Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: a flaw in one of the religious arguments against them

There’s a programme on the tv this evening (Panorama) about euthanasia and assisted suicide, presented by Margo McDonald, Member of the Scottish Parliament and sufferer from the degenerative illness, Parkinson’s disease.
I watched a trailer for it earlier today.
In the trailer Ms McDonald talked to various people about their attitudes to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
One of them was a member of the clergy.
He was against euthanasia and assisted suicide on the grounds that, to quote (more or less) “We should go when God calls us, not before”.
I see a problem with this stance.
Surely, if we should go when God calls us, and not before, we shouldn’t go after he calls us either. This means that when people are striken with life-threatening illness we shouldn’t allow doctors to intervene to prolong their lives, because surely the illness is part of God’s method of calling them.
What religious person would ever argue that doctors are going against God’s will? (Okay, I know there are some.) This point has to be addressed by those who hold to the argument that assisted death does so, but as far as I’m aware it never is. If you argue against assisted death you have to also argue against assisted life.
Which is a nonsense unless I’m very much mistaken.
So the whole ‘go when God calls us’ stance falls down even without the need to point out that the stance can only apply if God exists, which is open to debate. Speaking as a non-believer myself, I’d have to insist that the stance only applies to believers and that non-believers are free to do what they personally find most appropriate.

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3 Comments

Filed under Philosophy, Religion/atheism

3 responses to “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: a flaw in one of the religious arguments against them

  1. Pollywolly

    You do not have to be a person of faith or appeal to faith to oppose the legalisation of euthanasia.

    “non-believers are free to do what they personally find most appropriate.”

    Yes, it seems that in our current culture individual autonomy rules and we are required not to interfere if another asserts their wish to die. (Although I don’t see too many people agreeing with that if the person concerned is young and able-bodied). However, if the fulfilment of that wish requires a change in the law then we are all entitled to have our say.

  2. Pollywolly Says:
    “You do not have to be a person of faith or appeal to faith to oppose the legalisation of euthanasia.

  3. Pollywolly

    Well, since no-one else has, let me just pick up on your main point.

    If you were in conversation with said clergyman and he had said what you have quoted here I guess you would have put your point to him. What do you suppose his reaction would have been? Would he have stopped in astonishment and said “Gosh, I never thought of it like that. Fair point, guv!”? I doubt that you would be prepared to lay bets on that response, Chris.

    The problem with our tendency to converse by and comment on 10 second sound-bites is that it is not conducive to serious debate. Further, it would be very easy, would it not, for a production team which was so motivated to edit in a way which advanced its agenda? The comment you picked up on was an easy target in that context.

    You say as far as you are aware your point is never addressed. Perhaps it is more a case of the point is not addressed within the secular media. If you were genuinely interested in establishing the facts on this you could have picked up the

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