Euthanasia and Religion
Some people believe human life is to respect above all other forms of
life whilst others believe that all life (both human and non-human
species) is to be given equal respect and treated as 'sacred'
Most religions believe humans are special. For instance, they teach
that we have a soul (a part of us that lives on after death), and that
we have been given an opportunity to have a relationship with God.
Some religions, such as Judaism and Christianity, also teach that
humans have been created in 'God's image'. This means that humans have
certain qualities and characteristics that God has (E.g. They can make
things, they have the ability to reason things, they were created
good). It is also believed that humans have been given a
responsibility to look after the world God created.
The following passages from the Bible illustrate the special nature of
'Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and
let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over
the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that
move on the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image
of God he created him; male and female he created them' (Genesis
'... What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you
care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and
crowned him with glory and honour. You made him ruler over the works
of your hands; you put everything under his feet.' (Psalm 8:4-6)
Christians also believe God values human life greatly as they believe
Jesus came to die to heal the broken relationship between God and
In other religions the sanctity of life is also taught. Hindus believe
that every living thing has the divine soul (atman) in it. Thus all
living things are to be respected. As a result of this many Hindus
promote ahimsa (non-violence) towards all living things (both human
and non-human species) and as such would condemn war and may choose
not to eat meat. A similar idea can be seen in Buddhism where one of
the Five Precepts (moral codes), says that life should not be harmed.
Once again, this means that Buddhists, like Hindus, would want to
condemn war and would probably be vegetarian. Both Hinduism and
Buddhism are Indian religions. Another Indian religion, Jainism, has
such a respect for life that its followers often place a handkerchief
over their nose and mouth so that they do not breath in...