Religion and Human Life
Different religious denominations have different worldviews regarding human life. These are partly based on human beliefs and religious books which are believed to be the word of God. However, they are all based on value and respect for human life which is regarded as a gift from God. According to a worldview in Christianity regarding human life, God is the ultimate giver of life, and He Himself is life. Therefore, God is the only Being who has the mandate to give life or to take it. God himself in the Ten Commandments forbids the taking of human life which shows how He values human life. According to Christian teachings, the Holy Spirit resides in our bodies; therefore, human life should be respected (Parker, 2016). Taking away human life means destroying the temple of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the worldview on human life in Buddhism is based on the fact that life is a treasure which should be highly valued and respected. According to Buddhism teachings, life cannot be compared to anything (Cheng, 2017). Human life is considered a special privilege which is also accompanied by responsibilities.
In regard to George’s malady and suffering, according to Christian teachings we undergo suffering not because we have sinned or because God has abandoned us. Rather it is God’s plan in our lives it was in the suffering of Jesus Christ who despite being blameless and holy he still underwent suffering and torture from men to an extent of being crucified. However, God still raised Him from death and lived forever again. During the times of suffering Jesus did not complain to God but rather he allowed His will to prevail. Therefore, for the case of George he should not feel forsaken or blame himself or God for his state. Rather, he should let the will of God prevail in his life. Furthermore, suffering and illness in the life of George could be a test in his life to test how strong his faith was in God. Therefore, he should not give up and he should continue praying while believing that Jesus whom he is praying to underwent greater sufferings and therefore understands his situation (Parker, 2016). According to Buddhism teachings, suffering is part of human life same as illness. Suffering and illness should be accepted and persevered with when we encounter them in our lives. Furthermore, according to Buddhism teachings, as we undergo sickness and suffering it assists us to develop virtues of perseverance. Since the body and the mind are interrelated, suffering of the body which includes illness assists to achieve spiritual maturity. George should accept his condition and acknowledge that it is part of human life (Cheng, 2017). He should utilize this sorrowful period to obtain spiritual maturity based on Buddhism teachings.
The current situation is based on George’s ALS condition; his life still has the same value as it was before he suffered from the condition. Based on the Christianity view about sickness, Jesus himself showed compassion for the sick and healed them. That is the reason why His mission was based on healing and restoring the sick. He even commissioned his disciples to go out in villages and heal all kind of sickness. Therefore, George should believe that his life still has the same value before God as it was before the ALS condition. This is because all human beings are children of God regardless of their health or wellbeing (Parker, 2016). According to Buddhism teachings regarding the value of an individual with a critical health condition, the religion advises that we should not grieve in such conditions but should rather accept ourselves the way we are (Cheng, 2017). George should not disguise himself based on his current medical condition.
According to Christian values, euthanasia is not allowed. This is because God is regarded as the ultimate giver and taker of life and therefore we should not interfere with His work. Furthermore, according to Biblical teachings, God made man in his own image and likeness. Therefore, God values life so much that He does not allow it to be tempered with as He commanded in the Ten Commandments in the Bible. Therefore, euthanasia is against God’s will and plan for human life as well as Christian teachings regarding human life. Christians also do believe that dying involves a spiritual process and therefore by performing euthanasia it would be interfering with the process. Therefore, based on God’s command about life and Christian teachings on value for human life it is not advisable for George to undergo the euthanasia process. Rather he should let God determine the fate of his death since He is the ultimate giver and taker of life. On the other hand, Buddhist teachings allow voluntary euthanasia to show compassion to a victim suffering from a disease as a way of relieving them of pain and suffering. The religion, therefore, allows for the process in exceptional cases but forbids involuntary euthanasia (Cheng, 2017). Regarding George’s case where he is anticipated to undergo suffering and agony because of his ALS condition, then according to Buddhism, a euthanasia process would be allowed.
Based on the analysis done on the Christian and Buddhism teachings regarding human life, it is evident that both religions express the need for the value of human life. However, based on the issue of performing euthanasia to ease agony and pain in the life of George, the two religions seem to differ. This is because; Christianity strictly forbids the process while on the other hand, Buddhism allows the process on condition that it should be done on the basis of showing compassion to the victim. Hence, the option of taking euthanasia process in George situation would depend on his religion and faith. Therefore, if George is a committed Christian, he would trust in God and avoid the euthanasia as a way of showing obedience to Him (Parker, 2016). However, if George had been a Buddhist, he would have a chance of enjoying a euthanasia process considering pain and agony that he is likely to undergo because of his ALS condition.
In my view, despite my Christian religion not allowing euthanasia, I would consider that George should undergo the process. This is because there is need to consider the pain and agony he is likely to undergo if he decides to persevere with the condition. George is likely to experience health and physical complications such as paralysis, inability to eat and finally death after a short period of time usually a maximum of five years. Therefore, instead of the family spending resources for managing the untreatable condition of ALS, it is economical for euthanasia to be done. Furthermore, it would be a compassionate action for George instead of watching him die a horrible death.
In conclusion, both Christian and Buddhist worldview emphasize on the value for human life. Christian teachings forbid take away of human life as it is against God’s will. On the other hand Buddhism teaches that life cannot be compared to any treasure. Based on the worldviews from the two religions, it is important for George to value his life despite being in the ALS report. On the issue of anesthesia, his choice whether to undergo the process or not will depend on religion. If he chooses to follow Christianity teachings, then he should not choose to undergo the process. However, Buddhism would allow him to undergo the process. Personally, I feel he should go through anesthesia to avoid suffering associated with ALS condition.
1. Cheng, F. K. (2017). Buddhist insights into life and death: Overcoming death anxiety. Athens Journal of Social Sciences, 4(1), 67–87.
2. Parker, J. C. (2016). Implications of Christian Truth-Claims for Bioethics. ChristianBioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, 22(3), 265–275.
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