Sunday, 11 August 2013

Euthanizing Jesus?


they are crucifying the Son of God all over again (Hebrews 6:6)

No, Ethel, “euthanasia” does not refer to a young people’s mission group in China. (OK, that's a bad joke)

But seriously, it is a troubling topic for me. I hear so many folks speaking about “quality of life,” as if they know what constitutes a quality life in another and what does not. I wonder if, heaven forbid and the shoe were suddenly on the other foot, if they would still think the same way. Would they really be OK with some stranger deciding that their particular incapacitated form of life suddenly was not worth living? Where would we really draw the line, and what would permit that line to be revisited and redrawn in order to expand it further?

In the Reader’s Forum of our local Lethbridge Herald (print edition; Sunday August 4, 2013), the following letter to the editor appeared that rekindled this pain in my gut called “euthanasia.” It was entitled, “Danger of assisted suicide ‘slippery slope’ is real.” Here’s the letter:

Maureen __________ 's letter in the Herald dated July 21 [I didn’t see that original letter] implies that assisted suicide and euthanasia is a showdown between those who believe in God and those who don’t. However, many of us simply believe that legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide would eventually lead to involuntary deaths for anyone deemed worthless or undesirable. 
In a world where mercy killings and assisted suicide are socially acceptable, who will speak up for the expensive elderly, the incompetent or for those who merely suffer from life itself? Once we decide that only a certain quality of life is worth protecting, where will it end? Maureen’s reference to Belgium’s organ donation euthanasia that has dying patients anesthetized and organs removed while they’re still alive should raise red flags. The ‘slippery slope’ argument is very real.  
In the Netherlands where physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are permitted, so-called protective safeguards are often ignored, leading to all sorts of involuntary euthanasia. Over the years the Dutch have expanded this practice to include infants, non-terminally ill patients and even to those with mental disorders. To say that it’s OK for people because there are laws to protect the vulnerable is problematic; there are laws against robbing banks; however, people still rob banks. Perhaps we need to step back and trust that the science that keeps us living longer today will ultimately find better ways to kill pain, not people.”

I don’t know if the author’s facts are all correct or not, but I thought that letter was logically presented, well done, and desperately needed to be written. From a Christian perspective, I am tempted to take this argument one step further yet. Matthew 25:40, in the NIV, records Jesus as having said,

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 

Now some might think my interpretation here a bit of a stretch, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s right on the mark. “Whatever you did.” If we euthanized “the least” in our society, regardless how we define that, could it be said that then we’ve also essentially euthanized Jesus too? Hmm, something to think about.

Yes, there will always be arguments for and against everything. Hot potato topics like this have had, and will always continue to have, their share in the milieu of people’s emotions; it certainly does in mine. However, at the end of the day, I prefer to believe that only God can give life and only God has the right to take it away. At the end of the day, I prefer not to be guilty of euthanizing Jesus (or anyone else for that matter).

Anyway, that’s the way I see it. Peace.

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

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