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June 26, 2006

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I think we have a problem here. Through out much of human history, we died too soon. Now most of us will live too long.

Unless Steve is claiming that every life extending measure that humans have developed is due to the direct inspiration of God, he needs to stop asserting that the end of life is somehow an act of "God’s will or sovereignty", when it is clearly a direct function of human actions and choices.

There is a simple symmetry here: As we have solved the problems that caused us to die too soon, other problems have surfaced. Some will be capable of amelioration but sooner or later most of us will be faced with tough choices. Like early term abortion, this is a matter best left to personal decisions. Also like abortion this is an area where non-coersive policy decisions can have an effect.

It's a hard one this. A few general principles:
1. Contrary to the term 'passive euthanasia' used by many to describe not administering life-prolonging treatment, this is simply what happened 50 or more years ago.
2. Motor Neurone disease is ghastly and the means of dying is horrid.
3. We must beware those who extend suicide to those with heavily impairing, but not ultimately fatal conditions.
4. Despite logic, life is not included among these conditions.
5. We must avoid glibness. I'm opposed to assisted suicide in general, but mention Motor Neurone Disease and I'll be silent.
6. If we did allow assisted suicide, what would the criteria be, and how would we prevent 'mission creep'?
7. If the 'quality of life' argument were conceded in cases of health, what about depression?
8. Or long-term unemployment? I once thought I'd kill myself if I were unemployed for more than two years. I've now recognised what a God-dishonouring thought this was.
9. How would we avoid elderly people being pressured into suicide?

Christianity is neither a glib nor a simple religion. It is, however, a true religion.

There was no mercy there. As far as I know this person was not a believer. By 'assisting' their suicide all that happened was instead of having opportunity during his final days of suffering on this earth to repent and believe, he went from the beginning of mere physical suffering to an eternity of the most horrible suffering possible in hell. That is not compassion. That is complete disregard to the teachings of the person Ann Lamot claims to follow. This is the saddest thing I have read, especially because of her continuing false claim to be a Christian.

There are a lot of foolish ideas in this thread.

I hope they aren't coming from people who claim to be christians.

Anne Lamott also supports sex outside of marriage and abortion. In an interview in the book Notes to a Working Woman by Luci Swindoll, Lamott said, "I don't have brilliant insight into Scripture or the Bible as a whole; but I know I have a friend in Jesus . . . He's like my older, slightly hippie brother." She also said, "I think it's embarrassing to be a Christian writer." Swindoll's response? "That's hilarious!"

“Not my will but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

So, then, you're opposed to medical care, too? Interesting.

"I'm just glad no one offered me that pill," she said to me. I had stood beside her bed after her heart had stopped 3 times, with her body giving all the signs of impending death. We talked on the phone now. She was driving over to my house. The road I've walked alongside my dear friend has been a long one. It is full of voicemail messages from panicked family members telling me the "latest". In between the sad times, we laugh together and share life together. She knows that dealing with a terminal illness can mean days where you get to have pity parties, and that most people are pretty unwilling to sit in them with you.
I've dared to walk next to her, even when it's hard...and she knows that she can throw the pity party with me when needed.

I was 5 when my grandpa had the first 7 strokes over the next 12 years. He was paralyzed on his left side, and his speech was slurred. After a while, we all learned to understand him as if it was a new dialect of english. From that bed in their modest Burbank home he heard me sing my camp songs to him, he held new grand-babies, and he enjoyed meals around his table, where we'd all take turns feeding him. Now, many could argue (and have) that his "quality of life" was so diminished that it wasn't "worth it". I assume there were even days when he woke up and probably wondered why God had left him paralyzed for 10 years of his life, when he would be leaving this earth to dance in eternal paradise with His maker. He always smiled though, he even dictated poetry to my grandma, listened to his favorite preachers on tape and slept a lot. He lived life to the full, no matter what that full meant as his body deteriorated. You know what I've decided:

I don't know.
I don't have to know.
I don't get to know.
I don't know everything.
And that is okay.

I talked to my friend on the phone some more about this topic, of "friend-assisted suicide" and she said "yeah, I totally get the desparation. I've just always chosen to believe that I may not understand why I'm still here...but God must."

I appreciate Lamott's honesty and ability to articulate some of the gray-er areas of living...and to make that okay to talk about. In this case, I disagree with Lamott's position. I think it to be arrogant to tell God when "class" is over. It just doesn't work this way. I think God is disapointed when we take things into our own hands and value experience over truth.

The reality of modern medicine is that we do much to prevent death. What's interesting though, is that people still die. We haven't prevented death...and many times the unexplained happens and people leave this earth...no matter how many pills, surgeries and treatments we dope them up on. It's the mystery of life...and I am unwilling to think it is merciful to take that roll from God. It is His to "give and take away".

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