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Mercy Killing and Assisted Suiced


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Sohagani asks about Mercy Killling and Assisted Suicide:

Let's define the two term as follows:

Assisted Suicide - assisting in death with the consent/request of one who does not have the means to take their own life. (ex. terminal illness, paralysis)

Mercy Killing - Taking the life of a person, who can not consent to suicide, as an act of mercy. (ex. coma)

1) Is there a difference between mercy killing and assisted suicide? Why?

2) Should mercy killing/assisted suicide be legal? What impact would a Yes or No decision have on religion and society?

3) What is Sikhi's view on both these issues?

4) What are the views of other major religions on these issues?

5) What is your personal view on the issue? What do you believe is right or wrong?

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Either action will be difficult to take without the understanding of Hukam. One will always second guess his decision and it is not something that one can take back.

To Truely feel 100% right about the decision of either Mercy killing or assisted suicide one has to feel it right in his heart and mind without a doubt. It is obvious that Suffering is worse than Death. It is like hanging from your neck not dying, but struggling. If there is no hope of that person recovering then why hold him back, release the soul from the cage so a new one can be attained by him/her. Set him free from the bonds of this birth. But then one has to ask, is this what God wants. Am I going against his Hukam.

Perhaps he/she is meant to suffer thru his karma but then do then what good are our hands our free choice to act if we cannot provide comfort for other. Even if it means releasing them from their pain with Mercy killing. Does Compassion take you this far that you rid the other from his/her pain by death?

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ooh... interesting questions. im currently writing up a research project into what the law has to say about assisted suicide and whether it should be legalised in the UK. ( I wont bore you with too much law though so don’t worry) but for years and years the law in the UK has completely rejected any arguments for allowing people to assist the death of others and it seems to be because they want to uphold the fact that life has an inherent value

Morally I don’t really think there’s much difference between the 2 acts (my own opinion is that they’re both wrong), apart from the fact that at least with assisted suicide the individual has requested, so you know that person wants to die.

Generally I would think most religions are opposed to both of these as they involve the taking of life. Religious beliefs tend to hold that life has an intrinsic value which should be protected…it is a gift from God therefore it is sacred. There is also the argument that God gave life and God takes life, we shouldn’t intervene. As pheena says…maybe we should start accepting that everything in life happens as part of His hukam.

However, the terminally ill patient may hold a very different perspective. Ultimately the majority of people who request assisted suicide do so as a last attempt to exercise control over their lives and to retain dignity (so it is argued). Imagine you suffer from a disease which leaves u completely paralysed, unable to communicate, unable to feed yourself, unable to do anything by yourself. You spend each and every day watching people wash you, clothe you, feed you (if that’s possible) there are terminally ill patients who cant even do that much. To them this is undignified and unbearable life to live and that’s why they want to die. ultimately the attitude is…its my life, if I want to die I should have that right to do what I want with my life. If I want to die the law should provide me access to someone who will assist my death. (I don’t really think this is compatible with the idea of accepting hukam)

The impact of assisted suicide becoming legalised…here are a few things to think about:

·If you allow assisted suicide today, who is to say that it won’t lead to involuntary euthanasia taking place, where the patient/individual has absolutely no say (same as murder)

·Assisted suicide justifies killing and hence lowers the moral standards of society.

·If you legalise assisted suicide, there are good chances that the vulnerable will be abused by the process. The effect would be to pressurise people into believing that it’s the best option for all…if you die at least you wont be a burden on family, friends society (ie. Taxes paying for bed and treatment in hospital through the national health service)

·The only way assisted suicide could become legal would be to get doctors assisting patients…would it be right to oblige a doctor to assist his patient to die…even if it was against his own personal beliefs? I don’t think it would be but its definitely a question that has to be addressed if legalisation is being considered.

Secular society would tend to agree with the proposition that if someone wants to die that is his or her choice.

Ultimately we can say this is right and this is wrong, but until we’re in the position where we have to make such decisions for real…we wont really understand the debate. But I personally agree with Pheena…that whatever pain and suffering we endure in this life is all His hukam…and accepting that is a very difficult thing. In my opinion legalising assisted suicide would encourage people to take the easy way out and therefore incompatible with my interpretation of religious values.

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  • 5 months later...

Q125. What is the Sikh attitude to mercy-killing?

from: "Introduction to Sikhism", author: G.S. Mansukhani

Today there is a lot of pressure on politicians to legalize mercy-killing. In certain countries, mercy killing of patients suffering from incurable diseases or termnal illness has been regulated by law. It is left either to the discretion of the physician or the patient. Recently a new Society named "EXIT" has been started in Great Britain, which supports the right of the individual to die with dignity and its literature contains some instructions for those who desire a painless suicide. The tendency towards the death- wish is fostered by present-day tensions and the conflicts of our competitive society. Mental illness is on the increase, and some people, in a fit of depression, may welcome death as a relief from the torture of living.

What is the Sikh view on this important subject of Euthanasia or mercy-killing? Is it right to end a life on account of the pain and agony faced by the patient? Is the physician under a duty to end life, when the terminally ill patient asks for relief in death? The Gurus regarded suffering as a result of man's Karma. Man must have the moral courage to bear his suffering without lament. He should pray for the grace of God to enable him to put up with pain in a spirit of resignation and surrender.

There is no place for mercy-killing in Sikhism. The Gurus tackled the problem of sickness and suffering by providing medical relief and alleviation of pain. Guru Arjan built a leprosarium at Tarn-Taran. Guru Har Rai established a hospital at Kiratpur. It is reported that he supplied a rare herb to emperor Jahangir for the serious illness of his son. After all suffering is a part of the human condition and has a place in God's scheme. Suffering also prompts man to turn his thoughts to God; "Suffering is a medicine; happiness is a disease."

The Gurus rejected suicide, as it is an interference in God's plan. Many Sikhs faced torture and ultimate death at the hands of tyrant rulers and fanatic leaders, though they could have found relief through suicide. Birth and death are the prerogatives of God and under His command, and it is no business of man to oppose the Divine Will.

Recently, the Pope condemned mercy-killing and suicide as opposed to God's will and declared it a crime of the utmost gravity. It is the duty of the State and society to alleviate the suffering of citizens by medicine, surgery or psychological treatment. Even the expert physician has no right as such to end life. If he cannot cure or heal, he should not destroy life.

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http://www.depressionindiaonline.com/main/...nd_suicide1.asp

Suicide - The Sikh view:

Sikh moral thinking:

Sikhs derive their ethics largely from the teachings of their scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, and the Sikh Code of Conduct (the Rehat Maryada).

Guidance also comes from the example set by the gurus, and from the experience of the Sikh community over the last 500 years.

Suicide:

Sikhs have a high respect for life which they see as a gift from God. Most Sikhs are against suicide, as they believe that the timing of birth and death should be left in God's hands.

The Sikh Gurus rejected suicide, as it is an interference in God's plan.

Many Sikhs faced torture and ultimate death at the hands of tyrant rulers and fanatic leaders, though they could have found relief through suicide.

Suffering, they said, was part of the operation of karma, and human beings should not only accept it without complaint but act so as to make the best of the situation that karma has given them.

The Gurus regarded that man must have the moral courage to bear his suffering without lament.

He should pray for the grace of God to enable him to put up with pain in a spirit of resignation and surrender.

Birth and death are the prerogatives of God and under His command, and it is no business of man to oppose the Divine Will.

Care for others:

Much of Sikh moral teaching is devoted to caring for others who are less fortunate.

This suggests that the Sikh reaction to situations where people think about suicide would be to provide such good care that suicide becomes an unattractive option.

Conclusion:

The Gurus rejected suicide, as we do not have the right to give or take life. Birth and death are the mercy of our dear creator.

Sikhism (as already said) believes that life is a gift from God, but it also teaches that we have a duty to use life in a responsible way.

Thus, it is amply clear that there is no place for suicide in Sikhism. After all suffering is a part of the human condition and has a place in God's scheme. Suffering also prompts man to turn his thoughts to God.

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