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Euthanasia: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

Euthanasia aka physician-assisted suicide: out of the frying pay, into the fire

(Illustrations credit: Clipart-Library.com)

What’s wrong with euthanasia? A lot.

The rise of euthanasia – a.k.a. physician-assisted suicide, mercy killing, or so-called “death with dignity” – is a reflection of our increasingly secular society. It used to be that the taking of a life – whether it be one’s own or someone else’s, even if assisted by a doctor – was considered to be a violation of the Fifth Commandment that Thou Shalt Not Kill. People took the Ten Commandments seriously, especially the fifth one. This not only was because of moral reasons but also because violating it could result in the loss of Heaven.

But as people have turn away from religion, they have turned away from the Ten Commandments. Apparently they don’t think the Ten Commandments are valid because they don’t believe the Bible is inspired by God – and often they don’t even believe in God. So they think ending their life or ending someone else’s life in order to relieve suffering is okay, provided the person consents to being put to death. Most atheists surely would consider that to be the case, and even many believers in God would go along with that, because they think God would rather have a person die than suffer, especially in old age.

But not so fast. First, atheists may be surprised to learn that there is a God. Evidence for the existence of God abounds. Second, the Ten Commandments are still quite valid; there is much evidence that the Bible is indeed inspired by God. So the Fifth Commandment holds. But what does “Thou Shalt Not Kill” mean? Does it mean we can’t kill a mosquito when it lands on our arm? Someone accustomed to private interpretation of scripture may think so. But God does not want us to interpret scripture ourselves. A hundred different people would have a hundred different interpretations of a given passage. That’s why God gave us a supreme teaching authority that we can look to in order to get the proper interpretation of the Fifth Commandment and other scripture passages. That teaching authority is the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church interprets the Fifth Commandment to mean (among other things) that thou shalt not kill oneself, even if one is suffering; even if one is elderly and suffering.

Not only that, but the Catholic Church teaches that we should offer up our sufferings to atone for past sins; because if we don’t atone for them in this life, we’ll atone for them in the next – in purgatory (assuming we merit that place). Since God is perfect, no one can enter heaven who is not perfect. So we must be purged of our imperfections. Purgatory is where that purification takes place.

The Catholic Church teaches that you can carry out much of your purification here on earth, through involuntary suffering (such as cancer) or voluntary suffering (such as fasting) – and offering it up as a sacrifice to God. In fact, as bad as the pain is here on earth, according to many saints and mystics it is nowhere near as severe as the pain of purgatory. So it is much better to go through your purification on earth than in purgatory.

Not only does physician-assisted suicide curtail that purification, but it also could cause the loss of heaven – both for the sufferer and for the physician. It’s a case of: out of the frying pan, into the fire. It’s possible that the soul could wind up in purgatory – and therefore heaven someday – but the suffering in purgatory would be far, far worse than anything the sufferer endured on earth.

So anyone undergoing or enabling physician-assisted suicide, including those who legislate its legality, are taking a great, great risk. Apart from the worldly evils that can derive from it – such as putting to death the merely depressed, children, and those who don’t consent to it – it could bring on other-worldly evils in the hereafter.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

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