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A home euthanasia machine from the London Science Museum.

Euthanasia is the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, usually by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. [1] While secular worldview definition in Ancient Greek of euthanasia is literally “good death” , but from a Christian worldview it means something entirely different. [2] Such a definition makes it seem wholesome, even pleasant, but it proves to be anything but. Euthanasia is the direct act of killing a patient; one way is by lethal injection. The act of turning off a patient’s respirator may not directly lead to death. With euthanasia however, if the first dose of toxic “medicine” does not “conclude” the patient's life, then higher and higher doses are induced until the patient is dead. [3]


A statue of Hippocrates.

The history of euthanasia begins with a Greek physician in about 400 B.C. The “Father of Medicine”, Hippocrates, had the Hippocratic Oath written which stated, in its original text:

“I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion.”[4]

New York, 1828, was the setting for the earliest American statute to outlaw assisting suicide. In 1920, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding published the book “Permitting the Destruction of Life not Worthy of Life”. This was a book written to argue that patients who ask for "death assistance" should, under carefully controlled conditions, be able to obtain it from a physician. In 1935,the Euthanasia Society of England was formed to promote euthanasia. In October 1939, Hitler ordered "mercy killing" of the sick and disabled. The Nazi’s euthanasia program to eliminate “life unworthy of life” began focusing on only the newborns and very young children, but soon spread. Nazi euthanasia broadened to eliminate anyone with mental retardation or physical deformity. In 1995, Australia's Northern Territory approved a euthanasia bill that was put into effect in 1996, but then overturned by the Australian Parliament in 1997. In 1998, the state of Oregon legalized assisted suicide. In 1999, an American citizen, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, was tried and sentenced to a ten to twenty-five year term in jail for committing second-degree murder of approximately one hundred and sixty of his patients. These were all patients on whom he had performed euthanasia. In 2000, the Netherlands legalized euthanasia, and in 2002, Belgium followed suit. Most recently, in 2008, the U.S. state of Washington legalized assisted suicide.[5]

Through all of these legalizations and killings, physicians were, and still are talking the Hippocratic Oath, though now slightly revised. The oath has been altered from its original state in regards to life and death to read:

“Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God." [6]

Beliefs and Opinions


A student's biology book

Evolution has played a major role in paving the way for euthanasia being accepted into peoples’ lives, specifically the lives of Americans. Evolution says that all organisms originated from one original organism, and that over time that organism grew and changed and turned into a new organism, repeating the process until it ended up with humans. If this were true, then human life would have the same value as that of a fruit fly’s or a slimy slug’s. [7] Evolution reduces humans to the level of animals, so that it is no different to put down a dog, than to put down a human.

People view euthanasia as a way of escaping having to deal with things that they find to scary, too nerve-wracking, or just too hard. Such distorted opinions lead people to accept that killing a severely handicapped child is no different than killing a pig. But why stop at the invalid or handicapped, if all humans originated from the same thing that sea sponges originated from, and all humans are equal? Why not kill everyone? Such suggestions may seem drastic, but in a belief system where there is no God, and no human value, there is nothing wrong with killing a child who has Down's syndrome. This is already happening with abortions. Such a belief system is precisely what thousands of people are following who work in hospitals, in schools; literally everywhere. The people themselves are not bad; the danger is in their twisted beliefs that accumulate from blinded notions that all forms life are equal, when God so clearly did not make it so.[8]

The Bible

The Bible, God’s word given to His people to live by, clearly states God’s purpose for each person's life, to live for Him. All life is given from God, so only He has the right to take it away. Man was created in God's own image, in the spirit. Throughout a person's life, their purpose it to grow to be more like God, although it impossible to become God because He is perfect.

God created us in the beginning to live a life of fellowship forever with Him, but at the fall of man God's plan was ruined. Now we live in pain and grief, but God gave humans a way out when He sent His Son to die on the cross for everyone's sins. Humanly bodies mean nothing to God; He cares about His peoples' souls and whether or not they are living for Him. To God, each life is valuable, and He can use them at any time if they allow Him to. People can't say that life has value and then go kill a man as if his life didn’t. The quality of life, how old a person is or whether or not they have “earned” the right to live is not for man to decide. God is the ultimate judge and He will judge people for what really counts when they get to heaven. All that humans can do here on earth is live every day for God as if it was their last.

God is the creator of all life, and He rules over everyone, weather they wish to accept it or not, and for someone to decide that they want to end their life because they don’t like it, just makes them ignorant and selfish. In many cases, the person choosing to receive euthanasia is not even in a stable emotional or mental state, disabling them from making a reasonable decision. [9]

There are many verses in the Bible which display God's view of euthanasia, some include:

When God lists his commandments to His people-

  • Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder” [10]

Concerning God’s love of life and plan for all life-

  • Genesis 2:9 “And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” [11]
  • Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” [12]
  • Genesis 3:24 “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” [13]

The relationship of man and life-

  • Genesis 2:7 “The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” [14]

Distinction between the value of a human’s life and the value of the an animal's-

  • Leviticus 24:21 “Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a man must be put to death.” [15]

Concerning doctors who are being paid to perform euthanasia-

  • Deuteronomy 27:25 “Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person. Then all the people shall say, 'Amen!'” [16]

God is judge-

  • Hebrews 12:22-24 “22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” [17]
  • 1Peter 4:6 “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.” [18]



Terminal illness

In America, there have been many disputes concerning euthanasia, but the most famous is the case of Terri Schiavo. Terri Schiavo started out as a forty-one year old woman living in Florida with an injured brain, and whose end began a twelve-year court battle.

In February of 1990, at age twenty-six, Terri Schiavo collapsed at her home and oxygen was cut off to her brain for several minutes. The cause of the collapse is disputed, Michael Schiavo, Terri’s husband, blames a cardiac arrest provoked by a potassium imbalance associated with bulimia. Terri’s parents, the Schindlers, suggest that Michael tried to strangle her, based on a testimony by a neurologist that said Terri had suffered a neck injury when she was admitted to the hospital.[19]

By May 1998, Michael filed a petition to remove Terri’s feeding tube, which her parents opposed. It was concluded through Dr. Jeffery Karp and Dr. Vincent Gambone’s study of Terri’s condition, that she was in a persistent vegetative state as defined by Florida Statutes as having the “absence of voluntary action” and the “inability to communicate or interact purposefully.”

It was found that there was no human possibility for Terri’s condition to improve, and worse, that Michael’s decisions to have Terri euthanized might have been affected by his potential to inherit what remained of Terri’s estate.

Terri Schiavo had no living will, so a trial was held the week of January 24, 2000, to determine what Terri’s wishes would have been regarding life-prolonging procedures. Eighteen witnesses gave their testimonies regarding her medical condition and her end-of-life wishes. Michael claimed that Terri would not want to be kept alive by a machine with no hope for recovery. Terri’s parents claimed that she was a devout Roman Catholic and would not wish to violate the Church’s teachings on euthanasia by refusing nutrition and hydration. Judge George Greer’s order was issued granting Michael’s petition for authorization to discontinue Terri’s artificial life support in February 2000.

This decision was later challenged and taken to court numerous times by Terri’s parents. Terri Schiavo’s life has affected many people, but it is possible that she affected even more through her death. It is through Terri’s death that the debate for the right to die, and eventually the fight for euthanasia in America, began.[20]

Around the World

Doctors will often give patients lethal doses of medication to ingest at home.

Euthanasia is affecting people all over the world, but the country with the most involvement is Holland. In Holland, physicians have been practicing physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia for over two decades. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Holland; however, doctors are free to perform such practices without the risk of being prosecuted as long as they follow specific guidelines. These regulations require that the patient be competent, voluntarily repeating the request for death, and experience intolerable suffering from an irreversible illness.

None the less, two Dutch studies, conducted in 1990 and 1995, revealed that doctors in the Netherlands were practicing euthanasia, disregarding such simple guidelines. The studies made a distinction between two forms of euthanasia: euthanasia -- the intentional killing of a patient by the direct intervention of a physician at the patient’s explicit request, and ending life without the explicit request of the patient (ELWERP)--the intentional killing of a patient by the direct intervention of a physician without the patient’s explicit request. A study of deaths in both categories revealed that thirty-one percent of the cases in 1990, and nearly twenty-three percent in 1995 involved patients who did not give their definitive consent to be killed.

Dutch physicians have also been found to have extended the practice of euthanasia to include comatose patients, handicapped infants, and depressed but completely healthy adults. In 1996, a Dutch court found a physician guilty of euthanizing a comatose patient at the request of the patient’s family. Although the court firmly understood that the patient had not been suffering, nor had the patient asked to die, the doctor was not punished.

In another case, in April 1995, Dutch physician Henk Prins was convicted of giving a lethal injection to Rianne Quirine Kunst, a baby born with an only partially formed brain and spina bifida. Though convicted, the court refused to punish Prins. Again, in 1994, psychiatrist Boudewijn Chabot was found guilty for prescribing a fatal dose of sleeping pills for Hilly Bosscher, who had been suffering from depression, but Chabot was not condemned.

Guidelines have proven to be no protection for Holland’s disabled, depressed, or elderly. In fact, the practice of involuntary euthanasia has become so threatening to Holland’s people that many Dutch citizens carry “Life Passports,” cards that state they do not want “physician aid-in-dying” if they are hospitalized.[21]


The two Dutch studies of euthanasia in 1990 and 1995 show some shocking statistics. Of the 128,786 deaths in 1990, 3,348 of them (2.6%) occurred through euthanasia. Of these 3,348 euthanizations performed, 2,318 (1.8% of total deaths) were performed with the patients’ request and 1,030 (O.8% of total deaths) were performed without. Equally alarming, of the 135,546 deaths in Holland in 1995, 4,201 occurred through euthanasia. Of these deaths through euthanasia, 3,253 (20.4 % of total deaths) occurred with the patients’ request and 948 (0.7% of all deaths) were done without. In summary, in a country where “euthanasia” is illegal, 30.76 percent in 1990 and 30.76 percent of the population’s deaths in 1995 by euthanasia occurred to people who had given no consent to be euthanized.[22]

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