Does the Right to Life Include the Right to Die?
I recently saw Ted Koppel on a Nightline program dedicated to the subject of assisted suicide. The program included an interview with Noel Earley who was dying and was going to take his own life. Many newspaper articles also have taken the side of those who wish to kill themselves. Let’s take a look at the main arguments for or against assisted suicide:
1. Suicide is an inherent right or liberty.
The rights to life, liberty and happiness are assumed by our nation’s founding fathers. But never did they intend that liberty to include suicide. Many today are insisting on “liberty” in many areas in which it never existed before. This reminds us that the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which this country was founded is being eroded away with each passing day. The Bible tells us that life is a gift from God (Genesis 2:7). Thus, we abhor the taking of our own life no matter what the circumstances!
2. People are seeking “death with dignity.”
Dignity is defined as “proper pride and self-respect, honor.” Where is the honor in taking one’s own life? Can we only respect ourselves if we can kill ourselves? How is a physician who swore to keep his or her patient alive supposed to turn around and hasten a patient’s death?
3. People want to be independent/not a burden.
We all feel that we can do it ourselves–even from little on. But Christianity teaches us that we need help from God, specifically from Jesus to be saved. We are also taught to help others when they are in need. Eliminating all those who need help makes a cruel and selfish world for those who are left.
4. Some in extreme pain wish to shorten the suffering.
There are painkillers that allow the dying to be comfortable until the end.Suffering can cause us to rely more fully on God. It can be a blessing in disguise. We ought to fear the possibility of suffering eternally in hell for taking our own life more than we fear suffering in this life!
5. Many argue that “terminal” patients be allowed assisted suicide.
As human beings, doctors may incorrectly diagnose a patient’s condition. If we base our decision solely on human rights, then how can we deny suicide to the very depressed? “You shall not murder”–yourself or others!
6. We are already doing it/public opinion is for it.
People try to get away with as much sin as possible. The fact that government has been slow to stop it doesn’t mean that it’s a practice that’s best for society.
7. We kill our animals when they are suffering.
God has given us the power to manage his creation. This sometimes means killing an animal to prevent suffering. But, people have souls and can either go to heaven or hell. If allowing suicide could send someone to hell, we want no part of it. Also, killing human beings without God’s expressed permission is wrong.
8. Killing them early saves money.
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil!!!
9. I want to decide how and when I will die.
God is the one who gives and takes life. Believers may question God’s plan, but always trust that He knows best. Not taking our own life proves that we trust in his plan for our life. We put our faith in his Son who won our salvation.
10. Many media articles and programs support it.
We can trust Hollywood and the liberal media to help us–since we know how they have improved our family life in the past. They always encourage couples to stay together and work out their problems. They work for sexual abstinence among teens. I can trust them to tell my kids what to watch, how to think. WARNING: You have just experienced sarcasm!
[Originally appeared in the January 1997 issue of Alpha Alert, a publication of the former North Central Chapter of Christian Life Resources.]