Can I help you die?

Despite all my PhD troubles, the world has still been turning. It’s easy to shut ourselves in our own private universes, weighed down with our personal problems and concerns and to forget about other things of equal – if not more – importance.

But the periscope has been up every day. And notable news have included the assisted suicide bill that was proposed in the UK last Thursday and got scrapped by the House of Lords in less than a day. Which is pretty fast for the politics world.

News sites in Britain are full of stories on both sides of the issue. On one hand, it’s all about dignity in dying (I’ve seen my share of the dead and I still don’t understand what that means) and putting a stop to a poor quality of life. On the other side of the bridge, life is given by God and only He can take it. And, as always, it all boils down to this: Do we believe in God? Answer: For the most part, no.

I don’t understand why God is always brought in when death is involved. I suppose because that’s the one region of existence that our arrogance hasn’t conquered yet. Did I say arrogance? I meant science.

My question, in all love, understanding and compassion, is this: if we have no say on when we enter this world, why do we think we have a say on when to leave it?

Chew on that for a second. Because the issue of assisted suicide (a contradiction in terms, by the way) has nothing to do with physical pain, expenses of palliative care and – whatever it means – dignity of dying. It has to do with the fact that we think of life as our own and remember God only when it comes to death. But, if there is a God, shouldn’t our lives belong to Him too?

I’m complicating things. Think about that other prickly subject: Abortion. I had a heated debate with a friend in the Army once about it (as if we didn’t have other worries), and, of course, he fired at me with the classic “rape victim” and “unwilling mother” arguments, to which, I must admit, I still can’t answer without sounding vastly uncaring. But the issue was the same: If life is from God, then, one way or another, He allowed it to begin. Is it then irrational to suggest that the best thing one could do is trust that life – be it unplanned or terminally ill – to Him? When was the last time He ever failed anyone who put their faith in Him? When was the last time He turned away a heart that sought Him?

Preachy and irrelevant you say. And I answer: No. It’s the same, longsuffering issue behind Evolution vs Creation (now it’s called Intelligent Design I hear), abortion vs having it and keeping it, Religion vs Political Correctness and Pro-life vs Please Kill Me Now.

These are the issues of a fallen world; a world that doesn’t know God and doesn’t want to, for the most part (because we’re doing such a bang-up job ourselves). And one can’t suddenly push or force what we call “Christian Ethics” on it – it’s like trying to do equations before you learn how to count. It all begins with the Gospel, with salvation, with the new life that only God, the Author of Life, can give. Pain, sorrow, suffering – when we took our lives from His hands, it was the price we paid.

You don’t agree. Christian propaganda, again. And it sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

Maybe he does.

And [Job] said: “ Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Job 1:21

Then [Job’s] wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. – Job 2:9-10

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. – 1 Corinthians 2:13-14

“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:16-17

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. – 1 Timothy 6:7

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:27-29

2 thoughts on “Can I help you die?

  1. “But the issue was the same: If life is from God, then, one way or another, He allowed it to begin. Is it then irrational to suggest that the best thing one could do is trust that life – be it unplanned or terminally ill – to Him?”Nik, do you mean that life is always better than death? Or, put more bluntly, a slow painful demise or a fleeting life with no brain and most of your organs on the outside of your tiny infant body is better than nothingness?I don’t really have an answer myself but thought as an existentialist-relativist-pro-choice-daughter of someone who died a slow death and asked to be allowed to ‘pass’, that I’d throw in my tenty cents (Australian so that’s about GBP 0.003). FC

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  2. It’s such a difficult subject, I know, and I too have had more experience in that than I’d care to admit (I did a spat of Army paramed once, and it involved some palliative care). And I don’t pretend to have the definitive answers. But, since everyone is trying to put in an opinion as to what is right in these situations, and that opinion is directly linked to what they believe, I thought that, as a Christian, I could give a view myself. And that view believes in a God who is the Author of life, and who has full control over it. And if that is the case, then death should take Him under consideration too.But to your actual question: I wasn’t talking about clinically dead patients. I think there are cases where the “plug has to be pulled” for everyone’s benefit, but always after consent of relatives etc, as it’s done today. What I was debating was the idea of assisted suicide, which almost became a law in the UK, and would put doctors in the difficult position of literarily killing someone who, albeit terminally ill and in pain, is still a fully conscious person who still may be able to contribute. After all, like the Jewish Talmoud says,”an hour of life is still life”. We don’t hold all the answers to life and death, and I think some times we just rush into things without considering every side. That’s all I was trying to say…

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