The word “euthanasia” comes from the Greek "ev" meaning "good" and “hanatos" meaning "death". Thus it is the idea of a good death as opposed to much pain and suffering which is considered a bad death. Many are confused concerning the current debate on euthanasia. Some have defined passive euthanasia as hastening the death of a person by altering some form of support and letting nature take its course. They would say for example that removing life support equipment from a person or not doing CPR on a person whose heart has stopped is euthanasia. This, however, is misleading and is not euthanasia. Concerning this point one RN wrote:
It must be made abundantly clear that the humane practice of medicine has always allowed the physician and patient (or his family) to decide what measures if any should be employed to prolong the patient’s life. There is absolutely no need for legislation to protect either the physician or patient in this regard. . .
Being told that you have terminal cancer and that radical surgery might add a few weeks to your life and your refusal of this surgery is not euthanasia. It would, on the other hand, be euthanasia to be told that you had terminal cancer and that you have only a few weeks to live, and then you ask the doctor to give you some type of medicine that would kill you.
Euthanasia or sometimes called “mercy killing” is nothing new. Many societies and cultures have practiced euthanasia. There has been much debate in the USA during the past thirty years or so concerning this issue. But it goes back beyond thirty years. In 1938 Charles F. Potter, calling himself Reverend Potter, founded the Euthanasia Society of America. Among those serving as president for this society was Dr. Joseph Fletcher (father of situation ethics). The name of this organization was later changed to Society for the Right to Die, Inc. Dr. Winston Duke, while defending euthanasia, said:
With regard to the specific question of humanity in homo sapiens infants, much is already known. There is little evidence that termination of an infant’s life in the first few minutes following extraction from the womb could be looked upon as murder. . . It would seem to be more ‘inhumane’ to kill an adult chimpanzee than a newborn baby, since the chimpanzee has greater mental awareness. Murder cannot logically apply to a life form with less mental awareness than a primate.
First there was abortion and next comes euthanasia. The two go hand in hand. Here the fruit of Darwin’s evolution is seen. The Russian poet and philosopher Dostoevsky said, “If God is not, then nothing is morally wrong.” For the past several years our society has drunk from the depths of Atheism, evolution, humanism, materialism and selfishness. No wonder Dr. Winston Duke could see no difference in killing an adult chimpanzee and a newborn baby. In fact his implications are that since the adult chimpanzee has more “mental awareness” it would be worse to kill an adult chimpanzee than to kill a newborn baby. It is quite revealing that he did not speak of killing an “unborn baby” but a “newborn baby.”
Truly without a divine standard man is traveling without a compass in a vast sea of moral uncertainty. However, we do have a divine standard: God has spoken. In the long ago God said, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). In Matthew 19:18 Jesus quoting from the Old Law said, “Thou shalt do no murder.” God’s Word makes a distinction in killing and in murder. Government has the right to execute justice on evildoers (Romans 13). God’s Word calls upon us to rise up with respect for the elderly (Leviticus 19:32), not to kill them. Children are to honor their fathers and mothers (Ephesians 6:2). Killing them so they won’t be a burden or expense for us is not what God had in mind! The heathen of Romans 1:31-32 were “without natural affection” and God condemned them for their evil. Paul Marx said:
Once you permit the killing of the unborn child, there will be no stopping. There will be no age limit. You are setting off a chain reaction that will eventually make you the victim. Your children will kill you because you permitted the killing of their brothers and sisters. Your children will kill you because they will not want to support you in your old age. Your children will kill you for your homes and estates. If a doctor will take money for killing the innocent in the womb, he will kill you with a needle when paid by your children. This is the terrible nightmare you are creating for the future.
In the Supreme Court of the United States, October 1996, State of Washington against Harold Glucksburg, a brief was prepared by Mark A. Rothe. Notice some of the things Mr. Rothe said. “It has long been a principle of the criminal law that if at the time of defendant’s conduct the victim is living, it matters not that he was dying, as from a mortal wound inflicted by a third person. Defendant is guilty of homicide if he merely accelerates the victim’s death.” It is homicide, not a merciful killing or dignified fundamental right, “to kill one already dying, to accelerate one’s death, to kill one condemned to be executed the next day, or to kill a worthless victim.” Hales v. Petit has stated the case law on suicide for over four hundred years. In it, Judge Lord Dyer stated that suicide is a grave wrong. ‘It is in a degree of murder, and not of homicide or manslaughter (for) murder is the killing a man with malice prepense.’”
Under the heading of “It is not possible for the law to recognize any right to be dead or to be non-existent,” Mr. Rothe wrote:
Liberty to kill oneself is premised upon a belief that death brings nonexistence and that nonexistence is better than painful existence, i.e., nothing is better than something, or nothing is more than something. However, ‘better’ and ‘quality’ only have meaning or make sense if they exist. Rights, too, only make sense in the realm of the existent. The idea that nonexistence is of greater value than continued life is foreign to reason and the law. There is little, if any, interest in non-existence. Again, the dead have no rights and there is no right to have no rights.
The law has been clear for many years on suicide and assisted suicide; however, some want to rewrite the laws of the land and the laws of God.
Those who believe the Bible know that existence does not cease at physical death. Death is a separation of the body and spirit (James 2:26). The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 clearly shows that death does not bring on nonexistence nor does death stop physical pain. “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:23-24).
Evolution and atheism would have us to believe that it is good to kill a person who is in much pain. They fail to understand that at death those who are not Christians are not mercifully out of pain but in more pain than they can imagine and that the pain for the wicked dead is eternal (Matthew 25:46). Those who do not believe in God and the Bible many times see no value in human suffering. Notice what David said: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psalms 119:71).
Murder has been and always will be wrong, no matter what it is called. In the long ago God told His people to plead the cause for the poor and the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17, 23). It is time that as God’s people we rise up and speak for the unborn and the elderly.
The words of Martin Niemoller, a Protestant preacher who was killed by the Nazi government, show why you should be concerned for this topic:
In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.