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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

Euthanasia: an Ethical and Biblical View on

Why Such a Practice is Wrong

Euthanasia has become one of the most controversial topics of the last decade, and it promises to become the next 'abortion' in the twenty-first century. Although many people argue that euthanasia is mercy killing, in reality, euthanasia is the ruthless assassination of living human beings before their natural time of death. Some people feel that the procedure is ethical and in many cases is perfectly right. Those who believe what the Bible teaches, and even the unreligious who believe in the sanctity of life, however, know the hard and fast truth about this so-called 'ethical' practice that has so many different applications. The sixth commandment, found in Exodus 20:13, gives the ideal answer to almost every question raised about euthanasia: 'Thou shalt not kill.' People who may not know very much about euthanasia, or those that really have no opinion, argue that the performance is 'mercy killing.' They often say that patients have the right to choose if they die or not, and that the choice to live or die is up to the individual. Some may even go to lengths and say that euthanasia should be legalized to end lives that do not need to go on living! No matter the argument, euthanasia is wrong and cannot be termed anything other than murder.

The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek roots eu, meaning 'good', or 'easy', and thanatos, meaning 'death'. One definition of euthanasia is the intentional termination of one life by another for the supposed benefit of that person (Robinson). There are several types of euthanasia, all of which are practiced today. Voluntary euthanasia is the physician terminating a human life at that patient's request. Non-voluntary euthanasia is the ending of a life without permission by or request from the patient. Involuntary euthanasia is the termination of life when the patient had specifically expressed wishes not to be euthanized. In both of the latter cases, the practice of euthanasia is clearly murder, even to the individuals who would approve of voluntary euthanasia. Is it not rather hypocritical to say that the murder of a human being is right in some instances, but wrong in others? Those who say that euthanasia is a 'good death' are absolutely wrong. Euthanasia is an imposed death.

There are also several different classifications of euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is the removing of some sort of support that is keeping the person alive indefinitely. For example, removing a feeding or hydration tube to allow the patient to starve or dehydrate until dead is passive euthanasia, letting nature take its course. Active euthanasia is the intentional killing of a human by lethal injection, medication overdose, or some other such means. Physician‑assisted suicide involves the doctor giving the patient some sort of information or equipment that enables that person to terminate his own life. (Robinson)

A plethora of arguments is available to dispute why euthanasia is merciful and should be legalized everywhere. For individuals who believe what the Bible says about the value of human life, there is more to euthanasia than just ending a suffering life. The first recorded words of Jesus Christ, ''Thou shalt not kill any living thing,' for life is given to all by God, and that which God has given, let not man taketh it away,' give a plain, clear message ('Thou Shalt''). Distinctly, the Bible says in a number of places that we are not to murder. If physicians were willing to follow God's commands, there would be no movement to legalize euthanasia. The practice of such a horrendous act would be considered heinous and vulgar. Those who say that euthanasia is mercy killing are downright erroneous.

All things considered, is it really merciful to end someone's life, even to end suffering? Romans 8:17-18 says that 'Since we are His children, we will share his treasures ' for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.' These verses tell us that the suffering we endure will bring us closer to Christ, and we will share in His treasures if we do so. (Holy Bible) In no means should a human life be intentionally terminated in order to end suffering, no matter how much that person wants to end his or her life.

Pro-euthanasia persons often articulate on the 'fact' that euthanasia is a way to die with dignity. The alternate side to this argument is that all lives, no matter how far gone, have immeasurable value because everyone is created in the image and likeness of God. To convince people that they should be euthanized so they can 'die with dignity' is, in effect, convincing them that their lives are no longer to be considered valuable and worth living. Euthanasia is being used to end the lives of those who are convinced that life has no further meaning, including the terminally ill, the mentally handicapped, and those with life-threatening diseases or disabilities. ('Assisted Suicide'') In these cases is it all right to kill someone? Putting euthanasia so bluntly may shock some, but if you think about it, that's all the word boils down to: death. Murder is another word that could be used, and killing is putting it plainly.

Dying with dignity is another issue that pro-euthanasia people argue. Many others, however, see that term in a different light. Does dying with dignity really mean allowing someone to kill you? If put in the position to terminate a life, would intentionally killing someone seem dignified to you? To me, 'dying with dignity' means being surrounded by family and friends until God claims your life. Dignity is knowing that you are not taking your life into your own hands and knowingly allowing someone to end your life, no matter the cost to those around you. Those who describe euthanasia as 'dying with dignity' are merely sugarcoating the fact that murder has become tolerable in today's society.

The ethics of euthanasia are debatable. Many different questions arise as to whether euthanasia is right in some cases and not in others. For instance, is it ever right for someone to end the life of another who is having to endure exorbitant suffering? For those who say euthanasia is alright in some cases, where does the line get drawn? Is there really any difference, moral or otherwise, between killing someone and just letting him or her die?

The majority of people will say that euthanasia is a matter of choice. They believe that the choice truly is up to the individual, and that we should be able to make the decision whether or not to keep or end our lives. In their opinion, it is cruel and even immoral to keep a person living while in pain or while suffering immensely. Religious opponents of mercy killing believe that euthanasia is taking power away from God, life that only God can choose when to end. Even though popular consensus seems to indicate that euthanasia should be permitted, it is yet illegal in most countries and the United States (except for Oregon), and punishable by many years in prison. Sadly, however, this does not stop many physicians from performing such an egregious act. ('Does an'')

As noted earlier in this essay, euthanasia goes completely against the grain of God's word and will. Anti‑euthanasia adherents do not argue that we cannot physically commit the act, but that it is wrong for us to do so, or support others in the act. Because we believe that our lives are not our own to take, we cannot thus remove life from our bodies or even allow someone else to do it for us. In the opinion of many Christians, this would be denying God's role in our lives and allowing that we know better than He does when our lives should start and end. Euthanasia also could very easily ruin what we view as the sanctity of human life. Human beings are very valuable, regardless of age, gender, social accomplishments, race, religion, and living status. Our life as humans is precious and sacred because it is a gift from God. Because of the value and sacredness of our lives, euthanasia is wrong in every case. We should respect ourselves enough not to end our lives just to put an end to our suffering; to do so would be to discredit God and say that He is not sufficient for us. ('Arguments Against'')

Suffering also has value in our lives. Ending someone's life as soon as he or she is suffering leaves no room for growth. Nearly everyone can relate to the quote 'What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.' If your pain and suffering is not terminal, it will strengthen you and help you in future incidences. Religious ethics say that suffering helps us grow closer to Christ and share in the agony He went through for us. We do believe, however, that we should try to alleviate suffering, although not to the point of premature death. Those who have no religious viewpoint can argue that suffering has value because it shows others how to behave when things get bad, and also that suffering calls upon the soul to stretch as far as it can to enable the sufferer to reach the peak of affliction before healing or death. ('Arguments Against'') Joni Erickson Tada, a quadriplegic familiar to many, was quoted as saying, 'Suffering gets us ready for heaven.' She couldn't have hit the target more precisely.

Some people think that it is better to be dead than in pain or disabled. Derek Humphreys, the president of the Hemlock Society (the leading group promoting euthanasia), was quoted as saying that the disabled, sick, and dying have a duty to get out of the way. Basically, it is their job to die; since they are a burden on society, they should be eliminated. Their lives are not worth living. However, the disabled community has a completely different outlook on the subject. They believe in equal rights and opportunities and many feel that their own lives are worth living, even when others presume to know better what is more appropriate for them. Others should not determine the quality of a disabled person's life, especially without first providing essential proper support. The acceptance of euthanasia would be saying that some lives are worth less than others. ('Arguments Against'')

There are recorded cases in which euthanasia terminated a life that could have gone on living for a significant amount of time. This suggests that euthanasia may not be in the best interest of the patient, in many instances. Tragically, euthanasia has in more than one instance been requested as the result of an incorrect prognosis by a physician, where the patient in actuality was not terminally ill, but was the victim of an erroneous diagnosis. In such cases, euthanasia is clearly wrong! If the procedure were to be carried out, the doctor would then be an accomplice to murder. If euthanasia had not come up in the first place, the patient would not have had his life prematurely terminated. A lot of times the patient is under pressure and agrees to euthanasia because he thinks his life is a burden on others, not because of a true desire to die. ('Arguments Against'')

If euthanasia gains acceptance in our society, it will further weaken our respect for life. The decision of one person exercising his or her 'right to die' would affect family, friends, and the society at large. Allowing people to use death as a solution to problems sends the message to the world that our God-given life is not special, not worth living, and that the ban on killing the innocent can be over-ruled to conform to human standards. 'If we accept that it's OK to end some lives, we may regard human life as less valuable and special ('Accepting Euthanasia'').' Euthanasia then becomes the solution to more and more of life's problems, resulting in the killing of more and more lives. If euthanasia gains ground, safety is not much of an issue because people could just be killed for convenience for any arbitrary level of injury ' who decides where the line is drawn? We do not need to be concerned about the disabled or less‑than‑fortunate, the poor, or the sick because we can simply end their lives when they become too much of a burden. If we do not regard others' lives as valuable, what makes us regard our own lives as valuable? If we argue that euthanasia is only necessary for the very sick and disabled, that these arguments are not valid, we are discriminating against the ill and handicapped. We are essentially saying that their lives are not worth as much as the able-bodied person's, and that the dying are not as valuable as those not dying. Such discrimination is clearly wrong and goes against God's standards for human interaction and actions. ('Arguments Against'')

With proper care from the right doctors, euthanasia is unnecessary. Hospices today are geared toward making patients who are in severe pain comfortable. With proper palliative care, the patient may very well have no inclination towards euthanasia whatsoever. In order to treat a patient correctly, that individual needs to be treated as a person, not as an object, as so many physicians tend to do. Unfortunately, palliative care and even living in a hospice can be very expensive and will eventually take its toll on the workers. For this reason euthanasia looks good to many because of the inexpensive, easy alternative of a quick lethal injection. ('Arguments Against'')

The 'slippery slope' argument says that euthanasia would be very difficult to regulate (Rebman 8). Preventing the abuse of the method would be immeasurably complicated and hard to enforce. If euthanasia were to be legalized, things could quickly go awry and hundreds - more likely even thousands - would lose their lives without reason just to remove them from society and the gene pool. The legalization of such a practice would lead to worse care for the elderly, sick, terminally ill, and disabled. If such people could just as easily be killed as cared for, why not opt for the easy, less expensive way out and just euthanize the person? The more difficult but humane solution to physical and emotional problem is working problems out, not euthanasia; you don't solve problems by getting rid of the people to whom they happen ('Key Points'').

'Supporters attempt to justify euthanasia on the grounds that it is done with good intentions. However, there is a fallacy in this argument; to kill oneself or someone else is wrong, regardless of the motivation or circumstances. Rather than being motivated by good intentions, attempts to defend euthanasia are founded on corrupt values. Society must strive to understand why euthanasia is wrong and why it cannot be justified by good intentions.' (Budziszewski) In many cases of euthanasia, no extraordinary measure is taken to prolong lives. We are obligated to give others all the life they are entitled to, but we are not to prolong their death. Death should never be hastened, especially for the sake of inconvenience. If death is the only option left, i.e., there is no hope left for life, then no one is morally obligated to keep that person even if the ability to do so exists. (Decker)

Pro-euthanasia individuals and physicians argue that to keep a terminally ill or suffering person alive is unethical and immoral. On the other hand, I say that to end a life prematurely is unethical and immoral! Constitutional Law states that no one has the right to die, and there is always the option of pain medication! As mentioned before, hospices are available for such a case. Those in favor of euthanasia will usually cite an extreme case to try to prove their point that euthanasia is right, when in fact those cases very rarely crop up. If someone is terminally ill, in extreme pain, or unable to stand pain any longer, the only option is to increase their pain medication. Studies have shown that morphine can be increased indefinitely, in small amount at a time, so that the person will not die no matter how much of the drug is in their system. In Proverbs, the Bible tells us to keep people comfortable. If this means increasing pain medication in order to keep them relaxed until their time of death, so be it. We always have the means of treating the person's pain without killing them. (Decker)

Life support is another issue altogether. Those arguing the ethical side of euthanasia often try to pin those against the issue on this particular subject. They say that if what we are arguing is true, then those on life support should be kept on life support indefinitely because there might still be a spark of life in them. Even if the machine is the only thing keeping the person going, we should keep them alive. However, this is not necessarily true. Many would agree that allowing an individual who is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery to expire naturally is not a form of euthanasia. But what if that person was still alive, able to think, feel, hear, and respond emotionally but couldn't physically move? Physicians in such an instance would be murdering an innocent person! On the other side of the argument, is that if there is no further brain or body activity, the body is dead and the machine is merely artificially keeping the system running. The person has passed away and the machine is no longer needed. At such a point the life support can be taken away and no euthanasia would have taken place. When all activity in the body ceases, it is then that the Lord takes His people home. We are no longer needed to sustain life and shouldn't try to prolong things anymore. (Decker) A popular argument amongst pro-euthanasia persons is that if God gives us the means to prolong life with life support, how then do we know that we are not called to end lives by euthanasia? My answer remains: to prolong life is to give life, but to commit the act of euthanasia is murder.

Finally, there is the fact that mankind has the innate nature to go on living. In most cases when people have attempted suicide, they were glad someone or something stopped the act and most have not tried again to kill themselves. God has given us an inborn desire for life that is not to be ignored. Christians know that to kill is to murder, and to murder is to sin. Euthanasia could end the suffering of one but may very well begin the emotional pain of many others. The yearning for continuous life is so strong that many people feel euthanasia violates the order of life.

Having researched both sides of the argument on euthanasia, I have come to the conclusion that the practice is immoral, unjust, merciless, corrupt, and against the teaching of the Bible. Even if a request for euthanasia has been made, no one is under moral obligation to aid that person in his or her death. In every case euthanasia is the wrong option. Euthanasia should not even be an option in our society. Life is the greatest gift ever given and we should not willingly give up that gift. Saying that some lives are more valuable than others by euthanizing the sick, elderly, and disabled is to demean the sanctity of life. I can only hope that, after reading this essay, you, too, have come to the conclusion that euthanasia is wholly wrong and unethical in every case, no matter what disputes today's society may offer.

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