Euthanasia And Divine Command Theory: Opinion Essay

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Euthanasia, as described by The Oxford English Dictionary, is the practice of painlessly and intentionally ending the life of someone who is suffering from an incurable and painful disease or hopeless coma in order to prevent them from experiencing an otherwise exceedingly miserable existence. This practice has three different and distinct subtypes: passive and active euthanasia, voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia, and indirect euthanasia. Active euthanasia is when the death is caused by an action or having something added to the situation, like administering a lethal dose of painkillers. On the other hand, Passive Euthanasia is when the death is caused by something being left out or excluded. This can be done by purposefully withholding or withdrawing treatment that a patient needs, like a major surgery or medication. Voluntary Euthanasia occurs when the person directly requests for their life to be ended. Non-voluntary Euthanasia occurs when somebody is unable to make the choice of weather to choose between life or death, for example if they are in a irreversible coma, or a very young baby. In this case, a qualified and appropriate person makes the decision. Indirect Euthanasia is the process of giving a patient medication (usually to reduce pain) that has a side-effect of speeding up their death process. With Indirect Euthansia, since the objective is not to kill the person, it is typically recognized as morally acceptable. In regards to all of the differnet kinds of euthanasia, in this essay I will only be debating the ethics of voluntary euthanasia, or when a patient requests to have their life ended in order to prevent their pain and suffering. Right now, voluntary euthanasia is only legal in Belgium, Canada, Luxemborg, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. There are only two main stances centered around the topic of voluntary euthanasia, you are either for it or against it. People who support the legalization of voluntary euthanasia think that if we are living in a civilized society, then we should be able to die at our request, painlessly, and with dignity. They think that if we were to own anything on the planet, that it would be the meat and guts that is packing our bones. Essentially, it’s your body, it is your property, and you should be able to do whatever you want with it. Since, your body, and your existence itself is your own property, nobody should be allowed to make you live longer than you want to. In fact, forcing an individual to continue living when they themselves are against it, is unethical and it violates their personal freedom. On the other hand, we have the people that are against voluntary euthanasia. This is usually for religious reasons, but some folks think that if it were to actually be made legal, the rules around it would be abused and people would find loopholes, and the whole thing would be abused. Religious people think that life was started by God, or whatever they believe in, and therefore it should be ended by God. Personally, I think that euthanasia should be made legal all across the board. There are two main reasons on why I think this, and the first is that nobody asked to be brought into the world, and not everybody is equal upon birth, therefore people should be allowed to end their life voluntarily, and not be forced to continue something they definitely don’t want to do or an identity they don’t agree with. If they’re forced to continue living when they hate life, they may project their anger or sadness on those who are happy. If voluntary euthanasia was legal, I bet we’d have a lot less people negatively affecting our lives on a day to day basis. Second of all, overpopulation. We have entirely too many people running around on this planet, and it’s becoming a serious issue that nobody wants to talk about, because what is a politician supposed to do if they’re trying to tackle overpopulation? Debate that half the population needs to die? “Alright everybody, first order of business, half of you gotta go…” Good luck with that. It’s one of the only ways to implement a strategy to hopefully reduce overpopulation without seeming like a psycho who will never get voted into office.

Divine Command Theory:

Divine command theory is basically the ethical concept of going to a deity, or The Bible for answers to questions of what is right and what is wrong. Crucial elements of this theory are that “Any divine law requires the existence of God, as the divine lawgiver.” (P2 of DCT Reading) Another element of this theory is that people who subscribe to this will turn to whatever god or goddess they believe in for what is wrong and what is right and what is good. This theory also creates a huge dilemma which is referred to as the Euthyphro Dilemma. It asks, does God command things because they are right, or are right things right because God commands them? Either you accept that God’s command alone makes something right, and in that case moral rightness is meaningless because God could command anything… Or you accept that God commands right things because they are right, which means that there is some sort of distinction of right and wrong independent of God. For billions of people, The Holy Bible, The Quran and other theistic readings are the answer to where morality comes from, that’s what they’re for. Since these people believe in god(s), who they also believe created The Earth and everything else, it’s also reasonable for them to believe that the god(s) would’ve created some kind of divine rulebook for how to behave on the space that they created. Regardless of what religion people subscribe to, or who they think wrote their holy book, many people believe that in order for morality to really be something binding, that it must come from God. This theory claims to lead to knowledge about ethical truths because they have God on their side. You have a question on an ethical/moral issue? Easy, go ask God. Check the rulebook. Divine Command Theory solves the grounding issue that every ethical system needs some sort of foundation, because with Divine Command Theory, the foundation is God. Religion and Divine Command Theory guarantee happiness. Most of the people who subscribe to some sort of religion would be considered a deontologist. Deontology is an ethical theory that uses rules to determine right from wrong, in this case, the rules are stated in their holy writings, The Bible, etc…

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Euthanasia and Divine Command Theory:

The topic of death and dying is one of the most tightly-held things that religions deal with, so it makes sense on why the topic of euthanasia is a little touchy to those with religious beliefs. All faiths offer some sort of purpose or meaning to death, and religious people also believe that their god has a plan for everybody, and that would mean that god has a plan for everybodies death, so going against god’s plan would inherently be immoral, and they would be breaking their ethical law. They would also be upsetting their God, which could mean that when they die, whether it is by their own will or not, they could have post-death repercussions. Because of these reasons, I’m assuming that those who are religious do not support euthanasia, because it would ge going against god’s plan, which would be immoral. On top of that, pretty much all religions have written text that forbids killing, especially of the innocent, including killing of the self. Subscribers of Divine Command Theory also believe in the sanctity of human life. Humans are special because God created them in a reflection of himself, so killing the self would be a direct attack on the sanctity and sovereignty of God himself. This theory challenges my own conclusions of euthanasia, but it’s okay because I think the Euthyphro Problem pokes the biggest hole ever in religion itself, and once that is done, it all falls to pieces. I can understand why religious people feel this way about euthanasia though, if you sincerely believe that god created everybody in an image of himself, and that everybody is beautful, than it would be against god’s plan to kill yourself. I still believe in euthanasia, however.


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