Not only do I think euthanasia should be decriminalized on libertarian grounds, but I personally donâ€™t consider euthanasia to be immoral in all situations. There are several angles from which this issue is debated, but the ones I am most interested about here are the religious and moral angles.
Opponents of euthanasia often cite the sanctity of life and suggest that God opposes euthanasia, but I am a bit baffled on both counts. Frankly, I am not sure I what is meant by the sanctity of life. I see nothing in Godâ€™s behavior to convince me that he views life in the way that I am encouraged to view it. God lets people die all the time. I am aware of Godâ€™s commandment that â€œthou shalt not murder,â€ but that commandment does not imply that life is sacred any more than the commandment â€œthou shalt not stealâ€ implies that possessions are sacred.
In all of the scriptures, I donâ€™t know of any verse which condemns either suicide or euthanasia. On the contrary, the scriptures seem to portray this life as a time of tribulation and trial from which we are never safe until death. When they speak of â€œenduring to the end,â€ it is always a matter of our righteousness enduring, not our life. We are told to develop a certain disregard for life by laying up for ourselves treasures in heavenâ€”where our treasure is, there shall our heart be also.
Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full. Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul. (D&C 101:37)
Care not for the life of the body; that is an interesting scriptural message. Obviously, the point of this scripture is not to say that life is unimportant; rather, it illustrates Godâ€™s perspective on life from eternity. The life of the soul is what matters. From that eternal perspective, the life of the body may at many times be inconsequential.
Now, I realize that my comments above will appear to many of you to miss the mark entirely. In the final analysis, we must deal directly with the morality of euthanasia specifically. I hope that my remarks above will help to clear the playing field somewhat so that we can look at this question openly. Opposing euthanasia based on the â€œsanctity of lifeâ€ is too simplistic an analysis in my opinion.
When I consider the terminally ill widow suffering in pain, I start asking tough questions. Why must she suffer needlessly? Must I find â€œmeaningâ€ in all suffering and view it as somehow being ordained by God? If so, why is the use of pain killers acceptable? When we â€œlet God decide when to take her,â€ do we have any basis for supposing God is deciding anything? Is it not rather more likely that physical processes are shutting down at whatever rates they naturally shut down and God is not intervening at all? When she dies and we thank God she was finally released from her suffering, are we not admitting that we think death was morally superior to life in such a situation? Is it simply cowardice that prevents us from doing the right (morally superior) thing? Is fear of a slippery slope adequate justification for forcing countless people to suffer needlessly?
What are your thoughts on euthanasia? Do you support or oppose it, and why?