Euthanasia and Christianity

Vocal proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide often dismiss those who think it is dangerous as religiously motivated.  They would say you do not need to consider our arguments because they are grounded in religious belief. Yet, this is simply not true…  You do not need to be a Christian or have other religious beliefs that oppose assisted dying to make a compelling secular case against it.

Make sure you check out our other videos in this series… where we give many arguments about the dangers and consequences of assisted suicide and euthanasia, none of which appeal to any sort of religious belief.

But does God have an opinion on this topic? Let us look at what our response, as Christians, should be when considering the intentional ending of life to relieve suffering… The Christian perspective is important because implicit within a responsible and caring society are the doctrines and values of Christianity which helped form such a society. Caring for our most vulnerable has always been core to true Christian expression within a community. The care of the poor, sick and disfranchised is an important part of Church history.

In Genesis 9:6 we are warned against the killing of another human being as humanity was created in the Image of God – Imago Dei – and because of this each human person has intrinsic worth and purpose and should be treated accordingly. How we do this for the sick and dying can be found in Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37: Jesus replied, “A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way robbers stripped him, beat him, and left him for dead. “By chance, a priest was traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he went around him and continued his way. Then a Levite came to that place. When he saw the man, he, too, went around him and continued his way. “But a Samaritan, as he was traveling along, came across the man. When the Samaritan saw him, he felt sorry for the man, went to him, and cleaned and bandaged his wounds, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The Samaritan took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than that, I’ll pay you on my return trip. “Of these three men, who do you think was a neighbour to the man who was attacked by robbers?” The expert said, “The one who was kind enough to help him.” Jesus told him, “Go and imitate his example!” This story is challenging, because as Professor David Richmond states: “The parable of the Good Samaritan condemns those who *speak about* compassion but are *not* prepared to sacrifice the time and personal attention demanded for the care of suffering people. It is one thing to promote euthanasia as a compassionate response, [but] quite another to make the sacrifices involved in bringing love, comfort and care to the dying.”

Romans 15:1 asks that ‘we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves.’ Selflessness is a core Christian value. In fact, Timothy goes so far to say in 1 Timothy 5:8 that ‘if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.’ These verses remind us of the importance God places on our caring and taking responsibility for others, and nowhere in Scripture is the intentional killing or assisted suicide of someone unwell or injured, seen as a positive part of a healthy society. And let us not forget, that as followers of Christ, we need to acknowledge God is the author of life…  and therefore, we submit our lives to Him, all our lives… *Including* the timing of our death. “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”