Note: This posting uses the Biblical Essay titled, The Value and Dignity of Human Life, by Chee-Chiew Lee, as she has made a reasonable attempt at summarizing what the Bible says about the worth of persons.
The idea of a meaningful or worthwhile life has become an important consideration in medical decisions. When a patient has a severe head injury or stroke, it is not uncommon to hear, as part of decision making, “he/she will never return to a meaningful life.” Even if such decision making is legitimate, it is fraught with difficulty because people often think differently about what is meaningful. … Read the rest
Near the end of life it is common be told not to worry about feeding and even to stop feeding, suggesting it will only prolong their life. Although I do not advocate feeding near the end of life in all circumstances, I propose stopping feeding because feeding will prolong life is not in keeping with a Christian world view. Why do I say this?
Length of life, according to the Bible, is determined by God. The Lord God gives us life, sustains life and takes away life. … Read the rest
An odd connection? Why connect the desire to live forever with actively ending life? Consider the follow passage from a book titled, The View From A Hearse: A Christian View of Death, by Joseph Bayly.
One of my early memories is of being led into my grandmother’s room in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to give her a final kiss. She was dying, I had been told, “so be quiet and behave.” That scene impresses me today with its Old Testament quality. Grandma, an imposing person, was conscious, slightly raised on a bolster, her white hair braided and carefully arranged on the quilt she had made as a young woman.
… Read the rest
Caring for a dying person can be difficult. Caring for a dying person in our culture, a culture increasingly focused on death, can be doubly difficult, especially when questions of hydration, feeding, and assisted death come up. In our culture, we seem to easily forgo feeding. The mantra has been that dehydration is a comfortable way to die. And now, if things become uncomfortable we have sanctioned ending life with medical killing.
Let me share a story based on a real life. … Read the rest