Euthanasia Through Two Religions Essay

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Reading
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #44321676

Excerpt from Essay :

Suffering is part of life. People feel joy and they feel pain. Christianity and Buddhism share many similarities when it comes to suffering. Christianity provides the story of Job and his suffering at the hands of Satan. Buddhism offers Siddhartha and his journey into enlightenment. While Christianity and Buddhism differ in how they respond to suffering, both are aware suffering is inevitable. The case study of George and his diagnosis of ALS is similar to the stories of Job and Siddhartha. All three came from a means of success and then suffered later on. But it is how that suffering is interpreted that the worldview of each faith can be examined and thus applied to the case of George and his difficulties with ALS.

To begin, Christianity has always included the idea of suffering, with the story of Job being the most prominent example. Job was a good man that loved and worshipped God. Satan spoke to God and said the only reason Job worshipped God was because he lived a good life. God then let Job suffer to prove to Satan that Job still had faith in God.

Then his (Job) wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?' In all of this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:9-10).

Although Job suffered and suffered, with his wife speaking out in frustration, he maintained his faith and did not blame God or others for his plight. He knew this was just a part of life that he had to accept just as was stated in Luke 9:22.

Siddhartha is a story that is about desire, suffering and enlightenment. Part of Buddhism are the Four Noble Truths. The First Noble Truth, The Truth of Suffering is exemplified in the journey Siddhartha undertook. He experienced mental and physical suffering that created much of the struggle seen in the story. The first real instance Siddhartha experienced physical suffering was when he joined the Samanas. He had to endure extreme temperatures and handle pain via meditation. "But that I Siddhartha, only find a short respite in my exercises and meditation, and am as remote from wisdom, from salvation, as a child in the womb, that, Govinda, I do know" (Hesse, 2008, p. 19).

Christianity and Buddhism understand that suffering is a part of life. This answers the 'why' question of suffering. But to understand a reason beyond suffering is a part of life, (in the case of George's malady) is difficult. Things happen without much in the way of knowing why or how they occur.

George's illness could be attributed to genetics, environmental exposure, or a host of other potential possibilities. From the Christian perspective, it could be George became afflicted with ALS because he may discover a part of himself he otherwise would not have, had he not been diagnosed. From a Buddhist perspective, the same can apply, except with the addition of karma or kamma. "A typical means of classifying kamma is according to the threefold mode of acting: acts of the body, acts of speech, and acts of mind. Thus what we do, say, and think determines kammic results" (Olson, 2005, p. 49). In Buddhism, karma can be accumulated across multiple lifetimes and thus may explain George's malady even though he appears to be a good person.

2. George became successful as a lawyer and then as a legal scholar, gaining a teaching position in a local university. On paper, he seems like a respectable, good person with a family who contributes to society. He is independent, educated, and can help others through teaching and legal work. When he was diagnosed with ALS, he became fearful of several things. The first is loss of mobility, the second is loss of speech, and the third is loss of independence.

His diagnosis also led to the knowledge that he could die in as little as three years or in ten years, depending on the measures taken to slow down the progression of the disease. To go from a fully independent adult that helps others and contributes to society, to a potentially fully dependent person who will die within a few years or up to a decade is a hard thing to accept and bare. From the Christian perspective, it is important to look at how self-worth is…

Sources Used in Document:


Hesse, H. (2008). Siddhartha (1st ed., p. 19). [Waiheke Island]: Floating Press.

Jordt, I. (2007). Burma's mass lay meditation movement (1st ed.). Athens: Ohio University Press.

Kruse, C. (2012). Paul's letter to the Romans (1st ed., p. 467). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Olson, C. (2005). The different paths of Buddhism (1st ed., p. 49). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

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