Monday, May 16, 2011

Life without transcendence

Zurich voters have voted to keep profiting from suicide tourism:
(AP) ZURICH - Voters in the Swiss canton (or state) of Zurich have overwhelmingly rejected calls to ban assisted suicide or to outlaw the practice for nonresidents.

Zurich's cantonal voters overwhelmingly rejected both measures Sunday that had been pushed by political and religious conservatives.

Out of more than 278,000 ballots cast, the initiative to ban assisted suicide was rejected by 85 percent of voters and the initiative to outlaw it for foreigners was turned down by 78 percent, according to Zurich authorities.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, provided the helper doesn't personally benefit from a patient's death. About 200 people a year commit suicide in Zurich.

I first saw this article at a news site which allows comments, and the comments were overwhelmingly in favor of suicide for the terminally ill, the elderly, the handicapped, and anyone else who no longer enjoys "quality of life," which is apparently defined by the ability to maintain a trendy home, dash off on destination vacations, work long hours for the right sort of people, and shop for cool toys and couture fashion at America's most religiously-attended structures, otherwise known as shopping centers, malls, strip malls, or misleadingly named "town squares" (and this is off-topic, but the couple of times I've had the misfortune of actually setting foot in that place linked to I have honestly felt like the whole thing is frighteningly unreal in a rather evil way; but then, I'm a writer, and thus prone to fits of imagination). Anyone who is not capable of these things by age or infirmity or physical condition no longer has any reason to live--well, except, possibly, for Stephen Hawking, but at least he has the right sort of socially acceptable ideas about God and Heaven, because heaven forbid anyone should actually embrace physical limitations in a redemptive and sacrificial way, or anything.

We have become a people without hope, living a life without transcendence. Nowhere is this more truly reflected than in the callous ugliness displayed toward the unborn, the elderly, the infirm, and the handicapped. Society strongly believes, for example, that Down Syndrome babies are better off dead than ever being born; here on this blog a commenter displayed the eugenic belief that even if anencephalic babies are allowed to be born they aren't really people (and, presumably, we could dispose of them if they didn't die quickly enough, though we didn't get into that particular corollary); and thus it's no surprise to see commenter after commenter on the Zurich-suicide tourism story applauding Zurich for their enlightened move away from the superstitious religious belief that it's somehow distasteful or not quite--quite to off Granny while she's still somewhat functional rather than wait for her natural death to occur, and have to put up with all of her embarrassing symptoms of decline and her accompanying needs for assistance. Let's face it: assisted suicide is lots, lots easier than having to give up some of your own precious shopping, working, vacation time to help an old woman with her daily hygiene and the medicine regimen that keeps her pain at a distance and her symptoms from distressing her, right? Why should the young and strong and healthy and bright have to help the old and weak and suffering? Assisted living requires sacrifice; assisted suicide means you can even plan the funeral for the most convenient time for those family members still unenlightened enough to think that some sort of prayer ritual is required for the waste disposal of human remains.

Of course, the proponents of offing inconvenient relatives never think of it that way. They think they are really concerned about the suffering of the person who can't participate in any of life's meaningful consumer activities anymore. They compare the situation to that of an animal: why, we don't let cats or dogs suffer at the end of their lives, so why should Grandpa have to? A more human age saw Grandpa as fundamentally different from a cat or a dog, and thought of human life as intrinsically worthy of respect, but today's people are agreed that only superstitious religious types think there is an afterlife--and if Grandpa is nothing but a chunk of living carbon occupying space, it's much better to speed him along his inevitable journey than to worry about what some hypothetical God who is alleged to have made man in His image and likeness thinks about murder dressed up as compassion. Once Grandpa couldn't golf anymore, or take Grandma to Miami Beach, or continue to dabble in the stock market, then Grandpa became no more worthy of respect or dignity than the family dog--and if truth is told, fewer tears will be shed when Grandpa's plug gets pulled than when Rusty had to be put down after thousands of dollars of dog-cancer treatment failed; Rusty was sort of nice to have around, but Grandpa was difficult, and cranky, and inclined to think he knew everything simply because he was older and had lived through more than his children had.

But there is a danger in a societal belief that life has no transcendent meaning, and it's a danger that has been seen in the last century time and time again. A society begins by agreeing that the old, the infirm, the handicapped aren't really enjoying any quality of life and should be killed as quickly, quietly and conveniently as possible and ends by marching all sorts of people, even the young and able-bodied, into the ovens. If God is not the only authority on when life should end, that authority soon gets passed along to an apathetic committee of an atheistic government who starts to put cost-benefit values on everybody, and sees no one's life as intrinsically worthy of living or respecting.

I think we're well along our way to becoming that sort of society, a society where "Life without transcendence!" begins as a rallying cry against religion and ends as a epitaph for a once-great people. Convinced that life means nothing, that we mean nothing, that the universe means nothing, and that existence is nothing but an evolutionary joke at our expense, there soon becomes no reason not to embrace the most shallow of existences, to fill the dreaded hours with busy work and busy play and busy shopping and busy entertainment, and to avoid all thought of the shuddering horror of the abyss of ceasing to be by demanding that we eradicate pain and suffering by eradicating the pain-ridden and the sufferer--so we won't have to think about them, or about the oblivion beyond, at all.

Some of us, of course, reject that nihilistic view of life, and are capable of praying for the grace of a happy death--one which, even if it includes suffering, also includes the grace of the sacraments and the fervent prayers of those who love us for our salvation and our entry into eternal life. The consequences of our beliefs, though, is that we also believe that it matters how we live--that we are not simply to indulge our every desire, lust, passion, gluttony or greed so long as we live, and put ourselves out of our misery when we can no longer do so. The world can't even fathom such a notion--what, are we to avoid doing whatever the Hell we want with our lives, since only the Hell of oblivion awaits? Unable to fathom a real choice between a Hell which will not involve oblivion at all and a Heaven that will surpass our earthly longings in a way we can't even imagine, the children of this age clamor for assisted suicide the same way they clamored for sex without consequences, for abortion, for greed, and for every other noxious thing. Because if nothing but oblivion awaits, why shouldn't they get to pull the plug on Grandma and Grandpa--and then look forward to the day when their grandchildren will pull the plug on them?

32 comments:

John E. said...

here on this blog a commenter displayed the eugenic belief that even if anencephalic babies are allowed to be born they aren't really people (and, presumably, we could dispose of them if they didn't die quickly enough, though we didn't get into that particular corollary);

Actually, I did get into that particular corollary, but the blog software mysteriously deleted it.

In fact, it seems to have deleted the entire anencephalic baby discussion.

Moving on...

I notice the entire thrust of your argument seems to suggest that some 'others' are forcing these people to end their lives - children, society - and not addressing the more likely possibility that folks may have rationally added up the relative pleasures and relatives pains of their quality of life and made their own decision as an autonomous individual to end their life.

I'm not sure why you have chosen to frame the discussion in this way, but it isn't altogether honest to pretend that none of these people are making the decision to end their lives for reasons that seem good and sufficient to them.

I'm also not sure why you have taken a random swipe at Stephen Hawking, who seems to have come to terms with his physical disabilities in a rational and forthright way.

Red Cardigan said...

I brought up Hawkins because he was in the news for declaring that Heaven is a fairy tale stupid people tell themselves when they are scared of the dark, essentially.

And yes, I didn't frame the issue in terms of people wanting to end their own lives. That is because I believe that suicidal people are mentally ill. It is the most charitable belief; otherwise one would have to call them the selfish, cold, unfeeling beings they are.

John E. said...

It is the most charitable belief; otherwise one would have to call them the selfish, cold, unfeeling beings they are.

Really?

Someone who could take a look at their own life and say that they would rather not live because of X, Y, and Z and then acts on that decision must necessarily be selfish, cold and unfeeling?

I don't see why that necessarily has to be the case.

Also, I don't see why thinking someone is mentally ill is more charitable than thinking that they probably thought they had a good reason.

Red Cardigan said...

John E., have you ever met people who have lost a loved one to suicide? I have. Cold, unfeeling and selfish doesn't begin to cut it. Believing them to be too mentally ill to realize the absolute hell they're about to put everyone they love through is the kinder option.

Oh, you say, but that will all change when Aunt Clara writes out her assisted suicide plan, invites her relatives to talk about it all, tells them her life just isn't worth living and angrily shuts down anyone who disagrees, and then leaves them, especially the ones who love her the most and don't want to lose her, to the pain and horror of knowing exactly when and how she is going to kill herself--with a nice doctor's help, of course--with no way to even try to talk her out of it. And that will fix everything, and suicide is suddenly no longer a hellishly selfish thing to do, right?

Kevin O'Brien said...

The defense of suicide is more horrible than the act itself in some ways. It's one thing to sin, even to sin so gravely as to seek the grave. It's another thing to exalt such behavior as somehow good or even noble. This is utterly sick.

Most suicides are people engulfed in despair or mental illness and perhaps not culpable for committing the worst of all sins. But defenders of the worst of all sins are the worst of all cowards and prigs.

St. Paul said those who condone and approve of sin are worse than those who sin, and are likewise deserving of death. But when we seek death and embrace his rotting ribs, such a condemnation carries little weight. Worthy of death? Bring it on, baby! This is the Culture of Death and like a bacterial culture it has grown quite toxic.

John E. said...

Some people really do have bad life situations.

It is all very well to say that you'd miss them if they killed themselves - but that isn't a reason why they shouldn't kill themselves if they think their lives aren't worth living.

You'd have it be the case that someone suffers unendurable pain just because you'd miss them if they killed themselves?

That sound pretty darned selfish to me. "Aunt Clara, I know you are in agony every day, but you can't take steps to end it because I'd miss you if you were gone."

Shorter response: Aunt Clara's suicide really isn't all about you.

Red Cardigan said...

Kevin, you're absolutely right. At the other end of the life spectrum, we see these hopeless cultures, our own included, facing demographic winter as the selfish decide there's really no need to clutter up one's life with children; it's not like life really *matters,* after all.

John E., if no man is an island, than Aunt Clara isn't either. If she's in pain, then the mantra should be: kill the pain, not the patient. As Kevin suggests, a person ending his or her life because of pain or fear is probably not culpable. The people who coldly argue that life is so meaningless and worthless that we should all have the legal right to off ourselves whenever we like, and force doctors and other medical professionals to stand by to make sure we don't screw the whole termination process up, is just evil.

But I'm beginning to think you don't have any real notion of that concept, anyway.

Geoff G. said...

I was a bit mystified by some of the assumptions of this piece.

"Pulling the plug" isn't assisted suicide, first of all. In fact, it's arguably a great deal more natural than not pulling the plug. One might well argue that all of the life-extending technology that can keep people floating in a nether world between life and death is an affront both to God and nature, that it is a rejection of the fundamental truth that we all must meet our end.

Second, "assisted suicide" isn't the same as the kids packing their inconveniently elderly parents off to the Happy-Tyme Never-Wake Emporium™. The "sui" in suicide implies that it is an act performed by oneself on oneself. Kids sending elderly relatives off to be shuffled off this mortal coil has a quite different term: "murder." Pray do not confuse the two.

Personally, I find both assisted suicide and murder, as described above, to both be repugnant acts. However, we must recognize a limitation here with respect to the law: while murderers can and most emphatically should be punished, those who commit suicide are, by definition, a bit beyond the reach of the law. And those who attempt it and fail are perhaps not so much to be punished as pitied and cared for. And so, perhaps the law is not the appropriate tool to be used to regulate it.

Pulling the plug, that is, ceasing to provide external support to a body that can no longer support itself, is quite another matter. You really can't separate out a "culture of life" from a "culture of death." The two are inextricably bound up together, with the latter the culmination of the former. How else could it be?

Denial of death in its proper time and place is just as repugnant as the denial of life expressed above. It is surely not divine wisdom but rather human hubris that would claim technological power over death itself.

Geoff G. said...

Really, Erin, this constant need to glorify the bearing of children is not terribly orthodox. It's a laudable thing, but the Catechism speaks of it being one among many potentially laudable ways of living.

Paul seems to regard marriage as a sort of second best arrangement for those who could not live chastely. And Catholicism has long upheld those leading a chaste life (priests and religious mostly) as following the better, if harder, path.

"But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I."

Red Cardigan said...

Geoff, you're right in that "pulling the plug" is an easily misunderstood phrase. It's also the one most connected with this debate. I'd like to use a more accurate one, but "Standing by while Dr. Deadly shoots up Gran with a lethal dose of something" is a mouthful. Maybe somebody has a better phrase?

Oh--and I don't constantly glorify the bearing of children, as you know quite well (hint: this is not a mommy blog). But there's a difference between some people embracing chastity unselfishly and heroically for the good of others, and people not living chastely at all but using artificial means to avoid children so they can take more vacations, etc. And there's a further difference that takes place when a people no longer has a philosophy or any dreams that make them think continuing their own family (let alone the families of various nations) is a worthwhile pursuit.

Take Switzerland (since we're talking about a law in Zurich, after all). The birth rate among native Swiss is down to about 1.2 children. According to scholars that translates to total extinction of the Swiss in about 200 years, barring any dramatic changes.

I find a connection between the hopelessness of people who don't bother to reproduce and the hopelessness of people who don't think life is worth living if it becomes at all uncomfortable. That connection is a lack of any idea of transcendence or the intrinsic worth of human life.

John E. said...

The people who coldly argue that life is so meaningless and worthless...

Actually, I'm arguing in favor of personal autonomy - that an individual is the proper person to determine the value of his own life and whether or not to continue it.

Anonymous said...

A purely mortal, non-transcendent human life is not at all intrinsically meaningless and worthless as Erin declares them to be. Those who view their lives as purely earthly and non-transcendent overwhelmingly find them to be very meaningful, worthwhile, and quite precious.

Of course, Erin is perfectly within her rights to declare those lives to be, from her outside view of them, meaningless and intrinsically worthless if those who lead such lives don't share her transcendent beliefs, but this is only casual personal bigotry, like believing the lives of black people to be worth less than the lives of white people. In almost all cases the black people will also heartily disagree.

Lynn

Patrick said...

"...the comments were overwhelmingly in favor of suicide for the terminally ill, the elderly, the handicapped, and anyone else who no longer enjoys "quality of life..."

Bunch of Nazi collaborators. Let's pray for a revitalization of the Faith in Europe.

Red; some people kill themselves in despair. It's selfish, yes; but would you say despair is mental illness or a consequence of Original Sin?

John E. said...

but would you say despair is mental illness or a consequence of Original Sin?

As I understand the theology, isn't mental illness itself a consequence of Original Sin?

Chris-2-4 said...

John E: "Actually, I'm arguing in favor of personal autonomy - that an individual is the proper person to determine the value of his own life and whether or not to continue it."

Do just old/sick people deserve this personal autonomy or do young people (those struggling with acceptance; "nerds", "outcasts", those struggling with same-sex attraction,etc) also have your blessing to continue or discontinue life as they see fit?

As far as laws go, how can you make an argument based on personal autonomy that would not also allow the vast majority of suicide victims your blessing to kill the entire world to themselves?

John E. said...

Chris-2-4, it isn't a matter of deserving personal autonomy - it is a matter of having personal autonomy.

Which people do, young and old.

As far as laws go, how can you make an argument based on personal autonomy that would not also allow the vast majority of suicide victims your blessing to kill the entire world to themselves?

I'm sure this sentence made sense to you when you wrote it, but I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

Chris-2-4 said...

It made sense when I wrote it and still does. If it doesn't make sense to you, perhaps you haven't thought about this issue as much as you seem to think you have.

Chris-2-4 said...

So, you're actually saying that it's not just elderly/sick/dying folks who should have this legal right to commit suicide? (Including the inherently associated right to have society respect their decision)

That all "people...young and old" should have this right and society's acceptance?

John E. said...

Chris, if you are asking, "if people can kill themselves, why can't they kill the whole world," then my response is that people only have autonomy over themselves, not over everyone else in the world.

All people, young and old do have this right. I don't say that 'society' must accept anything, however...

Chris-2-4 said...

"Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world." ~Chesterton

"All people, young and old do have this right. I don't say that 'society' must accept anything, however"

Bull. If you say something should be legal, you imply that society ought to accept/respect an individual making such a choice.

John E. said...

Not at all - there are a number of things that are legal, but which society is not compelled to accept or respect.

As for Chesterton, well that's nice prose, but that's about it...specifically:

The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.

The rest of us really aren't wiped out - the world continues to exist.

eulogos said...

Actually, we are not autonomous. We do not give the law to ourselves.(which is what that word means.) Or if we are, then we are saying with Satan, "Non serviam."

God is the Lord of Life and of Death, and this is up to him, not to us. This is why suicide is wrong. It is also why assisted suicide is wrong, although that also leads down the slippery slope to assisting people to die who really don't want to. But whether they do or not, it isn't up to them, but to God.

Since we humans have developed all kinds of abilities to sustain life, there are issues of deciding when death is coming anyway and a person has a right to stop fighting it, which is not the same as hastening it.

I am not sure how you can convince people who do not believe there is a God who created us, that they do not have a right to choose to die when they find their lives too difficult or painful. The only thing I would say to them is that once you make it legally acceptable for a person to help another to die, this will be abused by individuals, and eventually by governments. They may believe they can erect legal safeguards against this, but I think they are mistaken.

If such people cannot see that a place where a lot of people go to kill themselves however neatly is, well, creepy, I don't know how to show that to them. The funny things is that we who know that there is something better beyond this life, still value this life more than those for whom this is all there is. Or, perhaps we value it for something more than for the pleasures and satisfactions it gives us, so that we do not cease to value it when those fail us. I think we value it because it comes to us from God's hands and every moment of it, even those when we are in pain, or unconscious, can be lived with grace, united with Christ, as a moment of redemption. When we are helpless and unconscious we are an occasion for the love of others and a moment of grace for them, if they accept it. This I learned while taking care of people in the kinds of situations which make some people say it would be better to die.
Susan Peterson

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Taking Eulogos at face value, all medical practice is a sin, because it interferes with God's judgement as to when to give life and when to give death.

Once we accept any interference at all, we are already on a slipper slope. After all, it has been natural for 10,000 years that people die of smallpox, natural for hundreds of thousands that people die of malaria, and that the primary defense against malaria is the cold numbers:

1 of every four children die of malaria
1 of every four children die of sickle-cell anemia
2 of every four children have mixed genes and live

Getting back to the realities of human life, appreciating that I was vaccinated for smallpox, polio, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hep B... I have no interest in being kept alive when I have lost my mind.

There are reasons to be skeptical of assisted suicide. There are economic factors that may exert pressure on such decisions, and ways to misuse them. I don't condemn those in extreme terminal pain, or losing their minds, who choose to end lives already prolonged well beyond what was "natural" for us.

But, I prefer pulling the plug -- that artificial means and invasive surgery not be applied to people who have permanently lost the ability to give informed consent. It is better to let nature take its course at that point.

I would also let nature take its course with anancephalic babies. No euthenasia, but no antibiotics, not heart surgery, no transplants... no brain, no human, no matter how cute they may look.

miliukov said...

As always, Siarlys is correct

Chris-2-4 said...

Given the above comment, I feel someone should balance it out...

I find Siarlys' comments to be highly offensive and note that Siarlys seems to be growing more and more comfortable here to say things which are more and more monstrous by the day. Siarlys passed the point of "respectfully disagreeing protestant" commentary long ago and is professing more and more diabolical opinions.

eulogos said...

I don't believe my post implies that we should not accept medical treatment. In fact we have a duty to accept medical treatment to preserve or restore our health so long as that treatment is not unduly burdensome. Medical treatment works with God, not against Him. God's will certainly can not be simply equated with the blind working of biological nature. He also helps those who discover cures and guides the hands of surgeons.

We can refuse medical care which is extraordinary or unduly burdensome. However we cannot refuse medical care because our lives or our conditions are too burdensome themselves. The fact that we might not have lived to have Alzheimers if we had starved to death or been killed by epidemic disease, is really no justification to refuse to suffer with Alzheimers. God after all knew from all eternity whether starvation or Alzheimers was the death we would face. I don't know what Siarly's believes but if he/she believes he will face God one day, doesn't he think God will ask him why he refused the assigned task?

(On the other hand I don't think we have to make things worse for those with Alzheimers by calling them back from the typical death from Alzheimers when the brain centers which produce hunger and thirst cease to work and the person stops eating and drinking. My experience as a nurse tells me that starting tube feeding in this circumstance is unduly burdensome treatment and for various reasons "fails to achieve the desired finality". But perhaps this is a different discussion.)

Siarlys here is expressing as far as I can tell a completely secular point of view, not a Protestant one. I think it is unhelpful to the discussion to call it Satanic. I believe that the attitude he professes is contrary to God's will and also that it can lead to great evil, but I don't think he or she is aware of that and that he/she believes he is being both rationale, and compassionate to those suffering. Those who believe I am wrong about tube feeding in Alzheimers could also call me Satanic, but it would not help me to see their point of view.

Susan Peterson

Chris-2-4 said...

It is unhelpful to the discussion to let diabolical statements go undenounced, regardless of any supposed innocent intentions behind them.

Especially so, when I note that Siarlys:
a)continues to grow more and more emboldened espousing unchristian behavior,

and

b)triggers a curious number of replies of the "Siarlys is always right" variety.

Red Cardigan said...

Chris, I have a default setting that says: never blame the devil for human idiocy and the human capacity for evil.

Siarlys gets the "you're so right" comments from a handful of anti-Christians who show up here from other blogs. Don't worry: I know where they're coming from and what their agendas are. That said, my comments policy is generous, and so long as they're not being abusive or violating the policy I tend to leave such comments alone, at least in part because they tend to get bored and leave if they don't get the shock and awe they're after.

I do appreciate your view, Chris, but remember: to come here they have to come to a web page with an image of the Eucharist, a prayer of spiritual communion, an image of St. Michael the Archangel, and a prayer for his intercession in Latin and English. Those things are on the sidebar for a reason. :)

Chris-2-4 said...

Well, thanks for sharing that. Just a couple final thoughts. First, I didn't ever mean to imply that Siarlys was satanic. Only that some of his statements were trending more and more towards evil.

Siarlys' final thought appearing to me to espouse an actual evil and being immediately and completely affirmed, I simply felt the need to balance that out. I knew that Siarlys comments here often, I didn't realize though, that everyone "had his number" so to speak.

MightyMighty said...

I would like to see a post that discusses end-of-life care. My grandmother has dementia and has pretty much checked out. She requires care for all of her hygiene, eating, dressing, walking, meds, etc. She is as close to a vegetative as one can be without actually being in a coma. I look at this, and how it takes three children and four of 12 grandchildren, plus hired help 6 days a week, and I just wonder how this is supposed to really work out for normal families. It is stunningly exhausting. And no, we're not selfish. We're all open to children, church-attending, working moms, and I just don't know how smaller families would handle this, because slapping someone in a neglectful nursing home, as most of them are--at least emotionally, is not a good choice for the elderly person. But in-home care is expensive and exhausting, even for a somewhat large family with money to pay for the care. Thank God my grandfather is still sharp as a tack and can direct a lot of his wife's care.

If my grandmother got a serious infection, that we could possibly fight off with extremely heavy antibiotics and palliatives, I don't know that I would, especially if said infection would otherwise take her quickly and her suffering could be soothed. Is that a sin? Does that mean I'm missing the point in the redemptive suffering?

If I were in her place, I would absolutely want my family to limit medical care to the basics required by the church, and let me go if it could happen on its own.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Well, let me start with MightyMighty, because she is, as far as I can tell, a devout Roman Catholic, and sincerely pro-life, and I find a valid point here. There is no way I can say how her family should handle her grandmother's care. I can say that within certain broad legal limits, the family should be able to work that out without undue dictation. I don't suggest that church teaching is dictation, because the family clearly embraces it.

We all agree that it is not OK to kill grandma. Even if it was OK to help grandma carry out a voluntary decision to end her own life -- a matter quite fervently in dispute -- it is not OK for someone else to kill her. I affirm, in case it is in doubt, that MightyMighty never intimated such a measure either.

I would agree with Eulogos that if grandma can neither eat, nor has a desire for food, then perhaps it is best to let her go. I recall a family I used to know (Seventh Day Adventists, if it matters) who had a 105 year old mother. Mom was totally bedridden, one daughter lived with her and cared for her, the other came by often to help. Mom started to refuse food. One daughter talked about putting her on I.V. Soon after, mom died. I attended the funeral. After the funeral, one of the daughters said her mother had told her "If the good Lord takes me, I'm ready to go." At that point, I said that I had thought, when her mother started refusing food, that it might mean exactly that. There is a time to let go.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Now, moving on to Chris. I am certainly not going away, unless Erin tells me to be gone. This is, in a cyber sense, her own living room, and she has every right to choose her guests.

I am here because I genuinely enjoy these discussions, and because it is always good to test what I truly believe against the points made by others, who truly believe quite differently. It is nice that some people approve, but I don't learn anything from people who cheer my words. I learn from those who challenge my words. I do believe that those who agree with me appreciate that I offer something more thoughtful than the rabid pseudo-liberal reflexes that are so easy for you to lampoon.

For any of us to exist in a mutual appreciation society, oblivious to other, equally sincere, viewpoints, is delusional.

Chris, I don't know what your definition of "respectfully disagreeing Protestant" is. You don't provide one. Perhaps in your eyes, it is akin to the place of a respectful Christian in an Islamic Republic.

I infer that you do not object to my statement that there are reasons to be skeptical of assisted suicide.

I'm not sure you could show me how the teachings of your own church forbid pulling the plug -- more than one devout and obedient Roman Catholic at this very site have supported that. I have heard that Roman Catholic hospitals vigorously assert that they no longer interfere with family desires to withhold invasive treatment.

You may object to my statement that a baby born without a brain is not human. However, I have not said its OK to kill it. I have said, it is OK to withhold majory surgical treatment, letting God and nature take their course.

So what exactly IS it that you find extremely offensive?

I freely admit, when it comes to assertions of the authority of your church, I deny it. If I did not, it would obviously be my duty to submit, in the same language Eulogos has eloquently presented here some time back. But if I did, I would be lying, just as I would be lying if I accepted the right hand of fellowship at a Lutheran Church I often visit.

Eulogos, I am quite certain that you did not say that medical treatment is contrary to the will of God. I was exploring what seems to me the consistent logic of your previous statement. I knew I took it to conclusions that you did not intend. We both agree that medical care is appropriate and beneficial. Oh, as I've had to clarify before, Siarlys is a male name in Welsh, not a female name.