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Friday, September 19, 2008

More Bad News from Britain

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.

She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society. (link)

The battle over human dignity is still in its infancy. Do humans have inherent ontological value or only utilitarian value? Health care is expensive and many people lead lives that don't add value to the economy or culture- should we just off them so there's more money for the rest of us to spend on upgrading our iPods or so we can afford organic rather than proletarian foods?

There's a long history of governments helping people to die "for the sake of society"- in recent times Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Hitler come to mind as major proponents of this line of thinking. Should we get rid of everyone who can't hold down a decent job? Round up all the panhandlers and toss 'em in the sea? Send hit squads to the Special Olympics? Gas all the nursing homes?

With all the partisan rancor today, how many angry right or left wingers would agree that doing away with their political opponents would be the best thing for the sake of society and the planet and the future of the human race?

Who decides whose life is worth living? Who determines the standards and decides how to apply them?

Human beings are made by and for God. Life is sacred. But if we stop believing in God, that becomes a nonsensical statement. Christians believe that ALL human life is sacred, including, yes, the lives of unbelievers. But atheists and agnostics have no logical reason to agree. In the end, for them, it comes down to economics, or perhaps sentimentality.


Anonymous said...

Your argument is flawed and designed to give an impression that Christians do only good and atheists do only ill.

The idea that Christians believe all human life is sacred is very much flawed. The actions of Christians in war, slavery, murder, and other forms of abuse for the last 2000 years are testimony to that.

God himself has killed more than a few lives if the bible is believed. Even today many Christians are very supportive of either abortion or capital punishment.

The following argument is also flawed. A simple close with great leaps of presumption "In the end, for them, it comes down to economics, or perhaps sentimentality."

You speak with conviction without a basis of knowledge or an attempt to reasonably show it's true. Prove those words.

Mark Swanson said...

Argent: Say what? I don't believe that Christians do only good or that atheists do only ill, nor did I say anything to give that impression.

The Bible and Christianity teach that all human life is sacred. Lots of people who call themselves "Christians" either don't believe that or have been terribly inconsistent.

God creates life and He has the right to terminate a life. Our lives belong to Him. If your argument is that the existence of death proves that life isn't sacred, then you're talking nonsense. In truth, God "kills" everyone- everyone's mortal existence ends when God says it will end- no sooner, no later.

If a person believes that mercy killing is OK, then what moral basis is there for the decision to end, or not end a life. You say that my argument that the only remaining options (once you deny transcendent absolute morals) are "economics or sentimentality" is presumptuous, but you don't offer any alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Your article gives that impression to me because it is a thinly veiled attack on atheism and agnosticism using Christian views.

So now you tie death to God and that suggests it is sacred too, then what matters the difference of life or death for it is still sacred?

"In truth, God "kills" everyone- everyone's mortal existence ends when God says it will end- no sooner, no later."

If this is the case from your view, then mercy killings are decided by God and when someone pulls the plug in such a mercy killing one has not killed the person but God has instead and so killed the person instead of providing some miraculous escape.

In fact every murder successfully conducted God wanted to happen and every attempted (failed) murder was not God's will. How many dead babies who died of this or that did God will? How many suicides? I think your belief that God owns life and gives and takes it away at his will alone is the nonsense. I think humans will plays a part in this. In fact I believe God gives us humans free will.

Indeed I don't offer any alternatives, it is after all what you are discussing not I. The real issue is you didn't think of any alternatives.

So let me provide something then. How about humanism? This one covers agnostics and atheists and provides a moral basis for various decisions outside the bible. How about philosophy? How about our consciousness? How about malice even? There are more options than these or economics or sentimentality to consider.