Moral and Religious Differences Between Euthanasia and Suicide
The word euthanasia can be traced back to two Greek words, 'eu'
meaning well and 'thentos' meaning death. Together they mean painless
"Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of one whose
life is deemed not worth living" David Atkinson and David Field, New
dictionary of Christian ethics and pastoral theology.
Euthanasia can be split into four categories,
Voluntary Euthanasia is the action taken at the request of an
individual who whishes to die who is incapable of doing so, or the
individual is such a case that he/she cannot request help to die but
has left instructions to do so.
Involuntary euthanasia takes place when an individual is killed to
stop and suffering. In this case of euthanasia the individual is not
asked about being killed even though the person is in a position to do
The third type of euthanasia which is non-voluntary is the killing of
someone who is not in a position to ask to die or live as for example
the individual is in a coma, he/she cannot say or be asked whether the
individual wants to live or not.
Euthanasia can be taken further and split into two more types, passive
and active. Active euthanasia is to end a life, for example by
administrating a lethal injection; passive euthanasia is the
termination of an individual's treatment.
Finally euthanasia can also be described as self administrated
euthanasia, which is to take ones life at their own accord, also known
Suicide is an alternative to death at the hands of someone else or is
committed for personal motives, but depending on specific times and
places it can be seen as heroic i.e. protecting the president or
condemned by religious authorities. Suicide can be performed out of
loyalty to a dead person or master or to escape punishment or
execution. The problem of suicide can be approached from two different
angles, sociologically, which stresses social pressure on people to
commit suicide and the psychoanalytic, which centers on the guilt and
anxiety of people.
Both suicide and euthanasia point out that death is preferable to the
suffering which would be sustained of continuing life...