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Be warned: the slippery slope of euthanasia is real – CT

This weeks Christian Today article 

(Photo: Unsplash/Daan Stevens)

It was a startling headline in The Australian: “State-sanctioned death exposes West’s moral decay.”

The article that followed, from Paul Kelly, the paper’s Editor-at-Large, was one of the most extraordinary, moving, and powerful I have ever read, and I thought it would be helpful to share some of the insights with Christian Today readers – especially as the national and devolved parliaments in the UK are yet again about to be pressured to change the euthanasia laws.

One thing I have learned over the years is that the elites who think that their moral values should be imposed on the rest of us, will never give up until they get their way. Having, as they consider, won the battle for public opinion, they are now doing their best to remove the remaining obstacles, mainly the medical profession and Christianity.

Their case is simple and is often simplistically put: tell the story of someone who is suffering terribly and then ask why they should not be allowed to ‘die with dignity’ and put out of their misery?

When it is put like that, it seems so obvious, but it’s only when we step back and look at the wider picture – and tell other stories – that we realise that the situation is more complex, and that the simplistic solution offered by euthanasia is both dangerous and damming.

Besides which, what kind of argument is it to say that human beings should be put down like dogs? Which brings me back to Kelly’s article.

“Two ideas consume us,” he writes. “Extreme steps are deemed essential to save lives from the virus, while we authorise the state to liquidate lives in the name of humanity. On the one hand we strive to protect life through the health system, and on the other hand we move to terminate life through the same health system. Only a secular rationalisation decoupled from moral social principle could fail to be embarrassed by the juxtaposition. Yet we do not notice it.”

Kelly points out that technology, the State, and the health system are used for human convenience. On the one hand we use lockdown to save (mainly) the lives of the elderly, on the other we legislate in order to kill (mainly) the elderly.

When the Northern Territories in Australia legislated to make euthanasia legal, one woman was used as the poster child making her plea, ‘Please let me die’. She didn’t die and later she became an avid opponent of those laws.

Euthanasia is going to be the moral issue of the next couple of years. The first countries to legalise it were the Netherlands and Belgium in 2002 so we now have almost two decades’ experience which indicate where this is going.

Another article from a more surprising source, The Guardian in January 2019, asks the pertinent question, ‘Death on Demand, has euthanasia gone too far?’

“The article asks, “having begun with limited euthanasia will it inevitably expand?”

And it gives the unequivocal answer: yes – it must. The slippery slope is for real. It was reported that 5% of all deaths in 2017 in the Netherlands were induced – although others suggest the real figure is nearer 10%. Twenty per cent of euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands were ‘involuntary euthanasia’ – in other words – state-sanctioned murder.

Some of the examples are almost unbelievable.

In 2016 it was reported that in the Netherlands permitted a young sexual abuse victim to be euthanized after doctors convinced her that treatment for her mental disorders was hopeless.

Also in that year, it was reported that a 41-year-old father of two was euthanized after claiming his alcoholism had made his life unbearable.

And in 2017, a doctor euthanized a patient even though the patient fought back, because the doctor didn’t want the patient to get ‘cold feet’.

The Dutch have even set up mobile death squads to kill sick and elderly people in their own homes.

What can we do? Let me suggest two things.

Firstly, we should be informed. If you want to ask the experts why not consult the Christian Medical Fellowship? Care Not Killing is also an excellent organisation – why not join and support them?

Then, we must campaign and inform. Use social media, letters to politicians, petitions, classrooms – anything we can to inform and warn. You may just be a small voice, a drop in the ocean, but you are not a lone voice….and many drops make a mighty river!

And we must cry out in prayer. Pray and pray again. Perhaps the Lord will have mercy and turn us back from our Hellish ways.

Those who have the ability should be prepared to stand up in public and argue that case. I have debated the issue several times at universities.

Of special interest for me are a couple of debates I did at the University of Abertay in Dundee. Unusually they had a vote before and after the debates and on both occasions, there was a significant shift to the anti-euthanasia position. One of the lecturers rather grumpily told me that I was very dangerous and was using facts, emotion and stories to influence his young people. He was dead right. Once people get the facts and the bigger picture, minds and hearts can be changed. We need to tell a better story.

And we also need to warn where this is going. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, let me share this revealing quote from Hitler’s secretary, Traudl Junge. Speaking of Hitler, she stated:

“He was not a member of any church, and thought the Christian religions were outdated, hypocritical institutions that lured people into them. The laws of nature were his religion. He could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour and your enemy. ‘Science isn’t yet clear about the origins of humanity,’ he once said. ‘We are probably the highest stage of development of some mammal which developed from reptiles and moved on to human beings, perhaps by way of the apes. We are a part of creation and children of nature, and the same laws apply to us as to all living creatures. And in nature the law of the struggle for survival has reigned from the first. Everything incapable of life, everything weak is eliminated. Only mankind and above all the church have made it their aim to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.” (Until the Final Hour, p 108)

Let’s return to Paul Kelly’s insightful and prophetic article:

“Australia is turning into a global leader in cultural arrogance thinking it can usurp God’s role in human affairs without consequence. Once killing is authorised, the next steps are always easier – within the coming generation, people with dementia will be killed in this country.”

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher posed the question:

If compassionately relieving suffering is what euthanasia is all about, we have to be honest with ourselves about where that leads. If the suffering of some people is to be resolved by killing them or assisting them to kill themselves, why not the chronically but not terminally ill, the mentally but not physically ill, those unable to consent because they are unconscious, too disabled, or infants? Why restrict this mercy to dying consenting adults? Yet our culture and moral order are being debased. The consequences may appear in the short-term or the longer-term, but they will come.”

As Kelly and Archbishop Fisher point out, ultimately our society faces a choice. We can go down the road of “killing the weak, the unfit and the inferior” or we can go the way of Christ. Pray that it will be the latter.

Euthanasia and The Evangel – Belgrave Heights Convention

Hayley’s Law – Pro-Euthanasia TV Propaganda

Social media promises equality and diversity – except for Christians

15 comments

  1. In the past with depression, past family abuse, bullied all through school then depression I’ve often thought that my life was not worth living. I have often done what Elijah did & prayed that God would take my life, for I couldn’t bear to live any more, life hurts too much.
    However from 2014 to present, things have looked up. I go to Zumba, have got a dog, have lost seven stone. But…. I often wonder what the future holds? I still struggle to make or keep friends, so I’m a loner. I’m getting a lot of pain now in my ageing body, get restless legs syndrome the minute I go to bed for the entire night plus tingling in both fee.t. And at nearly 55, the dog now 6, I wonder what while happen to me when I get old, face more pain, lose more loved ones, what happens when old age hits? Will I get more bodily aches & pains, become disabled & need to go in to a home until I die? What will happen when my dog dies? So if euthanasia became legal in the UK, for a life not worth living, would I ask for it? Once my dog Caleb goes, then I think the pain of the grief will be so unbearable that, yes I definitely could be tempted to ask to go to heaven.

    Maggie

    1. Maggie, we have so much in common, though you have managed to lose more weight than me!). Once we (women) are past a certain age, we seem to stop mattering to society, and sometimes to ourselves too. But there is always hope.
      David, if you can share my email with Maggie, and if it is ok with Maggie, I would like to send her an email.

      1. Thanks Kairlie
        Love your name, by the way. And thanks for the support. At the moment it’s 4 am & I’m awake, restless legs again, plus my mind is whizzing. Lost my mum 2 years, 9 months ago and went to bed at 10 but dreamt about her. Dreamt the she & her late friend Cathy had gone to a Lionel Richie concert. I met them in old hometown of Arbroath & we were going out for dinner, but I had my dog, so mum’s friends took turns to sit outside with my dog while we ate inside. Then I woke up & missed her all over again.
        I’ve suffered bereavements before, but have never felt grief anything like this before. I miss my mum more than I can even put into words.
        Might just stay up now & get bus to Montrose to the cemetery to my parents’ grave with some flowers.
        Still hoping David will email me your email as I’d be interested in exchanging emails with you. Thanks again.

        Maggie

    2. For the restless legs, I wonder if a magnesium spray or lotion would help, something like BetterYou? Magnesium is also beneficial for the nervous system and to get a good sleep.

  2. Maggie I am so sorry that you have faced so many difficulties and struggle with so many worries about the future. You are clearly an overcomer and I admire your courage and tenacity in the face of adversity. Your story has encouraged me. May God continue to be your comforter and show you how precious you are and how much He loves you.

  3. Maggie

    I can enter a little into your pain. I too struggle with depression and know what it’s like to pray that the Lord take me home. I’m 65 and have dealt with depressive symptoms intermittently since may late twenties.

    I fight the negative thoughts the depression creates as best as I can with positive faith thoughts: the Lord is my strength; the Lord is my joy; the Lord will enable one thing at a time…etc

    I find this helps stifle the negative thoughts. I remember that the difficulties of this life are fleeting compared to the glories that await those who persevere in faith. I say… Lord help me to persevere… to trust… pray… and not faint. There is cloud of heavenly witnesses almost like a crowd of cheerleaders at the end of a race who have run before us often against much greater obstacles and they’re willing us to the finish line.

    They’re shouting… don’t think of the pain… look away from yourself… look to Jesus… it was the joy before him that enabled him to despise the pain… focus on him

    In depression everything becomes big but to reach the end it is only one step at a time and one step at a time in Christ’s strength is possible.. Look no further ahead than the next step.

    I feel the frailty of these words. If possible, have someone one you can physically speak to. I’m sure you know the mechanisms that help.

  4. This is a really tricky one for me David having witness the last days of my fathers life with him wanting to go and my mother saying that if she could have helped him go she would have. I won’t go into details but there was a lot of pain and suffering. On the other hand it was a time when there was peace and a closeness between my father and I and a reconciling of past issues which then at his funeral enabled my to give a eulogy, speak of him with fondness and be a comfort to everyone attending in grieving, including myself.

    So – would I have wished to impose my will on that of my mother and father if the situation were different and euthanasia would have been an option? That’s a toughie. I don’t think imposing my will is good in any situation. I think I can express what I would like but then then it is not me that has the authority over someone else’s life either for them to live or die, but God’s. So I must give that one over to God. He created life and with the principle of his determination in Christ of having to die to self for Christ’s sake in order to have life, I must trust not in my own understanding but acknowledge God and trust in his direction in this as in any other difficult situation.

  5. I struggled with this debate when my mother was in a nursing home with Parkinson Disease with Louie bode Syndrome (a firm of dementia). Eventually, weighing only 5 stone and unable to do anything for herself, she died. I had been praying for the Lord to take her and He was gracious because I was able to be there with her and read the 23rd Psalm to her a few hours before the end. I came to the conclusion that assisted dying is killing – you cannot get around that fact. My mother was not capable of killing herself – suicide is completely different. And I came to agree with you David that it is a slippery slope when we decide who should live and who should die. If life is no longer sacred and worth preserving we are diminished and no longer made in God’s image.

  6. I sometimes put up posters or cartoons on such issues on the school bulletin board (secular school) to stimulate teachers and hopefully students as well. Does anybody know any good posters on euthanasia; abortion etc that could be pinned up.

    At the moment a 2 m by 3m bulletin board is wholly devoted to transgenderism at my school unfortunately so I introduced an article from the AP magazine for my year 12 students to read. My year 9 class asked me about euthanasia a while back and I told them it is a dangerous door to open. They were shocked and surprised so I told them why….once you open the door slightly even with tight caveats and restrictions that generation dies off slowly and the next generation loosens the restrictions and opens the door slightly wider……and then within a few generations the door is wide open because people get used to it and forget why those restrictions were put there in the first place. My students then got it. It was the same for ‘gay marriage’. They all came in one day believing it and asked my opinion….I said what if Tony, John and Mary want to get married (a throuple) ….they were aghast ……that would be wrong!! Marriage is between 2 people. I said – that’s very discriminatory of you!! If 2 men can get married who are you to say 3 people can not?? Then, they understood. They replied, “Teacher, you are making us think!”. Unfortunately, less and less of more students think very much today.

  7. The irony. Western society does all it can to keep people alive, including the elderly that may otherwise die of natural causes, and vilifies if medical processes go wrong resulting in death or injury, costing millions in litigation. But if we want to die it’s ok?

    Only a century ago mortality expectations were completely different, life was harder, but even then the appetite to die in hardship was unlike today.

    But this issue is not about an appointed ‘time to die,’ rather an obsession of being in control of that time. It has to suit the subject. But therein lies the issue. If we exchange the truth for a lie (Romans 1) we are fair game for such thinking. It stems from rejecting the truth we are created, and embraces the lie we are merely an insignificant accident. The promotion of our existence being simply evolution infers that therefore our lives mean nothing. They have no purpose other than what we or society determine! It’s a lie and an afront to the God who knit each of us together, who knows our rising and sitting, which refutes that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139) If we reject God and His Kingdom, then there is no secular neutral ground, we are fair game to the principalities and powers of darkness, who will happily feed us with the idea we should simply take the easy route out of our misery, I.e. death, and avoid the redemption and salvation that is in Christ Jesus.

    Jesus Christ delivers us from all of the powers of the enemy. Including the spirit of fear, the spirit of heaviness, and any other spirit that is not of God.

  8. The imagined certainty of science and medicine is a myth. Beta-blockers worsening heart failure, and male impotence having a largely psychological cause, are two cases in point. We were taught this in the 1980’s, but how things have changed. Beta-blockers are used as a treatment in some types of heart failure and male impotence is thought to be of overwhelmingly physical cause. One thing is not a myth: we all die. Most sensible people from the age of 50 onwards see little need for euthanasia. The bus comes soon enough! The other thing is the culture shift in medicine. High quality palliative care, and patient centred medicine, have changed the landscape. Is anyone kept alive against their will these days?

    1. Yes, yes, yes… James Hardy, people are definitely kept alive against their will. I watched my poor mum suffer terribly & she said daily she wanted to die & was ready to go. Such was the pain of arthritis. She ended up in a home, so frail, unable to even move or get out of her chair. She needed help going to the toilet, with showering, dressing, undressing, needed help even lifting a cup to her mouth so she said if euthanasia had been legal she’d be getting it, that they wouldn’t let animals suffer like that, but vets would put them to sleep. Then when it was costing £600 a week in the nursing home, not wanting to use up her life savings, as it was our inheritance, mine & brother’s, then they’d want her house to pay for her care. She sat me down one day and said she’d come to a decision, that rather than spend the inheritance & the house, she was going to stop eating, would starve herself to death, wanting to “die more quickly.” And it was heartbreaking watching her fade away bit by bit, until she looking like nothing more than a skeleton. She did go on palliative care eventually, dying at just 4 stone. She looked all but dead & in a coma for the last 2 weeks. It was very, very distressing.
      Do I think there should have been euthanasia offered? Yes. Did my mum want it? Definitely. Where palliative care is wonderful, nurses and care home staff are brilliant, the person is still suffering, dying, hanging on.
      Maggie

  9. Maggie, your mum’s suffering sounds terrible and I understand your desire to relieve it but could you actually have killed your mother in that situation? Would you feel better now if you had done that?

  10. What alarms me the most regarding euthanasia is when people confidently affirm something along the lines of “Well, it would only be used in extreme, voluntary cases of untreatable pain” but without explaining what safeguards would be put in place to ensure it could only be used in those circumstances and wouldn’t be available to someone who e.g. wanted to bump off a rich uncle in order to pay off their gambling debts.

    There just seems to be a staggering naivety that everyone will basically do the right thing and nobody will deliberately look for ways to enrich themselves at someone else’s expense. For me there is no idea more dangerous than the notion that almost all humans are basically good.

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