(Original post by Calumcalum)
Also, if I could ask, what is the general feeling about assisted dying among your church communities? I was at church yesterday and there was an announcement about praying against legalisation of it etc, "for many reasons, the main one being that... it's just anti-Christian". But it seems to me like it's one of those things which is accepted by most Christians without actually thinking through a solid scriptural basis for it. Although I'm definitely pro-life when it comes to abortion, I can't really see as much good theological reason to be anti-euthanasia (nor anti-legalisation of euthanasia), so found it quite awkward hearing that announcement... any help??
What kind of cases are we talking about here? It's probably quite important to consider that we're not necessarily just talking about end of life, terminally ill scenarios. Let's say, for example, a person is disabled but suicidal. They are unable to take their own life due to their disability, and many campaigners would want a doctor to be able to assist them in dying.
Theologically, I struggle to find any reason to allow some of the key premises in pro-euthanasia arguments - that we are at liberty to choose to die, or that the value of life is determined by the level of pleasure/suffering in it. If the latter is true, it seems to me as though a person ought to be allowed to elect to die if he thinks the remainder of his life will, on balance, contain more suffering and pain than pleasure (for example, a severely depressed person). This will have some rather unfortunate consequences for those on the margins of society, or those in deep poverty (and I think our duty to them biblically is clearly one of compassionate care instead).
I think Randdom makes some good points in her post too - I am very worried about the situation in, say, the Netherlands (where eldery patients are often afraid to go into hospitals, because 'euthanasia' without consent is widespread, for reasons such as 'needing beds'). I do not think it can be kept within strict enough conditions to prevent these kind of tragedies.
I think (as Randdom also points out) that there are some good prophylactic reasons for keeping it illegal too. If we allow euthanasia, money, effort and time goes into providing those services, at the expense of care. This then shifts the focus from supporting patients to killing them, and will probably make it more likely that people will elect for euthanasia when otherwise they wouldn't want to (if care were better). I think this kind of thing has already happened with abortion - because it was legalised, money that could have been spent on assisting women with children through school/uni, providing proper sex education, childcare etc has been diverted, and abortion is now seen as the only real option for many women.