Secular opponents argue that whatever rights we have are limited by our obligations. The decision to die by euthanasia will affect other people - our family and friends, and healthcare professionals - and we must balance the consequences for them (guilt, grief, anger) against our rights.
In general, we have witnessed few Christians among these critics taking the time and effort to understand the views of their conservative fellow believers or to delve into the social and political realities they might be coming from. Some secular analysts, who frankly acknowledge being on the Left, have been doing this admirably. UC Berkley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right strives to understand Tea Party advocates in Louisiana, most of whom are evangelical Christians. And law professor Joan Williams’s White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America unpacks the class dimensions of much of our political divide. And then there is Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, which demonstrates the moral ground of advocates left and right. None of these writers could be mistaken for a conservative, but they each at least attempt to be charitable and fair-minded in trying to understand the views of those with whom they disagree. If only some leading evangelical progressive or moderate would do the same.
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The justification for this rule is hard to find - many people think it's just an obvious truth (philosophers call such truths self-evident). You find variations of this idea in many faiths; for example "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
By forgiving 7 times 70 (Matt. 18:22, KJV).
At the same time health resources are being used on people who cannot be cured, and who, for their own reasons, would prefer not to continue living.
By doing good to our enemies (Matt. 5:43–48).
Abuse of this would be prevented by only allowing the person who wanted to die to intitiate the process, and by that rigorously prevented abuse.
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
This argument has not been put forward publicly or seriously by any government or health authority. It is included here for completeness.
Mark Galli is editor in chief of .
This proposal is an entirely pragmatic one; it says that we should allow euthanasia because it will allow more people to be happy. Such arguments will not convince anyone who believes that euthanasia is wrong in principle.
The pro-euthanasia case is compact and quick and easy to make.
Others will object because they believe that such a proposal is wide-open to abuse, and would lead to because of shortage of health resources.
Just so you understand: I am dying.
They can quite reasonably argue that the purpose of the Suicide Act is not to allow euthanasia, and support this argument by pointing out that the Act makes it a crime to help someone commit suicide. This is true, but that provision is really there to make it impossible to escape a murder charge by dressing the crime up as an assisted suicide.