Two or Three (.net)

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - Jesus

3.15.2005

Promoting Life in a Culture of Death

by Tom Parsons [+/-] show/hide

David Limbaugh has a great column today on the continuing fight to save Terri Schiavo's life. He asks many hard questions about her situation that do not have easy answers. But the most striking part of the column are the final paragraphs:

I find it haunting that we live in a culture of death where the presumption seems to be against finding that a human being would want to go on living and the burden of proof is on those promoting life.

Terri Schiavo and her parents need and deserve our prayers.

6 Comments:

  • I must admit, although I understand what most people mean by a "culture of life," it can also be confused with "consistently pro-life" - meaning pro-life on abortion and anti death penalty. I don't support this idea of "life at all costs." I think the death penalty is just.

    And when it comes to euthanasia, I don't totally buy the "keep them alive at all costs" mentality of the anti-ethanasia lobby. Despite the possible lack of character in Terry Shivo's husband's case, isn't there a line somewhere where we let people die? I mean, sure, there is always a slim hope that a miracle could occur, but who is going to pay for the expenses, not to mention the possible *decades* of time that a family member must spend, and let me also say, WASTE sitting in a quiet hospital room? You can deliver platitudes about how God could use that time to make them mature, and they can use it to pray or read, but until you have been in such a "hopless" situation, those really are platitudes - esp. if the person lives for 30 years that way.

    For me, when I finally get around to a will, I am also going to make sure that I have a living will which lets my wife off the hook if I am on life support with little hope of recovery and little awareness of my surroundings. Why make her suffer, just to preserve my so-called life at that point? She can learn just as much from God by grieving the loss of me and learning to live again.

    And the other problem I have with the anti right-to-die folk is the tired "slippery slope" argument. While that is a real concern, that is also a copout on trying to define some real conditions under which we allow people to govern their own lives and deaths.

    This same slipperly slope logic is used by the pro-choice lobby, who use this fear tactic to support their contention that if we give an inch of womens' rights, they will lose a yard!

    By Blogger papa, at 3/15/2005 2:42 PM  

  • Seeker, first of all, there's a big difference between someone in Terri's condition & that of someone who is in a persistent vegitative state (what some folks call "brain dead"), with not hope of ever regaining consciousness. In a case like that, you're correct, there is no reason to keep such poor people on artificial life support & it is humane & ethical to allow them to die naturally. What is being condoned by Terri's "husband" (who's been living with another woman for nearly 10 years & has 2 kids with her) is starvation. The removal of Terri's feeding tube, which provides basic "food & water" type of sustenance, would cause Terri to die a horribly painful & slow death over many days, perhaps many weeks. The state of Florida has laws preventing animals being starved to death! So, where is the same protection for humans?

    "And the other problem I have with the anti right-to-die folk is the tired "slippery slope" argument. While that is a real concern, that is also a copout on trying to define some real conditions under which we allow people to govern their own lives and deaths."

    Woah! Think this one out, please. Remember that God is the Author of life. We do not have the right to kill ourselves, especially if we are Christians who have given our lives to God!

    As for the death penalty being just . . . well, perhaps it is in some cases, such as Scott Peterson. But there's a reason John Paul II coined the phrase "culture of death"! Our culture does tend to promote death as a way to further life, as sick & twisted as that sounds. Abortion, embroyonic stem cell use, contraception, the promotion of the gay agenda - all of these are closed to life; the first 2 because they kills life & the last 2 because they prevent new life. In such a culture, how long do you think it will take until executions are televised for all to see, elevated to the status of a sport? Like ancient Rome when Christians like Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, & Justin Martyr were murdered (from the Greek word "martyr", meaning "witness"), ironically, for being "atheists" because they didn't believe in the Roman pantheon of gods.

    By Anonymous Moochie, at 3/16/2005 8:50 PM  

  • Woah! Think this one out, please. Remember that God is the Author of life. We do not have the right to kill ourselves, especially if we are Christians who have given our lives to God!

    I have thought it out. The prohibition against taking one's own life is not biblical.

    (1) salvation is based on faith, not on my works - so if I'm a christian with a depression problem, thank God my suicide doesn't revoke my salvation

    (2)If god gives me the responsibility to care for myself, or to go into certain situations where I'm a martyr, I suspect God is merciful enough to allow me to kill myself. I'm sure that you could create a theological position to make that a sin or wrong, but if you've ever seen somone in extreme suffering, you would understand the term "mercy killing."

    Despite the furor, I haven't really followed the Shivo case very closely - I don't know how much she is aware of, or if she is just open eyed with nobody home. Just because she can process the sludge the pump into her system doesn't mean she is aware of what is going on. Is she not vegetative? I haven't really watched, but I just take the "un-christian" but compassionate position that in some cases, people should have the right to die.

    By Blogger papa, at 3/16/2005 9:12 PM  

  • "The prohibition against taking one's own life is not biblical."

    OK . . . Let’s start with Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17—"You shall not kill." There are numerous other scripture passages that condemn killing, such as Genesis 9:5—"For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: of every beast I will require it and of man"—or Ezekiel 23:7—"Keep far from false charge, and do not slay the innocent and the righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked." (Emphasis added.)

    In the New Testament, Christ takes this command even further when he says, "You have heard it said to men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire." Christ ups the ante here, doesn't He?

    But let's say, Seeker, that you're not convinced that these passages apply to taking one’s own life. If that is the case, please consider Matthew 22:39, where Christ says that you must love your neighbor as yourself. If loving yourself means that you could kill yourself, then it would logically follow that you could do the same to your neighbor, and clearly that is condemned. As a Christian, my life is not my own, but God's! God will decide when & how I die, not me. And since God is the Author of life, I'll let Him decide when & how a person in Terri Schaivo's condition dies, too. Not her husband. Not a judically tyranical judge.

    "I'm sure that you could create a theological position to make that a sin or wrong, but if you've ever seen somone in extreme suffering, you would understand the term "mercy killing"

    Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia also is a form of homicide. Period. Full stop. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.

    In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person!

    Please define "extreme suffering". I've suffered from depression - God has healed me of that, praise Him! But I really wanted to end my suffering & stop the depression, the feeling that my mind was slipping away from me. Almost 2 years ago, I tore my left ACL & had to have it repaired with a piece of my hamstring. After the opperation, I developed a cellulitus infection & suffered for nearly a week, at times I was delirious! But it passed. Are you saying that that these sorts of suffering, what I now know to have been a temporary situaition, would have been sufficient reason to kill myself in either of these situations?

    Seeker, please read these Scripture passages (in context) & pray about them: Col 1:24, Phil 3:10, Rom 5:3, Rom 8:18, 2 Cor 1:5-7, 2 Thes 1:5, 2 Tim 1:8, James 5:13, 1 Peter 4:13.

    By Anonymous Moochie, at 3/18/2005 12:53 AM  

  • I said "The prohibition against taking one's own life is not biblical."

    Moochie said "OK . . . Let’s start with Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 "You shall not kill." There are numerous other scripture passages that condemn killing, such as Genesis 9:5 "For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: of every beast I will require it and of man" or Ezekiel 23:7 "Keep far from false charge, and do not slay the innocent and the righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked."


    None of these really address how one is responsible for one's self. I mean, how could "your lifeblood" be required as a punishment if you are already dead? Obviously, these only address killing someone else. People would like them to apply to suicide, but that argument is made from an absence of evidence, and in the case I just mentioned (lifeblood), it certainly is contradictory.

    Moochie said "In the New Testament, Christ takes this command even further when he says, "You have heard it said to men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire." Christ ups the ante here, doesn't He?"

    Christ is again dealing with motive here - so if my motive is self love (I want to end suffering), I am not sinning. In fact, if I want to help a friend end their suffering, then I am not angry at them either, and so by that scripture, I am not sinning.

    Moochie says "But let's say, Seeker, that you're not convinced that these passages apply to taking one’s own life. If that is the case, please consider Matthew 22:39, where Christ says that you must love your neighbor as yourself. If loving yourself means that you could kill yourself, then it would logically follow that you could do the same to your neighbor, and clearly that is condemned."

    Not all killing is condemned. For example, there are plenty of capital crimes listed, so killing in the name of justice by the government is condoned. It stands to reason that mercy killing may also not be murder, especially since the motive is compassion. Ending my life to end suffering, or ending someone else's are both done with compassion, so again, I *would* be loving my neighbor. Sorry, your argument doesn't hold up.

    Moochie says "Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia also is a form of homicide. Period. Full stop. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person."

    So, that is an interesting opinion that you have, that euthanasia is homicide. But I've never seen a good argument supporting that. And while euthanasia can be used as an excuse to kill the unwanted or weak, it is not in all cases immoral. In fact, we should sit down and try to define when it is moral and when it is not. Many Christians have no problem "pulling the plug" on someone in a persistent vegetative state (no brain activity, or highly damaged brain), so at least that might be acceptable. After that, there is a whole range of things we should discuss, including cases like Terry Shivo.

    And who says I don't have the right to take my life? I have the right to *give* my life into missions, even if that means I may be killed. Jesus said "no one takes my life from me - I lay it down on my own accord." While that is not suicide, some would agree that his passivity amounted to suicide. All I am saying is that I *do* have the right to give my life, so wny not the right to end my own life to end suffering?

    Further, God has given the government the right to punish criminals for capital crimes, so there is a case where man *does* have the right to take another's life.

    Moochie says "In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person!"

    Well, if you have ever seen someone in extreme suffering, you might think differently. Admittedly, many people can benefit from our compassionate care and palliative care, and perhaps even benefit from their suffering until the end, but for others, especially those who can choose to NOT recieve treatment, what, you want to FORCE them to get treatment? What if they refuse another round of chemo? You want to tell them they don't have that right?

    And for those who can not choose for themselves, are YOU going to choose to make them suffer more treatment when maybe the compassionate thing is to let them go?

    Euthansia is not misplaced compassion. Sure, there is a "slippery slope" we have to be aware of, and not let ourself go down it. But to opt for all or nothing thinking in fear of the slippery slope is cowardice. We need to face the issue and define when it IS ok to take one's own life, or to let another go.

    Moochie says "Please define "extreme suffering". I've suffered from depression - God has healed me of that, praise Him! But I really wanted to end my suffering & stop the depression, the feeling that my mind was slipping away from me. Almost 2 years ago, I tore my left ACL & had to have it repaired with a piece of my hamstring. After the opperation, I developed a cellulitus infection & suffered for nearly a week, at times I was delirious! But it passed. Are you saying that that these sorts of suffering, what I now know to have been a temporary situaition, would have been sufficient reason to kill myself in either of these situations?

    Well, you have asked the important question. I have not studied it that much, but I'd say that if a person has an (1) incurable, (2) untreatable (3) *physically* painful condition, or the treatment itself is painful and has almost now chance of being a cure, then they *may* be allowed to take their own lives, or we may help them take it, or if they can not make the decision, we may take their life. But that's just a starting place for the discussion - maybe that is too broad.

    All of your maladies above would not fit - they were curable, and some were not entirely physical (depression).

    By Blogger papa, at 3/18/2005 11:11 AM  

  • "Ending my life to end suffering, or ending someone else's are both done with compassion, so again, I *would* be loving my neighbor."

    My arguement doesn't hold up? I cringe at your words, Seeker. This is nothing more that moral relativism! Your point fails the first test: who decides? Say a victim of a violent crime is on a respirator & left no living will explaning what should be done. The victim's family decides not to remove the respirator & allow thier loved one to die, hoping that he/she will recover. But a worker in the nursing facility sees how the victim is suffering on a daily basis, decides that no person should live that way &, in the middle of the night, turns off the respirator & allows the victim to die. Compassion or murder? From your point of view, the NF employee could be seen as displaying "love" for his neighbor in removing the victim's life support. But it's still murder, Seeker!

    Many people today define *personhood* by functioning brain waves & *worth* by productivity. If one can't function at optimal level, one is no longer truly a person. In our culture, the brain has effectively become the the soul. But that is not the case. There is a spiritual level here that needs to be take into account! God has endowed everyone, including individuals our society mistakenly deems worthless, with souls that will live forever. Even Princeton professor Peter Singer, a major proponent of abortion & euthanasia, has run up against this. He advocates that people should be euthanized when they become non-productive or contract a disease that might eventually kill them. But he has found himself incapable of following his own "right to die" model when it comes to his own mother who is in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease! Even Singer, deep down, realizes the inherent worth, dignity, & beauty of the human soul! Whether he'll admit it or not. I pray someday he will.

    Please, Seeker, don't make the mistake of falling for the lies the Culture of Death wants you to believe!

    By Anonymous Moochie, at 3/18/2005 10:11 PM  

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