Free Summaries

Abortion and Euthanasia Essay

The general belief about life and its beginning is that life is a gift from God which only God can take away. As Ecclesiastes 3:2 says “He sets the time for birth and the time for death”. Also preservation and protection of life are central to the teachings of Christianity. It is also the belief of many people that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God. Gen 1:26-27 says “God created man in his own image, male and female he created them”. All Christians believe that it is special to God and each person is sacred and holy. Each individual is unique.

There is a diversity of views among Christians about when life actually begins. On the one hand The Roman Catholic position is ‘Pro-Life’ and ‘Anti-Abortion’. This means that life begins at conception. Psalm 139 supports this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made. Your eyes saw my unformed body” this implies that a foetus is recognised by God, and should be recognised by Christians as a person. Also one of the Ten Commandments is Thou shalt not kill. So if you perform or have an abortion you are therefore killing a life. This is just the same as committing the murder of a living person.

Each individual has a unique relationship with God and no person except God has the right to take this relationship away by either murder, abortion or euthanasia. Matthew 19: 14 Jesus says “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. This would imply that God loves all children equally.

It is my belief that the same set of rules must also apply to those at the end of their lives as those at the beginning of life.

In Matthew 14: 34-36, Jesus heals the sick in Gennesaret, and in Mark 5: 21-42, He heals the daughter of Jairus and also a woman who touches his cloak. These parables suggest that God does not want sick people to die nor do they even suggest that those who are incurable should be put out of their misery. These people want to live and are healed not just by the love of Jesus but also by their faith in God.

As Catholics, we believe that death with dignity means that terminally ill people should be treated with the best possible medical attention and care available and not just to be put down by means of euthanasia. According to Ecclesiastes 3: 2 it is only God who should decide the time of our death, and according to Corinthians 6: 18-20, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, so to destroy someone through euthanasia is to destroy God’s temple which is most sacred. We should trust in God and place ourselves in His hands.

Some Christians, though not many, support euthanasia, they feel that they are helping someone relief their misery. In Matthew 22: 34-40 it says “love god and love your neighbour as yourself”. They feel this could be the most loving thing to do is to help someone die and stop their suffering. They believe that there is nothing in the bible that says a person must be kept alive even though they are suffering. Some Christians feel that death would dignity would mean death with euthanasia.

Explain the different ways Christians might respond to abortion and euthanasia.

Explain the different ways Christians might respond to abortion and euthanasia.

In general, I believe that all Christians respect life no matter what stage it is at. “All human life is sacred, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent changes because God created us in His own image and likeness”. (Irish Bishops, 26 Nov. 1951) For some, the taking of life at any stage is completely wrong. However there are others who may hold different views.

As Roman Catholics, we condemn both abortion and euthanasia. In 1980, the catholic Archbishops of Britain defended the right of life for all from conception to death. Also in the document ‘The Gospel of Life’ published by Pope John Paul the 2nd in 1995 it stated that abortion and euthanasia were gravely immoral, and therefore “No one can permit in any way the killing of a foetus / an old person / or a person who is dying”. As Catholics, we are not authorised, under any circumstances, to help any one with an abortion or euthanasia in any way. Marvin Kohl in his book “The Morality of Killing” says that man is never morally justified in taking an innocent life. We are encouraged to campaign against abortion by supporting groups such as ‘The society for protection of the unborn child’ and ‘Life’. These groups work very hard in our community by offering help, counselling, support and advice to women who are considering abortion and have no one to turn to.

“The essential sinfulness of abortion consists in the homicidal intent to kill an innocent human life” (CCC).

As Catholics, we believe that God sets the time for birth and the time for death, and as we respect human life we have no right under any circumstances to take a life, death should only occur by natural causes. It is possible that a person with a terminal illness may recover fully.

Not all Christians feel as strongly as Roman Catholics on this subject. Some condemn it in theory but in practice allow limited abortion and euthanasia.

They believe that if a foetus is severely malformed such as in a case of severe Down’s syndrome that abortion should be allowed. Others say that it is best, even in such cases to join support organisations like Mencap or Gateway, where these children and their parents get great help.

Others may, for example, in the case of a pregnancy resulting from a rape, where the baby was neither planned nor wanted by the mother, agree with an abortion being carried out.

Some Christians agree with mercy killing of a person who is terminally ill and who is in extreme suffering, or whose life is being supported by a machine and who is brain dead. They agree with ‘Death with Dignity’, and they support voluntary organisations such as Exit.

Some Christians are attempting to introduce a change of the law through parliament by means of a bill known as the ‘Mental Incapacity Bill’ in order to make euthanasia more acceptable.

Some churches, such as the Anglican Church believe that if continuing with a pregnancy will harm the life of the mother then the life of the foetus is not absolutely sacrosanct. (Church of England Report 1984).

Although some Christians do participate in abortion and euthanasia, this does not mean that we should hate them. We are not to be their judge, that is for God. However the Catholic Church does teach that anyone involved should be excommunicated from the church. It is not necessarily them that we dislike but the sin that they are committing. Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 – 1948) once said “Hate the sin, Love the sinner”.

As it says in Matthew 22: 39 “Love thy neighbour”. And in John 8: 1-11, Jesus makes it clear that we are in no position to pass judgement on others.

What Christians believe about there life is up to them. They should not try to make others accept their position. Do you agree?

What Christians believe about there life is up to them. They should not try to make others accept their position. Do you agree?

On one hand I believe that Christians shouldn’t force their views on others as everyone has free will and Christians shouldn’t try to force their will on other people. Can you imagine how Christians would feel if Jews or Muslims attempted to force their religion on them? Their faith would not allow them to change their beliefs. So in the same way, people of other beliefs will not disown their own faith and if we tried to force our views on others, anti-Christian feelings would arise. People need to make their own choices and Jesus didn’t force anyone to believe in or to follow him. In the bible, Jesus condemns people for forcing others to live in a particular way, so why should we force people to live the way we want them to.

This is clearly seen in John 8: 1-11 (The woman caught in adultery). People should instead learn to respect the views of others and to live together peacefully. A better way of dealing with this would be if Christians tried to lead by example or even try to persuade others to follow Jesus by preaching the word of God rather than trying to force people to lead good lives. An example of this would be by offering support to mothers who are considering abortion, as maybe it is only support or a good listener that they need. Perhaps the hospice movement should be advised rather than criticising euthanasia as they may feel euthanasia is the only way.

On the other hand, perhaps Christians should force their views as Jesus ordered his disciples to continue his work “and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 16:19-20. Christians believe they have the right to protest and campaign against abortion and euthanasia. They believe very strongly in their views and their faith and therefore they feel obliged to advise others of what they believe is the truth.

The Catechism 2033 tell us that its’ leaders are the “authentic teachers” of the faith and they must pass this on to all people.

As Christians we believe that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must acknowledge our sins and we must encourage others to do the same. By insisting that they follow our beliefs, we believe we are saving their souls as well as our own.

It is my opinion that we should not force other people to accept our views but it is our duty as Christians to encourage non-believers to follow the way of Christ. The word of God can be spread by the example of our lives, such as helping others who are more needy than ourselves, offering support to those who require it, attending church and worshipping God. We can try to lead them in the right direction but if they do not want to accept our ways then we should not force it. Sometimes people of other religions may lead far better lives and perhaps be able to give better example than ourselves so we should respect their views as well.

No one likes to be dictated to, persuasion is sometimes the best.

In baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit in the same way the disciples received the Tongues of Fire, this gives us the authority to spread the word of God to the whole world. (Acts 2: 3-5).

Back To Top