Euthanasia has been a topic of intense discussion for the entirety of the existence of religion. This has led to many battles of morals vs religion which find itself being the breaking point of making the correct decision and the theologically correct one. The medical definition of Euthanasia states; The practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering . The word ‘Euthanasia’ come from the Greek terms, ‘eu’, goodly or well + ‘thanatos’, death = the good death. However, a more universal definition of Euthanasia states; the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma .
Recently, a key surge for law change regarding the legalisation of Euthanasia has pushed the Victorian government to enforce these changes which the government believes should be “a template for other Australian states if the introduction is seen as successful” . However, the law enforced states “To be eligible under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act, a person 18 years or older must have an advanced disease causing them unacceptable suffering and is likely to cause their death within six months, or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases”. This law directly correlates to the views of many religious theologies which allow euthanasia in severe medical conditions and situations. Furthermore, the health minister of Victoria, Jenny Mikakos stated “This is about giving people who are suffering intolerably from an incurable disease a voluntary, compassionate choice over the manner of their death,” . This further reinforced the governments choices to enforce the Euthanasia law whilst fulfilling the Christian teleology.
Euthanasia has two distinct structures, every one of which brings different philosophical and social rights and wrongs. Two principle structures are passive and active. In active euthanasia an individual legitimately has an impact in the reasons for the patient’s demise. On the other hand, passive euthanasia is when no immediate activity is done, and the patient is left to live out the rest of their life. A key pillar of Christianity is Agape Love. Agape is the term that defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. Which clearly is for the eternal and healthy life that God had given. This is a clear example of how euthanasia Is not supported by the Christian theology.
However, even whilst not directly inflicting irreversible damage to the patient there is a large moral cloud which surfaces passive Euthanasia. When passive Euthanasia is committed the lack of action will ultimately lead to the same ending of active Euthanasia. A key example of active euthanasia is when an excess fatal amount of a drug e.g. painkillers are given to the patient in order to conclude their life. An example of passive euthanasia is where one is simply left to live out the rest of their life without any medical interruptions.
Society nowadays views euthanasia with a much more open mind compared to those of previous times. Many religious views are extremely against Euthanasia; however, they allow abortion under extreme medical and life-threatening situations . However, the modern resurgence of certain groups and philosophers have collided with theological views to create a war of religion and ethics. Many believe that it is the patients right to decide how they live out the rest of their life. On the other hand, many believe it is weak and immoral to go through the process of Euthanasia.
The views of Catholicism and Islam extremely solid when discussing Euthanasia. Both these religions are extremely against the process , however to what extent are do these strong theologies reflect and radiate the issue of Euthanasia?
Muslims are heavily against the idea of euthanasia. They believe that all human life is sacred because it is given by Allah (God) , and that Allah ultimately decides the fate of a human and everything’s that occurs in their life . This also means he chooses how long each person will live. The Islamic faith teaches that no one should interfere with the work and decisions of Allah. Furthermore, Islam preaches peace and unity throughout the Quran (Sacred Islamic book), and that suicide and euthanasia are not among the reasons for killing in the Islamic faith. The Quran states in passage 17.33 “Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice” . This reinforces the belief that no one should interfere with the work of Allah. Another key passed in the Quran 5.32 states “If anyone kills a person – unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he killed the whole people.’ This shows to the extent that killing without personal reason is not tolerated whatsoever in the Islamic faith.
Christians are mostly against euthanasia. The arguments are usually based on the argument that life is a gift from God and that human beings are made in God’s image. Birth and death are part of the life processes which God has created, so we should respect them . Therefore no human being has the authority to take the life of any innocent person, even if that person wants to die. A key passage in the bible which strongly supports this theology is from Ecclesiastes 7:17 which states “be not overly wicked, neither a fool. Why should you die before your time?” This is a key passage which reflects the views towards euthanasia in a very clear way. Another key scripture is from 1 Corinthians 3;16-17 which states “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” . This verse also shares similarities to the verse 17.33 in the Quran as recited before. This shows a clear overview of how multiple religions react to euthanasia in almost the same way whilst sharing different spiritual beliefs.
Furthermore, through the primary research, which was conducted through the form of a survey, there was a clear correlation with the results tying in with the respondent’s theologies. Those who are associated with the Christian faith chose answers which correlated directly to their theology of agape and living out the entirety of one’s life, these answers where completely expected. Another supportive finding to the statement pervious made that most religious theologies share similar views on euthanasia was supported through the survey conducted. As people from various faiths all agreed that euthanasia should not be permitted unless a serve medical situation was to arise, therefore this led to a disparity in the number of people who agreed and disagreed with the practise due to the situational conditions. However, through the survey it was seen that various respondents who associated with no faith agreed that euthanasia should not be permitted unless a serve medical condition was to arise. On the other hand, many respondents who did not associate with any theology stated that the choice of euthanasia should solely be a discussion between the one suffering and their loved ones, this was primarily supported by the theory that each person should be allowed to chose what occurs in their life.