

02/13/2003 02:05:14 PM

first off, why is this man in clergy if he doesnt believe in what he does,his whole live according to him is based on a fairytale(according to him). he needs to find a new line of work. i agree that there are times that life is much worse that death,but those times that you are in the wilderness"so to speak" are times God is disiplining or pruning your life.and we know that God works all for the good for those that love him,"that love him",and we can also be sure that this present suffering can not compare to what God has in store for us if we believe in Jesus as our savior. it is beliefs like this that start the downward spirile. if we accept,soon it could be manitory for those past a certain age.and yes resperaters and and other things that help save lifes are not God but man,but he has given this knowledge to us,to help save life,because we realize the meaning of life. his first step wasnt believing this,but not beliving the Bible ,which was his first step down the spirile

Emeriel

02/13/2003 01:44:19 PM

"Thou shalt not kill." If people would just follow the commandments and stop trying to analyze issues, then perhaps we would have a more peaceful world. There is no need to be afraid of dying, a natural process and part of life. A flower is a thing of beauty. It has a lifespan - if you cut it it will wither and die sooner rather than allowing it to take it's natural course in a garden. Human life is the same. Enjoy it. Take pleasure in other peoples lives. Share. Give. And be there to comfort them in death. We will all go through this process. Don't shun it. Embrace it. Peace.

limelight

02/13/2003 01:30:38 PM

I get scared when someone starts calling the catholic church sane.........

ding

02/13/2003 01:04:44 PM

Well, where in the Bible is the instructions for the use of respirators and other life-support measures? Do you believe it is always wrong to stop those measures even in the case of brain death? What about fertility treatments? Those are certainly tinkering with "God's plan" - do you believe that is wrong too?

heidikhawaii

02/13/2003 12:50:20 PM

Anyone who questions the bible should question their own faith with God. The bible is not wrong, and never will be. It is a gift and blessing from God for us to follow and learn from throughout our lives. God is the one who decides whether we should live or die, not humans who are of the flesh and full of sin.

ding

02/13/2003 12:50:17 PM

Pt 2 While I disagree with Bishop Spong on many things, I do agree that assisted suicide should be an option for those who choose it and under very strictly regulated conditions as it has been in Oregon. Since becoming legal there, only a handful of individuals have chosen to end their lives with the assistance of physician-prescribed medication. Most people, given adequate pain medication and assitance from hospice or caring family/friends will choose to let death come as it will, but those few individuals who wanted to exercise take charge and be in control of the end of their terminal illnesses were very, very glad to have the option available. And the slippery slope so alarmingly predicted by the opponents of assisted suicide has not proven to be the case.

ding

02/13/2003 12:49:58 PM

Religion may be about every aspect of life, but OUR religion does not gives us the right to tell people of other religions what they may do. Just because you think you would not choose assisted suicide does not give you the right to try to restrict that choice for others.

saeltgroth49

02/13/2003 12:24:10 PM

sanity from the Catholic church liberal nonsense from Spong (again)

Edwin1974

02/13/2003 11:41:43 AM

:WHY DOES RELIGION FEEL THE NEED TO INVADE INTO EVERY PERSONAL ISSUE, : Because religion is about every aspect of life or it isn't religion at all. And it's meaningless to speak of "religion" in general having a "self-attributed authority." Religion is the way in which human beings relate to life as a whole. Religion isn't one particular authority. And obviously no particular religious authority would admit that its authority is "self-attributed." You are quite free to think this, of course.

Edwin1974

02/13/2003 11:39:16 AM

:Who is this guy!!! every time I read his byline "A Bishop Speaks" I cringe! (even though I am a Catholic and not of his denomination): I cringe even more, because I _am_ of his denomination. It's partly because of people like him that I have frequently considered converting to your communion. I remain Anglican in spite of Bishop Spong. Though the diversity and tolerance that allows him to spread his views under the aegis of the episcopacy also has much better fruit, for which I'm deeply grateful.

Edwin1974

02/13/2003 11:37:09 AM

Pt. 2: And in fact the artificial prolongation of life beyond the point at which intellect and will are truly functional is _precisely_ the result of the arrogant modernism that Bishop Spong advocates. We are not in ultimate control. We are, fundamentally, in the same condition we have always been in--living a precarious existence between life and death, a brief moment of time in which we can choose to act meaningfully and honorably and lovingly. Bishop Spong is, ironically, saying much the same thing conservative ethicists say (that modern medicine cannot and should not try to prolong life indefinitely), but he is resting this sensible conclusion on a deeply flawed framework. IN Christ, Edwin

Edwin1974

02/13/2003 11:33:13 AM

Deacon 777, I agree entirely. Bishop Spong has a knack of resting even fairly reasonable propositions on fundamentally warped premises. I agree with him that modern medicine should not be used to prolong life (unless the patient wishes) when this results in a "breathing cadaver." Death has been robbed of much of its meaning and dignity by an overemphasis on keeping the person breathing as long as possible. BUT that is very different from assisted suicide. There is a fine but crucial line between not prolonging life artificially and bringing it to an end through medical means. (Cont.)

deacon777

02/13/2003 11:20:55 AM

Bishop Spong - Death can be our "friend". Allowing one to die from natural causes is one thing, as opposed to prolonging life artifically. To advocate artificial termination of life in the name of "mercy" is a perversion of Christianity, something I'm afraid the troubled Bishop specializes in.

xcrydr

02/13/2003 11:08:37 AM

My belief is that it is wrong for us to take our own life. We all know that suicide in any form is suicide. It is the taking of ones life. As much humiliation and torture Jesus suffered on the cross, do you think he wanted someone to help him die? Even the Roman soldier that took pity on HIM and killed HIM with the spear suffered God's wrath. How is that any different than assisting a terminally ill person in dying? God has a plan for everyone. If you do not have faith in that plan then you have not given all of your soul to God. You still doubt him in some way. The way through pain is prayer. Only Jesus can heal your pain. Only HE can assist someone in dying. Accept Death as a blessing because you will be with God. To fight death is to avoid the inevitable. We will all die. It is God that says when.

Gia77

02/13/2003 11:03:55 AM

"What if you are terminally ill... Now you are still well in control of your senses and you want to die rather than go on like this, but the terrible disease has left you with little mobility. You want to go, but you need help." Why would you need help? And how would you want someone TO help? "That is assisted suicide." 'Assisted' how? I was merely commenting on the fact that suicide is, by definition, death caused by self. Once 'assistance' is rendered, it ceases to be suicide. Of course, one could split hairs and question whether the person who opened the bottle from which the suicide proceeded to take an overdose qualified as 'assistance.' But I'm guessing that most people mean a much more active role than that. "And it is a respectful and loving thing to do." I don't find it so. I do not want for anyone to die by my hand, willingly or not.

kaveh500

02/13/2003 11:00:18 AM

I don't know why you conservatives keep screeching about "moral relativism" when you criticize what you don't believe in. Me, I belive ABSOLUTELY in the right to die with dignity.

Gertrude_of_Nivelles

02/13/2003 10:32:10 AM

btw, my mother died of cancer, at home, and myself and my husband nursed her and cared for her along with wonderful hospice help. So, I know that suffering can be great. But God granted her many great graces and helps in her final days that I know she was glad to receive, even though she desperately wanted her suffering to end. She was very brave and good, but was certainly near her limit. This is a grave temptation placed before us, and no good thing! We start by the slaughter of the unborn and end by ending the lives of our elderly. This is a grave sin. Yes, I agree that no one can make our moral choices for us. But morality is not just a personal decision. it is not all the same thing. Some choices are right, some are merely better than others,and some are wrong! Moral relativism is not clear thinking, sorry.

KathyHL

02/13/2003 10:27:02 AM

Hey, if I'm ever diagnosed with a terminal illness, I want to use the hospice system. To echo some posts below, they're wonderful. They concentrate on alleviating any pain and making the person as comfortable as possible. And if I'm ever so mangled up in an accident that I have no hope of having a decent life again, I hope my family will let me die. I'm not talking about just being in a wheelchair - people with that type of handicap have had rewarding lives, and I'd be willing to try and follow their examples. I'm talking about a coma, or having my brains hopelessly scrambled - or worse yet, having my brain be the *only* part of me that functions. "Life" is not always the best option. Sometimes death is a release.

Gertrude_of_Nivelles

02/13/2003 10:25:50 AM

oops. rereading my post: I meant to say that we should help the terminally ill by helping them alleviate their pain and depression. It sounded like I meant to say "Deal with it!", and I certainly did not. Also: tomalilove: God bless you and keep you and your husband, and grant you grace, strenth, peace and healing!

limelight

02/13/2003 10:24:25 AM

I have to agree with all the prevoius opinions and say that This is a personal matter that I think is aas varied as each individual and each circumstance. My father died a painful and humiliating death from bone cancer. the Hospice was wonderful to him the last 6 months of his life. They were also wonderful to us, his children. However there were indignities that a proud and private man like my father did not wish to suffer over and over and over again. He had no dignity. There was severe pain and towards the end the only thing that aleviated it was to basically keep him "out of it". In a lucid moment he asked one of my brothers to end it for him. He hurt, was tired, and had suffered enough. He lived 2 more weeks. Had he asked me I would have tried to help him.

Gertrude_of_Nivelles

02/13/2003 10:23:25 AM

GOOD Grief indeed! Who is this guy!!! every time I read his byline "A Bishop Speaks" I cringe! (even though I am a Catholic and not of his denomination) Look at the example of the Netherlands. It started off as assisting terminally ill in great pain and now if you are depressed and can get your Dr. to go along why,off you go! God has the authority over life and death; it is not our choice to end life. This is so wrong. Deal with the pain and depression of terminal illness. God alone knows what is truly going on in the heart and spirit--what great grace or conversion might we forfeit for ourself our others by premature ending of life? This man is listening to lies whispered into his ears by the father of lies!

tomalilove

02/13/2003 10:09:21 AM

All I can say, is that I believe My Creator will never give me more that I can handle. And if it becomes more that I can handle He will be there to comfort me. My husband is battling with cancer, and to me this is another proof that God's strength is there every step of the way. Who am I to ask to be suffer or pain free? Didn't the Son of God suffer and went through pain for us? Right or wrong? I think we will find out the answer once our Heavenly Father receives us after we leave this world.

Priam

02/13/2003 09:49:23 AM

Good grief! No wonder his critics often refer to him as "Sponge for his wondrous capacity for cultural assimilation of any toxic novelty floating around secularist circles.

jamshark70

02/13/2003 09:47:08 AM

It's worth noting that Hospices (healthcare agencies devoted to providing palliative--comfort--care to the terminally ill and their families) neither prolong life nor hasten death. Instead, hospices use medical expertise to minimize pain, control symptoms, and help the patient to "live fully until they die." They also help the family understand the dying process and be less freaked out by it. Hospice is nearly always a viable option for the terminally ill. Hospice should be called in for the last few months of the person's life. Instead, too often, they're brought in as a last resort when the patient has only days, sometimes hours. By then, not much can be done. If we think assisted suicide is the answer, it just illustrates how Hospices need to do more community education (which Hospices already know). James

jkopanko

02/13/2003 09:15:17 AM

dp, "God's word is strictly against this..." How do you know what "God's word" IS??? How do you even know what GOD is, and that it would have a "word" (presumably a system of rules to be obeyed?) The fact of the matter is, you are not motivated by "God" but by an intense desire to CONTROL and SIT IN JUDGEMENT of the lives of other people with no connection to you whatsoever. The real question is, HOW DARE YOU??? Who do you think you are to attempt to mandate the major personal decisions of other people? Do you have a life of your own? Are you so perfect, according to your own standards, that you need not concern yourself any longer with YOUR OWN virtue, and are free to roam around offering unsolicited advice to others on theirs??? Have a little common decency.

limelight

02/13/2003 09:11:13 AM

Dolphin Spirit, I agree it is best kept between a person and their God. But if your grandfather in a moment of lucidity had come to you and asked for your help to put him and every one olse out of the pain and humiliation he was suffering....... That is a whole other matter.

dolphinspirit71

02/13/2003 09:05:05 AM

My grandfather, stricken with Alzheimer's disease, wasted away in a nursing home. His body, in excellent health, lasted years beyond his ravaged brain. Had he known what lie ahead of him, I'm nearly certain he would have chosen to end his life earlier, while he could still say his goodbyes, and to spare my grandmother the agony of watching him waste away. It's a choice that's best left to the individual, because -- ultimately -- it's between his or her god, and no one else.

limelight

02/13/2003 08:06:12 AM

Dear Gia77, What if you are terminally ill. You have gotten to the point where you are constantly in pain. the quality of life has sunk to the level where there is no more quality. You are becomming a financial as well as a mwntal and emotional burden on your family and children, adn your basically tired of being sick and tired with no way out and the only way to go is down hill. Now you are still well in control of your senses and you want to die rather than go on like this, but the terrible disease has left you with little mobility. You want to go, but you need help. That is assisted suicide. And it is a respectful and loving thing to do. L.

sketchy_c

02/13/2003 07:13:39 AM

christianchic makes an excellent point, and I agree that's not euthanasia. I wonder, though, if that starts a slippery slope going the other direction. If one believes that "Only God can say when I die," (see the posts on the related Thomas Lynch article) wouldn't that imply (s)he should write a living will to refuse any medical attention in case of a stroke or heart attack? Emergency medical treatments for those conditions are designed to prevent death. Is it different? If so, how? Where is the line drawn? Personally, I support the right of the individual. Living wills should be honored. If the individual is not conscious or able, perhaps family... but I'm not clear on where that line is either.

Gia77

02/13/2003 04:10:59 AM

'Assisted suicide'...that expression always amuses me. How can suicide (the act of taking one's own life) be assisted? At any rate, I'm against it. There is nothing stopping a person from committing suicide; why should others be drawn into it?

debbprim

02/13/2003 03:07:18 AM

God's word is strictly against this. Thou shalt not kill! Killing one because of handicap or terminally ill amounts to murder either way you want to look at it. Life and death is not in our hands! The hand of the almighty creator still has the say so, yet we are not to tempt him! We each will have our day! As you stand before the great I am, what will you be able to say? "Oh by the way Lord I acted as God and decided to end the misery of an old poor helpless soul, Don't thank me, it was the least I could do to spare you more time with the sinners." Yeah right more than likely you will be shaking uncontrolably begging for his forgivness of committing murder!

jkopanko

02/13/2003 02:17:05 AM

Certainly the right of the individual to make major decisions related to their personal existence "can be considered moral and proper"... But the real question is, WHY DOES RELIGION FEEL THE NEED TO INVADE INTO EVERY PERSONAL ISSUE, ARROGANTLY ASSUMING TO JUDGE JUST WHAT RIGHTS THE INDIVIDUAL "MAY HAVE" AND WHICH SHOULD BE FORBIDDEN TO THE INDIVIDUAL, ON ITS SELF-ATTRIBUTED AUTHORITY?

jkopanko

02/13/2003 02:15:44 AM

Certainly the right of the individual to make major decisions related to their personal existence "can be considered moral and proper"... But the real question is, WHY DOES RELIGION FEEL THE NEED TO INVADE INTO EVERY PERSONAL ISSUE, ARROGANTLY ASSUMING TO JUDGE JUST WHAT RIGHTS THE INDIVIDUAL "MAY HAVE" AND WHICH SHOULD BE FORBIDDEN TO THE INDIVIDUAL, ON ITS SELF-ATTRIBUTED AUTHORITY?

christianchic1984

02/12/2003 09:38:05 PM

Greling: If someone has already died, they cannot die again, i.e. be euthanized. Your mother supports the idea of a natural death and that is exactly what had taken place with her own mother.

truthshines

02/12/2003 08:32:28 PM

Hard to say. I am against suicide, but what is that terminal stage suffering like? We can extend the physical life long after it can no longer sustain itself. Not sure. What is the compassionate thing to do?

Anti-Virus

02/12/2003 08:07:03 PM

Exd 21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. So saith the Lord that sent his own 'son' to an early suicidal death

anarchy

02/12/2003 07:56:58 PM

Cost of a doctor: Too much Cost of a gun: Should be more. Cost of a Secular Fundie: Priceless For everything else there is common sence.

greling

02/12/2003 07:56:11 PM

Sometimes it's better to let a person physically die and spiritually survive. It's a lot better than letting them physically live and suffer a spiritual death. My mother says that she is against assisted suicide on all accounts, but when her mother died and the doctor asked her if he should revive her she said "no". Isn't this euthenasisa also?

Anti-Virus

02/12/2003 07:47:47 PM

Does God have the right to kill people by act or design?

Anti-Virus

02/12/2003 07:45:27 PM

But even if you are dead you might be in a happy place...doh!

Anti-Virus

02/12/2003 07:43:40 PM

Oh - and you have to wait for Him to kill ya...

Anti-Virus

02/12/2003 07:41:19 PM

What is death? Why bleat about it, unless you get paid to write an article for BNET. God has chosen that we die. Blah Blah Blah...

Infinite_Bloom

02/12/2003 07:39:53 PM

I can say that it is wrong all I want to right now. But the fact of the matter is I am not the one suffering, and in so much pain that I can't stand life itself. When this happens, ya never know. I might just change my mind. The only problem I feel is that there are loop holes. I don't think that someone should be able to take their life just to take it. I think medically something should be wrong with the person.

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