Saturday, July 12, 2014

Unintended consequences

Britain is engaged in debate about legalizing "assisted dying," i.e. killing the elderly and terminally ill at least initially with their consent. A former Archbishop of Canterbury has now come out in favor of it. I think it's a terrible idea and agree with this blogger:
...[T]he argument isn’t that there isn’t suffering that could be curtailed by a doctor killing a terminally ill patient. It’s that the effects of the change on a great number of other people will be incalculably damaging. ....

.... The moment people at the end of their lives feel that by getting a doctor to kill them they can save their family trouble and the state money, you put an intolerable pressure on them to consider that choice. There is an altruistic streak in many of our elderly, whereby they feel they shouldn’t be a burden. With the option of assisted dying, they will be obliged to entertain a notion they should not even have to consider, that they can save other people a lot of trouble by dying. ....

...[T]he message of the cross isn’t that suffering is something that should be avoided at all costs. The Christian notion of suffering involves uniting your suffering with that of Christ on Calvary and thereby giving it a very different dimension. Christians do not, at least nowadays, wilfully take suffering on themselves – beyond a bit of fast and abstinence – but they take up their cross when it comes to them. When it comes to suffering their role is to relieve it in the sufferer, not to kill him or her and so do away with it, which is why so many hospices are former or present Christian foundations. ....