Christian Views on Euthanasia: Analytical Essay
“Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?” (Ecclesiastes 7:17). Death is an important part to Christians all around the world. They believe that all humans should live their longest life instead of taking their life away earlier than they should. Many people hold different perspectives on euthanasia and this has caused many debates all around the world if it is ethically allowed to be practiced or not. Euthanasia is strongly frowned upon by the Christian faith as a result of them viewing life as a gift from God and believing that choosing when a person should live or die is not up to us but instead is up to God. Christianity is split into three branches which are Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox. These denominations share slightly different views on the arising issue which is that euthanasia and wrongly taking away the life of another living being is sinning against God who has created that life. However, there are some denominations such as Methodists and the United Church of Christ. These denominations think that no individual has the right to make their own choice when it comes to euthanasia. Although some denominations believe that euthanasia can be undertaken by any human being as it is their individual choice and this is because of exceptions and emissions that some denominations follow. This includes all Christians to respect every human being; if we respect a person you need to respect their decision about ending their life or helping a loved one end their life. (bbc.co.uk, 2009). In recent years, some churches have started to think differently about euthanasia. The three main denominations of Christianity believe that euthanasia should not be practiced due to many scriptures saying life should not be taken away as it is a gift from God.
Euthanasia can be split into two different categories which are: active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is when someone is killed by an act such as an overdose on pain killers. Whereas passive euthanasia is where a person is left to die alone (BBC, 2014). The three denomination’s faith still views euthanasia as unacceptable but they perceive passive euthanasia to be less sinful than active euthanasia. This is due to an individual not speeding up the dying process but instead letting the patient die naturally (BBC, 2014). There are many Christian churches in today’s society and they all have slightly different viewpoints on the ethical issue of euthanasia as they are not interested in what the Pope has to say. However, the main viewpoint comes from the Catholic church that is run by the Pope. The Catholic church despises any type of euthanasia practice. This is due to them strongly believing in not interrupting the dying process as they think if you interrupt, it interferes with the human spirit moving towards god. However, there are some churches in the Christian churches that think otherwise about this stemming issue.
The catholic church has ethical codes on the issue of euthanasia and they say that all human life is made by God and made in his image. Therefore, we should not take away this gift that humans have accustomed from God. With this, they state that no person has the right to take away another innocent human being’s life even if the person wants to die. “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13). From looking at this verse, we can see that the catholic church judge what is right and wrong through the bible scriptures. The Catholic church also refers back to St. Thomas Aquinas’ philosophies about euthanasia. St. Thomas Aquinas writes that if you focus on your dignity and pertains to the essence and despite the fact you are meaning well or even appearing undignified to the thought of euthanasia you are committing a final attack on a vulnerable person’s intrinsic dignity (bioethics.org, 1997). However, some denominations of Christianity think differently to the catholic church. It is these denominations that believe that it is an individual’s choice (newsmax.com, 2015) This is due to these denominations believing they should respect every human being and with this respect you must respect their decisions about ending their life even if you do not agree. The church also believes that all life is equal. Patients who are old or sick and who are near the end of life have the same value as anyone else who is not in this situation, people who have mental or physical handicaps have the same value as any other human being (BBC, 2014).
Many denominations of Christianity have different viewpoints on the issue that is euthanasia. The Orthodox religion is a part of the Christian community and shares the same view as the Catholic church and believes that euthanasia is the same as intentionally killing someone or provide the means of someone with the ability to commit suicide. They receive this view from their sacred text which is the bible, but it also comes from the authority of the church. They also identify euthanasia to be impinging on the sixth commandment, which states that “you shall not kill/murder.” On account of them rejecting euthanasia, they consider it to be a special case of murder if done without the knowledge or consent of the patient, including suicide if requested by a patient (The Good Sheperd, 2017). Additionally, the Orthodox church is strongly against the use of euthanasia. The Anglican church also does not believe in euthanasia. They believe that assisting a person to die is morally evil and make sick or dying people vulnerable. they receive their view from the bible and also from the prism of the church as they pass down their teachings from generation to generation (anglicantheologicalreview.org, 2012). They also presume that if someone is allowed to undertake euthanasia, they may request an early death to avoid a burden being placed on their family (Prezi, 2013). However, with this viewpoint, there has been some discussion within the Anglican community about if euthanasia is wrong or not. With this, it can be seen that the Anglican church and the orthodox church both strongly disagree with euthanasia as they feel people will use this as an easy option to escape suffering, to go against God and to also remove themselves from a hard time in their life.
The Lutheran church shares the same view about euthanasia with the catholic church. They go against all killing, which includes the practices of mercy killing and all kinds of euthanasia; this is due to them believing that killing goes against the word of God. They see their life as not being their own and thus do not have the obligation to take away their life, it is because of this they find it just as sinful to take away another human being’s life as it would be to take away your own (Death with Dignity, N.D). This can be seen to intertwine with most Christian views about euthanasia as they both believe that life was given by god and they do not have the right to take it away. They get their viewpoint from the teachings in the bible and allow this to lead them. Baptist holds the same opinion as the Lutheran and the Catholic church as they view the practice of deliberate ending of life in order to end the suffering of a patient to be morally unacceptable. They do view the practice of not prolonging life with different medications and treatments to morally acceptable as they view this to be the end of a person’s life (Death with Dignity, N.D). From this, it has been found that the majority of the churches that make up Christianity hold a strong opinion about euthanasia and how it is morally wrong to undertake any practice that associates with the killing of a person.
However, there are some churches in the Christian faith that support euthanasia. Methodists are one of the main religions that support euthanasia as they think it is up to an individual to choose if they want to end their life and end the suffering (Newsmax, 2015). The Methodist church views euthanasia to be a choice by a person and they gain this perspective from the Holy Bible and use their sacred tradition to interpret the teachings from the Bible differently to the three branches of Christianity. The United Church of Christ shares the same view as Methodist, as they also believe that a person has individual freedom when it comes to the topic of euthanasia. They also find the topic of euthanasia to be a delicate subject in Christianity, even in specific circumstances as it is the Christian religion that strongly opposes euthanasia in all forms (Newsmax, 2015). From this, it can be seen that both Methodist and the United Church of Christ both share a controversial view about euthanasia and go against the three branches of Christianity. These two churches both believe that it is an individual’s choice about when their life ends instead of the majority thinking that an individual’s do not have a choice about when we die. It can be seen that these arguments are strongly frowned upon by most of the Christian community as they believe that natural death is the best way to end life instead of departing earth early.
Euthanasia is an emerging issue that is becoming more relevant in our modern world but Christianity still holds a strong viewpoint on this issue, or so people thought. Euthanasia is strongly frowned upon by the Christian faith because they view life as a gift from God and believe it should not be disturbed. However, some smaller denominations are a part of the Christian community such as Methodists and the United Church of Christ these denominations have started to move away from the central teaching that has been conveyed by the Catholic church. This has caused controversy inside the Christian community and goes against the central teachings of the Catholic church. It was found that the majority of the Christian community still supports the viewpoints on euthanasia that have been portrayed in the Bible. However, now some smaller denominations are believing differently and instead think that an individual has the choice about his death instead of God. We can conclude that the majority of the Christian faith is against euthanasia and will not change perspectives on this issue as they believe that God judges when we should die when we should live and to never take away a life that was created by God.
- Australian Baptists oppose euthanasia 2010, viewed 9 November 2019, .
- This source allowed me to see why many Christian denominations are against the use of euthanasia in the modern world. It showed me how some of the denominations of Christianity, particularly how the Baptist Union of Australia feel about the issue of euthanasia and how it is going against the word of God. This source also provided extensive amounts of reasons why the Baptist are against euthanasia.
- Euthanasia and assisted dying 2009, viewed 4 November 2019, .
- This source provided a basic overview for me when first researching about Christians views on euthanasia. It gave me an insight to the view that the Roman Catholic Church hold and their stance on euthanasia in the modern world. It was interesting to see how the church did hold a strong view and how they view all life as a gift from God. This source allowed me to compare the Catholic church to other denominations and compare their viewpoints. This source was extremely reliable as it allowed me to access all the information needed and gave me context of what I going to read in the article.
- Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide 2017, viewed 9 November 2019, .
- Harvey, G 2017, What the Orthodox Church teaches on Euthanasia, viewed 6 November 2019, .
- Nagi, M, Pugh, M & Lazerine, N 1981, Attitudes of Catholic and Protestant clergy on euthanasia and abortion., viewed 6 November 2019, .
- Ozemhoya, C 2015, 8 Christian Denominations With Most Liberal Stance on Euthanasia, viewed 11 November 2019, .
- Religion and Spirituality n.d., viewed 6 February 2020, .
- This source presented me with an oversight of most denominations in the Christian community and how they all feel about the euthanasia topic. This source also showed different viewpoints from all these denominations while still allowing me to compare them with ease. It allowed me to add more the denominations I had chosen and provide the reader more information on the issue. This source was valid as it had different links to different issue that are all related to religion.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas 2019, viewed 6 February 2020,
- This source provided me with quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas and how he felt about the issue of euthanasia and how we are actually committing a sin even if we think we are doing the best thing for someone else. It allowed me to add quotes that he said into my essay and present him some of the denominations. The was valid as it presented quotes from him and explained all these quotes and how he truly felt about this issue.
- Sedgwick, T 2012, Anglican Ethics and Moral Traditioning, pdf, viewed 6 February 2020, .
- Usher, N 2013, EUTHANASIA- ANGLICAN PERSPECTIVE, viewed 7 November 2019, .
- 11 Bible Verses about Euthanasia n.d., viewed 10 November 2019, .
- This source provided me with an extended amount of verses from the Bible that relate back to euthanasia and allowed me to use these in my essay. It allowed me to add verses to the denominations that use the Bible mainly to teach their followers. This source was extremely reliable as it allowed me to added multiple types of verses all throughout my essay.