Euthanasia: Good or Bad?
From the trembling top of smoke-shrouded Sinai, Jehovah said, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13). Later Moses foretold a heathen, barbaric
“nation of fierce countenance, that shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young” (Deut. 28:50). Our American society is rapidly becoming like that.
The inhumanity of man to man is truly astounding. This year 1 1/2 million helpless innocent unborn babes will be slaughtered by their mothers and doctors. Like the blood-thirsty monsters of mythology, the manslayers are not satisfied. Now they are clamoring for the right to extend their freedom to kill their fellow man.
A British doctor, John Goundry, predicts “that a death pill” for old persons will be available and perhaps obligatory by the end of the century. Society’s view of life will change from the sentimental to the calculated and sophisticated, and the overriding policy will be the survival of the fittest.”
The doctor went on to affirm his belief that doctors should be able to give a “demise pill” to old persons who request it; then said, “But in the end, I can see the state taking over and insisting on euthanasia.” A similar statement came out of Sweden a few days later.
What about America? Lest you be lulled into thinking that this is only some “foreign” kook’s idea, consider what some American elitists are doing and saying.
In 1938, the (Rev.) Charles F. Potter founded the Euthanasia Society of America. The newly-elected president is Dr. Joseph Fletcher (father of situation ethics). The new name is now the “Society for the Right to Die, Inc.” Their tax-exempt association is the “Euthanasia Educational Council”
of some 50,000 members.
Dr. Winston Duke says, “With regard to the specific question of humanity in homo sapiens infants, much is already known. There is little evidence that termination of an infant’s life in the first few months following extraction from the womb could be looked upon as murder . . . It would seem . . . to be more ‘inhumane’ to kill an adult chimpanzee than a newborn baby, since the chimpanzee has greater mental awareness. Murder cannot
logically apply to a life form with less mental awareness than a primate.”
In his widely-praised book, The Sanctity of Life, and the Criminal Law, Dr. Glanville Williams strongly advocates the legalization of both “humanitarian infanticide” and “euthanasia for handicapped children.”
The infamous Joseph Fletcher feels no restraint. He calls it ridiculous to give ethical approval to the ending of a “subhuman” life by abortion while refusing to give approval to the ending of a “subhuman” life by positive euthanasia.
They have plans for the aged, too. George Paulson writes. “How long shall life be preserved when there is no redeeming social value? If Life has no
apparent purpose, perhaps it is to the benefit of others that such lives not be salvaged.”
Dr. Robert Williams of Washington State Medical School has an even broader vision.
“There are various levels at which one can consider the indication for euthanasia:
a) a group of individuals who will soon be encountering death;
b) a group with such severe mental damage as to be unable to express proper judgment with respect to the termination of life; and
c) a group with varying degrees of cognizance, but with disabilities so common as to produce great hardship on society.”
The late Dr. Walter Alvarez, a syndicated medical journalist wrote in 1970:
“It will probably be many years before we (physicians) in America can bring ourselves to chloroform an idiotic infant or to permit a slowly dying patient to take an overdose of medicine. What we will first have to train ourselves to do will be to leave by the patient’s bed a lethal drug which he
can take some night if he so desires.”
What Forms the Basis of This Thinking?
Likely you are shocked and gasp, “How can intelligent people think like this?” The Russian poet-philosopher Dostoyevsky said it succinctly:
“If God is not, then nothing is morally wrong.” If the living God did not create all men in his divine image and endow them with the right to live, there is no moral principle that demands that we protect all human life. Then those who do not meet society’s standards can and will be destroyed as social, political and economic expediency. “. . . the image that we hold of a man cannot fail to affect attitudes that influence our behavior in the world of action . . .” said Mortimer Adler.
Today we view the first fruits of a ghastly harvest that has been sown for the last 100 years. We now have an adult generation that has virtually all been taught the evolutionary philosophy of life. Convince a people that they are only highly evolved, tool-using animals and they will have no inhibition in killing those who ate weak and defective. We do this to our domesticated animals. If there is no moral governor on the universe. and if evolution explains our being here, then no one can fault the practice of selective killing or euthanasia. This is the true fruit of Darwinism in all its ugliness. Atheism, humanism, evolution, and materialism are the foundation stones of the anti-life movement. You will search vainly for a truly converted God-fearing soul who will lay violent hands to an innocent life. But of those who espouse the above-mentioned antiChristian philosophies, they are a common lot.
Who Are the Leading Spokesmen?
Many are puzzled that doctors, educators, and public officials would allow such a thing to happen, much less promote it. It is evident that from
these ranks come the most avid spokesmen for death. Thomas Merton wrote, “. . . we rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, and destruction. Now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.” Merton has authored an analysis of Adolph Eichmann, the grizzly head of Hitler’s Jewish extermination project. Dr. Rene Dubos writes, “A society that blindly accepts the decision of experts is a sick society on its way to death.” We do not face a bunch of ignoramuses. Rather, they are among the nation’s intelligentsia! This obsession with death verifies Jeremiah’s analysis, “0, Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
Remember it was sophisticated legal, medical, and psychotic professors of pre-Nazi Germany who planted and nurtured the anti-life movement that blossomed later in the Third Reich. “The German atrocities began as the voluntary deeds of eminent scientists, not as the reluctant response to a mad despot’s commands.
The historian, George Santayana has said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
What is euthanasia? Literally, the term means “good death.” In present usage, euthanasia means an act directly causing death painlessly to end the suffering of incurable disease, lingering illness, and other conditions deemed by elitists to make life not worth living.
Confusion of Terms
The public is generally confused by the current debate on the legality of disconnecting mechanical life support systems for long-term comatose patients, or the patient’s right to request that no extraordinary means be used to keep them alive when all hope is gone. This is not euthanasia. Leah Curtin, R.N., writes: “It must be made abundantly clear that the humane practice of medicine has always allowed the physician and patient (or his family) to decide what measures if any should be employed to prolong the patient’s life. There is absolutely no need for legislation to protect either the physician or patient in this regard. If legislation is passed, it must inevitably affect a) all the right of the patient to demand of the state the means by which to commit suicide, or b) the right of a physician to directly terminate (kill) the patient.”
We agree with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that we are “totally opposed to any kind of mercy killing, but in favor of allowing the patient to die his or her own death, without artificially prolonging the dying process.
Euthanasia Viewed in Light of Scripture The ancient command that said “Thou shalt not kill” is still a binding precept in Jehovah’s moral catalog (Ex. 20:13; Rom. 13:9). Every time a victim is deliberately euthanized, this moral code is broken. Those guilty will answer to the divine law-giver. When Noah and his kindred disembarked from the ark, the Lord who had preserved them warned: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9:6). In the next phrase, he gave the reason for this severe penalty for the man-slayer: “For in the image of God made he man.” Thus he reminds us of that sacred uniqueness of human life which inheres in our being made in the image and likeness of Jehovah (Gen. 1:26). Rather than kill the poor, the aged, the handicapped, and the unwanted, God charges his people to benevolently care for them.
1. We are to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, providing their needs (Jas. 1:27).
2. We are to rise up with respect before the aged (Lev. 19:32).
3. We are to plead the cause of the poor and oppressed (Isa. 1:11, 23).
4. We are to bear the burdens of those who are struggling through life and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).
5. We who are strong are to help the weak (Rom. 15:1).
6. We are to do good unto all men (Gal. 6:10). But to offer death to a suffering soul is the opposite of all these injunctions. Christ demands a positive, constructive, healing response from the disciple to the unfortunate.
7. Moses’ precept “Honor thy father and mother” is repeated by Paul in Ephesians 6:2. Jesus interpreted this to mean: provide their needs (Matt. 15:3-5). He did not have in mind providing them a suicide pill! Children are expected to show piety towards their parents and even grandparents (1 Tim. 5:4). To refuse this responsibility is to be worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). No child who truly honors his parents would ever contemplate “mercy killing.”
8. The heathen of Paul’s day were “without natural affection” and stood condemned (Rom. 1:31-32) What is more unnatural than to order the death of one’s child or parents?
9. Jesus’ most famous axiom forbids euthanasia. “ALL things. therefore, whatsoever ye would that men shalt do unto you, even so do you also unto them” (Matt. 7:12). Would you want to be destroyed if you were sick, or be helped to recover? Would you want love and positive support in your old age, or a push into the grave?
10. Solomon warns us: “Who stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry, but shall not be heard” (Prov. 21:13). The people of God are challenged to minister to the unfortunate, not destroy them.
11. Christians are taught “not (to look) each of you to his own things. but each of you to the things of others” (Phil. 2:4). Selfishness and personal interest are the chief roots of this problem. The selfless agape love which Christ expects of us will keep us from this reversion to barbarism toward the weak (Matt. 22:39).
12. The Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood (Prov. 6:16,17). We are not talking about convicted criminals. We speak of killing defective babies,
senile grandparents, and people who are suffering severe illness. The paradox of this issue is that the champions of mercy killing and abortion are nearly always opposed to capital punishment, even for the mass murderer.
13. To legalize euthanasia would complete our journey back to the moral standards of the Pharaoh of Moses’ day: Herod the Great who slaughtered the babes of Bethlehem; to pagan Rome whose law allowed parents to destroy their unwanted offspring; and to Hitler’s Germany.
14. Since God gave life and takes it away (Job 1:21), no one can know just when another person has used up his usefulness. All of us have read of people who were given up as hopeless by physicians, who revived and enjoyed many more years of meaningful life. Suffering Job would have been an ideal case for mercy killing, yet look how the Lord blest him in the end (Job 42:10-17).
15. When the strong and healthy encourage those with serious illnesses or the debilitations of old age to choose euthanasia, it is a default on our responsibility to assist and protect them. lt violates the spirit and letter of our nation’s constitution which guarantees life to all. To secure the inalienable right to life “governments are instituted among men.” -Declaration of Independence.
16. Such anti-life views cheapen the value of human life. robbing it of its inherent. God-given worth made in the image of God” (Gen. 1:26.27). Humanists see life only in utilitarian terms. Those who do not contribute economically to society are considered a burdensome problem to be removed. Notice the recent adoption of such terms as “human resources.”
17. To legalize euthanasia would grant to government – to her committees and bureaucrats of unknown and unpredictable intentions – the power to determine who can live. Then there is the danger that the legal machinery originally designed to kill those who are a nuisance to themselves, might someday swallow up those who are a bother to others. Such a death-dealing program may well become an uncontrollable monster that no one could contain once it was loosed. lt would place a great temptation upon families, physicians and society to make selfish decisions concerning who should be euthanized.
A Look at the Future
“Once you permit the killing of the unborn child, there will be no stopping. There will be no age limit. You are setting off a chain reaction that will eventually make you the victim. Your children will kill you because you permitted the killing of their brothers and sisters. Your children will kill you because they will not want to support you in your old age. Your children will kill you for your homes and estates. If a doctor will take money for killing the innocent in the womb, he will kill you with a needle when paid by your children. THIS IS THE TERRIBLE NIGHTMARE YOU ARE CREATING FOR THE FUTURE.”
Remember that every mistake made in administering euthanasia is always a fatal mistake.
A major problem among our brethren is their lack of knowledge and general apathy towards this cruel, anti-life movement. Most brethren just cannot get stirred up about aborted babies, and threats to defective and hopelessly ill people.
The following words are from Martin Niemoller, a Protestant preacher imprisoned and finally martyred by the Nazi government. They will help us see
why it is imperative that we delay no longer but act now:
In Germany, they came first for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jew, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionist, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Let all of us who worship and serve the Creator of life rise up to defend every innocent life that is threatened by violent hands. God’s Word charges us to “Deliver them that are carried away unto death, and those that are ready to be slain, see that thou hold back” (Prov. 24:11).
We are our brother’s keeper. If we who revere life as a sacred gift do not fight to defend it, who will? How will we answer our children or grandchildren who ask us, “Did you not care? Did you do anything to stop the terrible bloodshed of the so-called mercy killers?” MAY GOD HELP US TO SEE THE NEED, ARM AND EQUIP OURSELVES FOR BATTLE, AND THEN ENTER THE FRAY. (NOTE ADDED in 1983: Within the last few years it has become apparent what the anti-life forces really had in mind. We have seen the national campaign for “Living Wills” and “Death with Dignity” legislation. These are further steps toward legalized euthanasia. Has such legislation been introduced in your state? Also, it has become publicly known that some doctors and some parents of handicapped children have been allowing them to die by starvation, as in the much-publicized Infant Doe case. DARE WE STAND SILENTLY BY AND WATCH OUR NATION REGRESS TO THE BARBARIANISM OF SELECTIVE KILLING?)