Quick revise

The word ‘euthanasia’ literally means ‘dying well’.

  • Active euthanasia is when a person is killed, perhaps by a lethal injection. Active euthanasia is illegal in the UK.
  • Passive euthanasia is where treatment is taken away to allow the person to die. Passive euthanasia is allowed as it is allowing the body to take the natural course towards death.

Non- religious arguments in favour

  • Suicide is legal, so why not help someone who cannot commit suicide themselves,
  • If animal were suffering, we have it put down as its the most humane thing to do.
  • It is their life they have should have the right to end it if they want to.
  • It’s not fair for the relatives to have to watch their loved one dying painfully.

Non- religious arguments against

  • Drugs can be used for pain control.
  • Euthanasia is just a fancy word for murder.
  • Doctor’s take an oath to save life, it is wrong to ask them to kill people.
  • People can better or medical science might find a cure for them.

Christian teachings

Wrong but do not want people to suffer.

  • Christians believe that God created everything and that humans were created in his image. So life is holy, this is known as the Sanctity of Life. Only God should end life.
  • Jesus accepted his suffering and death and never tried to escape from it, so Christians believe that this teaches them to preserve and cherish life.
  • God tells us not to kill in the Ten Commandments.
  • Christians who are against euthanasia would refer to the Sanctity of Life. We cannot “play God” and decide when someone should die.
  • They might say that legalising euthanasia would put us on the slippery slope to worse things.
  • They might argue that it would change the relationship between the doctor and the patient.
  • Care for those who are suffering has been improved by advances in the hospice movement.

On the other hand some Christians might say that voluntary euthanasia should be legalised because:

  • It shows compassion
  • Sometimes quality of life is important too
  • It would mean that our relatives did not have to see us die.
  • God gave us the intelligence to make these sorts of decisions for ourselves.

Evangelical Protestants believe it is wrong in every circumstance

  • Bible condemns suicide and they follow it literally
  • God tells us not to kill in the Ten Commandments.

Liberal Protestants allow limited use of euthanasia

  • Jesus said ‘love thy neighbour’. Helping someone to die might be the most loving thing to do.

Muslim Teachings

All are against euthanasia but 2 attitudes exist.

Switching off a life support machine is NOT euthanasia.

  • If they are ‘brain dead’ then God has already taken that person.

Others see turning the life support machine off as BEING euthanasia. Against it because…

  • See it as suicide which is condemned in the Quran
  • View voluntary euthanasia as suicide as well
  • See life as a test. Only God can decide when we die.

Hindu teachings to Euthanasia

Hindus who oppose euthanasia use the principle of Ahimsa to argue that it wrong to harm or kill another human being.

They use the same principle to argue against suicide.

Hindus who support euthanasia use the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to argue that as the soul cannot be harmed, euthanasia simply releases it so it can move on to it’s next life.


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