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November 06, 2014


Just for my information, is there a place in the Bible that condemns suicide? I'd like to check out those verses.

John Moore, the verse you are looking for is Ex. 20:13.

For a more full treatment of the issue, you might check out What Saith The Scripture on the matter of suicide.

More fundamentally, suicide is ultimately another aspect of man's depraved quest to assert themselves over the control and providence of Almighty God.

Shouldn't those who do not believe in an afterlife hold on even tighter to this life? If this is all we got why hand it over so easily? Maybe I'm missing something. One of those counterintuitive things I suppose.
I'm not saying on the other hand Christians should embrace suicide. We believe life is precious. I'm just saying that if this life were all I had I would be hanging on as long as possible.

This woman didn't commit suicide, she died because of cancer. She wasn't a healthy woman who chose death over life, she was terminally ill. She didn't want to die. She simply made a decision to jump ahead to the inevitable before the illness inflicted unimaginable pain and suffering on her body. If you are about to be killed in a fire and you choose instead to jump out the window and die a slightly quicker less horrible death, are you committing suicide? Would you tell the families of the jumpers on 9/11 that you feel sorry for them but their family members were weak and didn't deal with their deaths in a dignified way by waiting to be burned in the buildings?

I struggle to understand good people who believe there is a God who loves them but who asks them to linger on in pain for his personal reasons that he doesn't have to divulge. A God who would shake his head that they weren't able to stick it out and die in agony. Why is that better? Why is that holy? What possible value does it have for anyone that they watched someone they love go through the worst kind of suffering and say my loving God wants me to do this.

But I suppose you will tell me that I don't have the right to ask those questions and my argument comes down to me saying if I were God I wouldn't do it that way. Too right I wouldn't and I bet you wouldn't either.

Damien, I doubt there was anything remotely easy about the decision she made.

A hundred years ago and longer, people would have died much quicker deaths from diseases like this and all we could have done is medicate them with a lot of alcohol to ease some of the pain. Now, because of modern medicine, we prolong death often as much as we prolong life.

I see nothing Scriptural in prolonging a painful, inevitable death.

I agree with you Perry, but the issue here is not that someone opts out of a modern-day treatment that would prolong their life, it is that they actively pursue means to end their life.

I recognize that the difference between between killing and letting-die is vague, and philosophers love to harp on the corner cases involved in the distinction. But for all their quibbles, I think there is a distinction. There are clear cases where one is killing and clear cases where one is simply letting someone die.

I think Scripture does not teach that one must never let someone die. It's a bit more definite (though, granted, not crystal clear) about killing.

Francis, the answer to managing agony is to find ways to alleviate pain, not to kill the patients. And from what I understand, she wasn't worried about dying in agony, she was worried about losing control and losing her "dignity."

What value does it have for her to allow others to care for her through her death? It says that she's more than her abilities. She doesn't lose her value when she loses her autonomy. When her family cares for her, we proclaim her value as a human being, regardless of any of her characteristics. This teaches our whole culture what it means to be human. It protects the terminally ill from pressure and guilt pushing them to kill themselves for the convenience of others. It teaches the world the beauty of compassion and sacrifice. It recognizes that we are not our own, but our lives belong to God.

In other countries that have assisted suicide, patients are killed against their will and others kill themselves for ridiculous reasons. All of this leads to a degradation of human life that will work itself out in the culture in many other ways besides this one.

For more on this topic, I recommend Wesley J. Smith's blog. I may put up an excerpt from one of his posts on Saturday, so you can see more then, as well.

But make no mistake, she didn't die from cancer. This is a very important distinction to make in ethics. There is a big difference between someone dying from the illness and some other method. For example, say you know your illness will cause your death at some point if extreme measures are not taken. If you don't take those measures because you don't want to prolong the inevitable, your disease will kill you. But if you actively introduce an instrument of death, that new instrument of death is the cause of death, not the disease. You aren't required to take extreme medical measures to keep a person alive who doesn't wish to be kept alive, but actively causing a death is a completely different matter, and society should not go down the road of approving it. Again, Smith's blog contains many examples of the horrible things this is already leading to in other countries.

What I want to know is: Who decides this matter for ME?


Or do I?

I listened to the podcast this morning, and Greg was talking about this subject, making some of the same points as Melinda. Melinda said, "There’s nothing at all undignified about needing the care of others when we can no longer care for ourselves." I'm not so sure dignity is an objective thing, though. It seems to me that dignity carries with it, at least to some degree, the subjective sense we have about ourselves. For example, if something humiliates us, we consider that a loss of dignity. But the same situation can humiliate one person but not another.

Whether needing to be taken care of by others, and to what extent, is humiliating may differ from person to person. While some people may have no trouble holding their heads high even when they have no control over their bowels and need somebody else to bathe them, that experience is humiliating to other people. For those it humiliates, they may take it as being a loss of dignity. In their case, it isn't a euphemism to consider suicide a method of dying with dignity when it spares them the humiliation they might otherwise face.

Greg said on the show that the phrase "die with dignity" when used in the context of doctor-assisted suicide implies that those who allow nature to take its course are not dying with dignity. But I don't think it implies any such thing. It only implies that the person choosing suicide would suffer a loss of dignity if they let nature take its course. It doesn't imply anything about anybody else since maybe other people feel perfectly dignified even when the disease takes away their ability to care for themselves.

Of course I'm not saying that I think suicide is justified for the sake of sparing oneself humiliation. I'm just explaining what I think "death with dignity" means because I don't think it means what Greg and Melinda take it to mean.

But I have often wondered if suicide can ever be justified. When pressed with specific examples, those who are against suicide in all cases will simply redefine the words in such a way that suicide is still wrong in all cases. If there's a case where killing oneself is justified, they just don't call that "suicide." But that's just semantics.

An obvious example is when a soldier jumps on a grenade to save his buddies from being blown up. That is killing oneself. If suicide is actively taking one's life, then that's suicide.

But if you define suicide as the unjustified taking of one's own life, then there can't possibly be any counter-examples because any situation in which a person is justified in taking their own life would, by definition, not be suicide.

It seems to me that there is some gray area. On the one extreme, you have somebody who throws himself on a grenade to save other people. On the other extreme, you have somebody who kills himself to hurt his parents. Between these two extremes, you have situations like Francis explained where somebody jumps out the window of a burning building.

Greg and Frank Beckwith made the point in Relativism that moral imperatives have prima-facie force. That is, they apply in most situations, but there is such a thing as a moral dilemma in which you have to take the lesser of two evils. And there are situations in which there are exceptions to general rules. For example, lying is generally wrong, but it's not wrong to lie to the gestapo to save Jews from being murdered.

Why can't the same thing be true of suicide? It seems to me (and I'm only going on my own moral intuitions here), that a person who jumps out of a burning building to avoid a slow and torturous death is morally justified. And there is a clear parallel between that and somebody committing suicide rather than letting cancer kill them. I've seen cancer kill people up close and personal. It can be a horrible way to die. It's slow and agonizing. So I'm not convinced that suicide is wrong in cases like that.

Maybe there is a slippery slope in which if we allow cancer patients to commit suicide, pretty soon we'll start pressuring people to commit suicide who have no obligation to simply because it spares their families grief and financial burden. But that is a causal slippery slope, not a logical slippery slope, so it doesn't show that it's wrong to commit suicide if you have cancer. At best, all it shows is that it may not be wise to condone it.

But besides that, the knife cuts both ways. Amy says that when a family cares for a dying person, rather than letting them commit suicide, it protects that person from pressure and guilt to commit suicide. But if we forbid suicide, no matter how bad things get, that person will then be susceptible to pressure and guilt to endure unimaginable suffering rather than "die with dignity" by committing suicide. So either way, there's going to be pressure and guilt. Neither scenarios protects the person from pressure and guilt. It's just that the reason for the pressure and guilt are different in each case.

Excellent comment Sam Harper, honest and compassionate and puts into words my own thoughts better than I could have so I have just erased my own attempt.

One thing I would like to ask Amy (thanks for your reply by the way).

"Our lives belong to God."

My life belongs to me first, then my family, my friends and to whomever I choose to give it and to whatever degree. You are rightly free to choose the course of action inline with your belief, am I free to choose that which follows mine?

What I want to know is: Who decides this matter for ME?

That's the question I always ask when people tell me that I can't kill my wife, that I can't own nuclear bombs, that I can't call African-Americans names.

I mean, where do they get off, forcing their morality on ME? Really, this is ME we're talking about!

So I guess you decide for me? Thanks.

Thanks, that is, for clearing up the question for me.

What I want to know is: Who decides this matter for ME?

Actually, no state has a law against suicide. Many states have laws that prevent you from using suicide to defraud life insurance companies.

So if I want to kill MYSELF no one is actually stopping ME or making decisions for ME.

(So long as I'm not trying, by suicide, to steal for my family.)

But the issue at hand is not suicide. Rather, it is physician-assisted suicide.

So the issue is not just ME, but what doctors can or must do to me.

In my snarky response, Ron, I was not trying to clear anything up for you, but to point out that virtually all laws and moral rules represent limits to an agent's freedom. There's nothing special going on here, and the fact that an individual's freedom is being limited is not an automatic reason for rejecting the law or rule (which is what you were suggesting with your question).

By the way, that response does not say or even suggest that I will decide anything for you. At most it suggests that, yes, society may place some limits on your freedoms and mine. As it does all the time. The issue is not that society places these limits, but whether the limits are practicable and justified.

I was trying to point out that virtually all laws and moral rules represent limits to an agent's freedom.
Thanks for that then!


You are confusing dignity and pride. Dignity is something that every human has whether they like it or not, and no humiliation can diminish it. Pride is subject to both praise and humiliation...the one tending to increase it and the other tending to decrease it.

A person's dignity is insulted, not by embarrassment, but when the person is treated like a mere thing to be used. Persons are not mere things to be used, they have the ability to act according to moral principle...the ability to act autonomously. That is what gives them dignity.

If I kill someone else to alleviate their suffering, I'm treating them like a thing to be used, I'm cutting short their ability to act on moral principle just so that I can decrease suffering.

I don't think the case is much altered if I am the object of the mercy-killing that I perform. I'm treating myself, not as a person to be loved, but as nothing more than a thing to be used to lessen suffering. I completely ignoring my capacity for autonomous action when I end my own life.

What is more, I am attempting to destroy the world from my point of view. I am ignoring the dignity of every other living person. I am ending their ability to act on moral principle toward me.

In contrast, the soldier who sacrifices for the other soldiers in the foxhole, is sacrificing his future autonomy in order to secure the future autonomy of others. In fact, he is not really even choosing to sacrifice his future autonomy. All he is doing is choosing to secure the future autonomy of his comrades. He is not choosing to die, but choosing to save others. Dying is an unwanted side-effect of the choice.

Notice that similar remarks go in the case where one is following a regimen of pain-reduction and inadvertently kills oneself or another by overdose. One was only trying to alleviate pain, but not to kill in order to do so. In this case, no insult to the dignity of the sufferer occurs.

But if one deliberately takes a poison in order to kill and thereby end suffering, that is a choice end the capacity for autonomy for the sake of something of less moral importance.

Thanks for that then!

Oh, you're quite welcome Ron. Do you then see why your question doesn't really address the issue?

My point about what is wrong with killing, in general, and suicide in particular also, I think, addresses Francis' point about the 9/11 victims.

The individuals who jumped from the towers were not cutting anything short. They were not making a choice to ignore their own capacity for autonomous action to avoid some pain. Their capacity for autonomous action was at an end, no matter what they did. They had exactly one more choice to make: jump or burn. So their choice was a pure choice to avoid pain.

In contrast, the cancer sufferer who self-euthanizes is deliberately cutting short all sorts of future autonomous actions.

The issue is: Who decides this matter FOR ME. That is, in MY case.

Would that be you? Or me?

WL, "dignity" has more than one use, and it is commonly used to refer to a person's sense of pride or self-respect. It doesn't just refer to a person's intrinsic worth. When people say they want to "die with dignity," they are not talking about dying as a worthy person because hardly anybody thinks they lose value as human being just because they're suffering or dependent on other people. What they mean is that they want to die with their self-respect in tact. They want to die without the humility of deteriorating.

When a soldier jumps on a grenade, or a person steps between a gunman and a loved one to take a bullet, they know they are acting in such a way that they will die so that others can live. It's true that dying isn't the ultimate goal. Rather, it's a means to causing other people to live.

In the same way, when people with cancer commit suicide, the ultimate goal isn't to die, but to spare themselves pain and humiliation. Dying is just the means to that end.

And just as a soldier might prefer to be able to disable the grenade instead of throwing himself on it, so also the cancer patient might prefer to cure the cancer rather than take the drugs.

The issue is: Who decides this matter FOR ME. That is, in MY case.

Would that be you? Or me?

As already noted, often neither. Society makes laws that decides things in your case, for you, all the time. Morality is not up to your decision or mine. So legally and morally, the decision, for you, in your case is decided neither by me nor by you.

But in any event, also as already noted, the laws we are discussing aren't just about you. You can commit suicide if you want...no law prevents you. The issue is what physicians are legally permitted to do to you at your request and what they are legally required to do to you at your request.

I have no doubt, Sam, that most people do indeed confuse dignity with pride too.

If you say "death with intact pride" instead of "death with dignity" you are getting closer to what people actually want.

At the same time you are also getting farther away from a meaning that has any real moral punch.

If you tell me that you want to die with dignity, and by that you mean that you don't want your moral worth as a person to be insulted by your death, then I'm inclined to think that you have a right to that. But if what you mean is that you want to die while your pride is still intact, I'm not with you anymore.

is brittany maynard burning in "god's" divine torture chamber now?


What if she is in hell? Then what?

What if she is in heaven? Then what?

Asking a question in a denigrating tone does not an argument make.

I think riding it til the wheels fall off is Biblical. We’re all terminally ill. Death is right around the corner for us all. We will most likely experience more pain (physical and emotional) from now until official “diagnosis” than we will after. Pain is certain in your life.

So we have a question: Why not end it now with “dignity”? Life is hard. Life is ruthless. If you haven’t experienced crippling pain, you will. We all have the opportunity to beat death to the punch.

Society makes laws...

Thanks again!.

But YOU (and I don't mean just WL; I mean y'all) are part of society.

And, when you had larger numbers, were more in control, and were less domesticated, suicide was illegal.

You, WL, have a position on the policy that could prevent me from escaping misery. So you are trying interfere in my decision.

The doctor is not the issue because he is not deciding.

I don't need a doctor for this. I am handy around the house.

Other people need advice on methods and, perhaps, materials.

That is what Brittany Maynard got: a prescription.

But if I get to a point when I need someone's help in such a matter, I want that person to be safe from any repercussions.

But YOU (and I don't mean just WL; I mean y'all) are part of society.

And, when you had larger numbers, were more in control, and were less domesticated, suicide was illegal.

You, WL, have a position on the policy that could prevent me from escaping misery. So you are trying interfere in my decision.

My initial point is simply this: how is that different from any other case? Society interferes all the time with all sorts of things I want to do. Until you show that society shouldn't be interfering in this case, we're dealing with a great be "So what?". And the reason society shouldn't interfere in this case cannot be grounded in the general fact that society is deciding for ME or forcing ME to endure some pain or limiting MY freedom, because, as already noted, that happens all the time.

So what is it that makes societal interference so bad in this case, but not countless others?

The second point was that this is about what doctors can and must do.

I'm not a lawyer, but the Oregon law looks a lot to me like if I come to a doctor for suicide pills, and the doctor (and a consulting physician) agree that my lifespan is limited, and the little I have left is liable to include significant amounts of suffering, then that doctor has no leeway...he has to give me the death drug.

he has to give me the death drug.

Say that again. I love it.

So apparently it's OK for Ms. Maynard to have all the freedom in the world to compel others to aid her in her self-murder.

Suppose that I'm Ms. Maynard's oncologist, and, after I've given her my honest diagnosis, she says that I have to become an accessory to murder for her sake.

Can't I say to her "Who decides this matter FOR ME. That is, in MY case. Would that be you? Or me?"

Suppose you are a citizen of Oregon, can't I say to you "Who decides this matter FOR ME. That is, in MY case. Would that be you? Or me?"

WL, RonH,

Patient's with ALS cannot self-administer. Self-administering is impossible in far too many of these sorts of cases. How short sighted some people are.

If you are asked to give it - the death drug, to assist in the kill, and you refuse to give it - to give the death drug, refuse to assist in the kill...... Can you so choose? Ought you be able to so choose?

RonH ( 'cause naturalism ) laughs at (loves hearing) the mention of the "death drug", but then, he (the philosophical naturalist) has no (actual) final causes housed in Man to (actually) prevent him from laughing even at such means and such ends as are housed in this thread.

We have seen the (actual) results of such (actual) laughter all the time. In history. This repeats itself over and over again. And again. And again.

Its net results have been - every single time - incredibly..... painful.


To clarify - I do not attribute "I love hearing it" on your satire to an equating to uncaring on your end.

You care.

Rather, it (satire) sort of betrays an unawareness of what (actually) IS (actually) "taking place" on and in these fronts.

It's real.

It's (actually) deadly (lives are lost here) serious.

Satire here seems, well, almost out of place.

But then I'm not sure this even can be felt to be "deadly serious" if we presuppose no final causes. In which case - satire would be equal to the (actual) situation.

he has to give me the death drug.

I love it and what I love about it is that it is a separate issue.

Granting you are right about the law for the sake of discussion: That law could have been written another way allowing physicians to opt out.

In that case we would have the same OP and the same discussion here (up until just recently).

This is not about the doc.

So what change of subject is next? Why not call me a 'naturalist'. Oh wait, looks like that's been done.


She said,

"It would enable me to use the medical practice of aid in dying: I could request and receive a prescription from a physician for medication that I could self-ingest to end my dying process if it becomes unbearable."


The OP said,

"Brittany literally became the cover girl for doctor-assisted suicide when she went public with her decision and was on the cover of People magazine..."

You are naïve to just shrug off the necessary involvement of medial science. And physicians. And one day pharmacists.

We know you are being naïve because we have history to look at.

As for autonomy, your Christianized frame of reference grants you such value, and that is fine, but it is important to point out the cognitive dissonance you must pile beneath that sort of incongruence.


On your naïve approach: we may as well add in the (arbitrary) limits of these pills "only for extreme" cases.

Again, history.

Either life is (always) precious, or it will end up (always) for any reason via a single consenting party always cheap.

Again, history.

If you want to "magically" divorce reality from your (magically) isolated "idea", that is fine, but then we're not really talking about the real world anymore.

You can drive it back to autonomy all you want, and that is fine, go ahead, because that takes us right to the very ends of the 20 year old at the pharmacy window - 'cause autonomy.

Again, history. Reality.


The OP would read the same if Oregon's law were about 'friend-assisted' suicide.

Most of the comments would too.

The doc is not the issue.

'Death With Dignity' is a bumper sticker.

Like other simple things it has problems.

We see one of its problems - a vulnerability - exploited here.

There’s nothing at all undignified about needing the care of others when we can no longer care for ourselves.

I agree with Amy on this: If I get sick and choose to suffer to the end, perhaps having others care for me, I will NOT have lost my dignity in so choosing.

When will I lose my dignity?

I will lose my dignity if I choose not to suffer after a certain point and y'all get in my way.




That will always trump - eventually - changing definitions of dignity.

So we're with our healthy 25 year old at the pharmacy window. Sane. Fully competent. Freely choosing to avoid tomorrow.

We've no sound argument against him. Because he says this: "But who is going to decide this for ME".

..... 'cause autonomy.

That is your argument.

Not life's value.

History is the enemy of a naïve argument.

KWM alluded to this - to what we are really talking about here, earlier: "Pain is certain in your life. So we have a question: Why not end it now with “dignity”? Life is hard. Life is ruthless. If you haven’t experienced crippling pain, you will. We all have the opportunity to beat death to the [that] punch." (bold added)

If it is not life's value as our hard stop, but is instead autonomy as the hard stop, then we need to be honest about that. If it is life's value, then we need to show how that applies directly to friend assisted or self-administered lines which offend that value. Otherwise, it really is autonomy (cognitive dissonance of course on your end....) and if that is the case then that is the hard stop.


It may help to inform you that there are professionals in Hospice who are adept at riding that line between "relief of pain/awareness" and "killing" with various pharmaceutical prescriptions. The goal there being - always - to alleviate suffering. Diseases take their natural course. While suffering can therein be minimal (far, far less than the 25 year old with a mildly sprained ankle and so on) what is not taken away is the need for others, nor the issue of our image/pride and fear of being seen looking "like that". But let it be said that that very concern is not only honored by Hospice but done so very, very well. Everybody "understands / gets it" on the image concerns we all have (to some degree). It is unclear to me that we should open the flood gates out of concern over the latter (image) when the former (suffering) finds us with quite adept tools by which to knock it down to less than a HA (Hospice / professionals need to have the training and regulated margin to do so).

As Amy noted, in other places those doors being opened find life's worth truly suffering a real hit in the end. And in ways we didn't expect. And we know from history that that just is the way of it.

As a Theist, Hospice (with actual training / regulated margin to do such unique work) houses all of the right defenses, provides and honors all the right (beautiful, human) goals/concerns, while your line seems to me to house exactly those (darker) ends we ought to avoid. Resources finding their way into Hospice values all lines to their maximal compatibility. I see no need for the danger of stark, naked singularity of one isolated line when overlap is readily available amid protecting all lines.


You may pretend that I'm changing the subject as much as you like. My second post in reply to you was to point out that the policy under discussion isn't just about you. Indeed, death-with-dignity laws do little to alter your right to commit suicide. What they do is change physicians' rights to participate in your suicide.

When will I lose my dignity?

I will lose my dignity if I choose not to suffer after a certain point and y'all get in my way.

And why is this Ron? After many posts, you still seem unwilling to answer.

Do you lose your dignity just because your will is being thwarted?

All laws thwart someone's will. Are all laws an assault on human dignity? Are you now an Anarchist?

And why is this Ron?

Well, it's the mere thwarting of will.

Or perhaps you would also consider the the humiliation of crucifixion a mere thwarting of will rather than an assault on the dignity of the crucified.

Well, it's the mere thwarting of will.
So you have become an anarchist then? All laws thwart someone's will.

Not sure what you are driving at with the crucifixion question. Maybe your point is that the assault on human dignity is not the mere thwarting of the will. Instead, the assault comes from the thwarting of the will in such a way that one, either as punishment or in compliance with the law, must suffer pain against one's will.

Unfortunately, again, this is a common feature of all laws. They thwart the will. They are painful to obey. The punishment for disobedience is also painful.

But, even so, not every law is an assault on human dignity.

Of interest: the founder of Hospice opposed euthanasia as she was aware of the means to control pain. She embraced death as inevitable and encouraged us not to be so fearful of even the mention of it - all the while charging it (death) as an affront against life - which she cherished. She even promoted the idea of "total pain" - that of not just body but also of mind and emotions and spirit - all of which are in play and merit our (genuine) attention in caring for one another.

The question seems to be where an affront to dignity occurs:

They are an assault on human dignity to the extent that they are an affront against that which furthers a particular sort of being's particular sort of proper modes of be-ing. And what is Man? None of us look at death – at disease even – and say of those realities the following: “Now that really dignifies that person!” So again, what dignifies Man? Death is defined as an assault on dignity for reasons, and those reasons are housed both in Scripture/Theistic lines and inside of secular meta-ethics. Death is – in the fullest sense of the term – the Unman. So then there is this: the taking of life, and, the giving of one’s own life. Well the meta-ethical landscape doesn’t just magically change where those formerly mentioned reasons were concerned. There are times taking a life is justified - such as when a life is itself degrading life by destroying life. We may even endure pain in order to hold such lines. We (rightly) hate pain just as we (rightly) hate death. Both are (in Scripture) lines which Man is promised deliverance from. And yet embracing pain to fight off death isn't new. It fits inside of the afore mentioned meta-ethical reasoning. However, embracing - in the full sense of that word - death that we may fight pain is a new twist of all those former meta-ethical lines we’ve come to “perceive” on Being and on proper modes of be-ing. It's important that we are honest about our presuppositions, our stances, our goals, here. Because actions and ideas have consequences. It’s not ALL about ME. It never is. SOME lines are acquiesced. Autonomy, love, power, ambition - all good things - proper even, and – we all know – all of them tend toward danger if made a god, if found in privation.

To assert that the mere Thwart is that which unties Dignity is to fashion an ethic on only half of what Man “is”.

As in:

Man is a social being – none of us are here by our own fiat, and we all take, subsist, from lines outside of our own Self. Death just is – in the fullest sense of where final causes take us – the Unman, for inescapable reasons, and yet if such (the loss of this person) rescues another (gains that person), then the Un becomes undone and for obvious (necessary) reasons. Hence the shortsightedness of a recent analysis of the Cross here. Love’s ceaseless reciprocity within the immutable love of the Necessary Being just is Actuality’s (Trinity’s) “means and ends”.

I think this post mostly misses the point. I have never actually met someone who is a "proponent of suicide." Maybe there are such people in the world, but they certainly aren't steering the public discourse or public policy.

The people labeled here as "proponents of suicide" are actually proponents of people having the right to make their own choices about what dignity and end of life means, rather than having it prescribed to them by other people.

If Brittany, or any number of other people like her, conclude that they won't want to live through the pain of their terminal illness because such a life lacks dignity, that is fundamentally their choice, not yours! Or mine, or anyone else's.

And certainly, not the government's.

Here, as is many other areas, I think conservative evangelicals are making the mistake of legislating an issue when they should focus on persuading people about the issue.

To quote another:

"Most people seem to see assisted suicide as a cultural refinement, society 'like now but better' but in fact this is an excision of values rather than an addition. Without taboos there are no values and when the umbrella of this taboo is removed we expose the values beneath to an inevitable attrition. New values, of which the core must be the morality of suicide, will rise to replace the old.

My Grandmother constantly worried that care bills would leave no inheritance for her children. It did not. Let us imagine that 10 years prior to her death at 93, when she was told she could no longer live alone she had chosen suicide. On what grounds can we condemn this in our new society? Worse how can we avoid the creation of a general morality which looks on these acts with approval?" (Baxter)

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