Euthanasia Acccording To The Jewish Religion. Includes Works Cited.

3451 words - 14 pages

Euthanasia is a highly debated subject in today's society. Philosophers argue whether assisting a person's death is morally right, and whether the government should prohibit the practice. The key issues behind these arguments involve the nature of the action, and the instances in which it occurs. The range includes passive voluntary euthanasia on one end of the spectrum and active involuntary euthanasia on the other. As the law stands right now, in most states any type of euthanasia is illegal. The philosophers protest against a paternalistic government, while the government argues the right to protect the sanctity of life. However, all these issues have no depth when it comes to the Jewish view on euthanasia. According to Jewish law, a life is on loan to a person from God. To assist in someone's death, to knowingly kill someone, or to take one's own life are all contrary to Jewish law and by that regard, are not morally permissible.Euthanasia is defined as "mercy killing." Essentially, when we discuss euthanasia, we mean the act or practice of ending an individual's life in order to release him from an incurable disease, intolerable suffering, or an undignified death. This definition raises many important questions, however. From a moral standpoint, is it morally permissible to bring about the death of a terminally ill patient? Do we even have the right to a dignified death? Are we the best judges of what constitutes "intolerable suffering?" These questions are commonly debated through the breakdown of euthanasia into four distinct categories. First, non-voluntary passive euthanasia occurs when thepatient does not actually request to die; rather a trustee of some sort makes the request. In addition, no act of killing takes place, such as a gunshot or stabbing, but a patient is simply taken off life-support, or not attached to it in the first place. Essentially, the doctor "lets the patient die." The next type is called voluntary passive euthanasia. This case is similar to the first one, except that the patient, a competent agent, requests the death himself. Perhaps the least common type of euthanasia is non-voluntary active euthanasia. By "active," it means that an act of killing takes place, in most cases, a lethal injection. Again, the fact that it is non-voluntary leads us to equate this type closely to murder. Not many argue the moral status of non-voluntary active euthanasia. Finally, the most controversial type of euthanasia from a philosophical and political view is voluntary active euthanasia, or VAE, for short. This is a situation where a patient does not want to continue living and asks someone, usually a doctor, to take his life. This type differs from physician-assisted suicide, in that the doctor actually commits the final act, and not the patient. Generally, this issue is debated in terms of whether or not it is morally permissible for a lethal injection to be administered to a terminally ill patient.When we look at the issue of...

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