During of a man.” which amplifies Augustine’s

During the 13th century Christians and Jews opposed Euthanasia because Augustine, whose position became the medieval Catholic view that suicide was a “violation of the sixth commandments and a sin that precluded repentance” and his view on euthanasia was that it cannot be justified under any circumstances and it was a great sin.  Augustine said “When we hear it said, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ we do not take it as referring to trees, for they have no sense, nor to irrational animals, because they have no fellowship with us. Hence it follows that the words, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ refer to the killing of a man.” which amplifies Augustine’s rigid belief that euthanasia is immoral. This was later reinforced by Aquinas who was an influential thinker in medieval scholasticism who condemned suicide for being erroneous as it injures not only other people but the community that the individual is part of and also euthanasia conflicted with the natural and law and the idea of self-love.  In addition, it is the belief that God is the one who takes life and gives life and euthanasia would violate God’s  authority over life and deprives them of chance to find in their suffering God’s grace. This perspective of euthanasia being immoral continued from the middle ages through the Renaissance and also the Reformation.These same ideologies continued through the 17th and 18th century as renaissance and reformation writers challenge church opposition to euthanasia and writers assaulted the church’s teaching on all ethical matters which included euthanasia. However, in society there was no general interest in euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide at that time.  By the end of the 17th century a new view had been fabricated that suicide was not an offence to God but a personal choice not including theological considerations and being free from disgrace and blame that the Church had formulated.  From the 17th century onwards, the educated classes started to question the belief that suicide is not always immoral, John Donne who was a cleric in the Church of England wrote a treatise called ‘Biathanatos’ which he emphasised and proved (but was unsuccessful) that euthanasia and suicide was not a sin. Donne supported the contemporaneous practice of euthanasia that involved the female relatives of the patient who was dying and nothing more could be done would assist in their death by removing the patient’s pillows. He regarded this as a ‘pious act’ and showed the large divide in what the church has taught and what society practiced. However, during the 18th century the enlightenment period where a group of European intellectual thinkers who were Voltaire, Montesquieu and David Hume demonstrated tolerant opinions on euthanasia and the questioning of  the prohibition of euthanasia was part of the enlightenment which celebrated science however conflicted with the Church and their opinions. David Hume attempted to justify suicide as he claimed that nothing in the scripture actually condemned suicide and euthanasia and he regarded it as a ‘retirement from life’ and pointed out the fact that it didn’t actually do no real harm to society.  Voltaire insinuated the fact that if suicide and euthanasia is immoral and wrong in society then the homicide of war is far more immoral and harmful.  Although philosophers like Kant condemned euthanasia he upheld the belief that human life is sacred and taking one’s life is ‘degrading’. Towards the late 18th century, American Evangelical Christians rejected euthanasia as the enlightenment view on suicide and euthanasia was temporary. In the first years of the 19th century the views of American Evangelical Christians strengthened and still condemned suicide and euthanasia that stretched back to the beginning of colonial America and the rejection of euthanasia remained firm within all religions. In the early church martyrdom was highly regarded but it made the boundary between martyrdom narrow as Tertullian, a christian author addressed Christians in prisons who were waiting for martyrdom had famous examples of suicide which included Cleopatra and Lucretia.  In Antioch, Domina and her two daughters had drowned themselves to avoid being raped and this act was venerated. However, recently scholars have argued that has condemned euthanasia and suicide and that martyrdom is a form of suicide which had been venerated and applauded in the church history which contradicts with the church’s view on suicide and euthanasia. During the 1980s, Pope John Paul II issues the Declaration on Euthanasia which opposes the killing, however it allows the increased use of painkillers and the patient’s refusal on sustaining life by extraordinary means.  He spoke out on what he calls a ‘culture of death’ in modern society and that human being should favour the way of life to the way of death. The Roman Catholic Church opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide because of the belief that life is a gift from God and life should not be prematurely shortened.   In Buddhism according to Damien Keown who is a professor of Buddhist ethics at Goldsmiths College, University of London, Buddhist tend to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. In Buddhism is it immoral to get rid of human life and that includes one’s own life even it is with the intention of ending one’s suffering. Buddhism teaches to have substantial respect for life itself in which Keown argues that even if life is not being lived in good physical and mental health.  However, Buddhists believe that life does not have to be preserved at all costs hence one does not need to go to extraordinary lengths to conserve a dying patient’s life. According to Keown “The bottom line is that so long as there is no intention to take life, no moral problem arises” ,thus a terminally ill person may not be denied basic needs of care however they can decline treatment that can be burdensome for them. In Hinduism, there is actually no formal teachings on euthanasia or assisted suicide. According to Deepak Sarma who is a professor of philosophy and South Asian religions at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In Hinduism there is a belief that ending one’s life prematurely could negatively affect their karma. As the notion of karma revolves around the belief that positive and negative occurrences in one’s life are caused by actions that have been undertaken in the past as Hindus believe in incarnation. According to Sarma “We believe that whatever suffering you experience now is because of something you did in the past,” Sarma also says. “So if you circumvent karma by taking some action to stop suffering, you will pay for it later”,  Sarma is insinuating that postponing suffering could actually increase bad karma for the individual in their next life which gives of an impression that euthanasia is supported to prevent suffering in the next life. However, simultaneously some Hindus believe under specific circumstances it could justify a hastening of death as some hindus believe that once you have reached this stage in your life that you can not worship any more due to illness then it is acceptable to ask a doctor to bring one’s life to an end. Although most hindus do not believe this nor endorse it. In Islam, life is considered to be sacred as it is given by Allah. Allah is the one who chooses when life is taken and the duration of that life so humans should not interfere with this process. Therefore Muslims are against euthanasia and assisted suicide. In addition, many religious Muslim believe that ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) illustrates a light form of euthanasia which is strictly forbidden. Therefore, all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide is prohibited which includes voluntary or non-voluntary, active or passive and direct or indirect. Islam teaches that basic human rights which includes fluids and food should always be provided to every human regardless if they are sick or healthy.  However, Islam recommends palliative care and hospices, a home hospice where the patient is to die naturally at home surrounded by family members which is considered to be the best dignified death. In Judaism, under Jewish law it is one’s duty to protect and preserve human life which outweighs other considerations which includes the desire to ease pain and suffering. According to Rabbi Leonard A. Sharzer who is an associate director for bioethics at the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies in the the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, teaches life is a precious gift from God hence why God should decide when life should end and when life should be given. The Jewish law which prohibits active euthanasia (where life is brought to end by an act like lethal injections) because they regard it as murder hence they are no exceptions and does not make a difference if the person wants to die as it is still considered murder.  

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