Assisted Suicide and an Image Problem

Assisted Suicide and an Image Problem April 7, 2024

In Switzerland, Nitrogen Pods used for suicide were introduced in 2021.

I Want to Preface This Article By Stating This…

I cannot imagine what someone has to go through in order to have the desire to take their life. Simply put, the reason varies from person to person. For some it could be a big life event that causes intense destress, crippling debt, mental illness, or something else. For others it could be a variety of factors. This being said, people who struggle with mental distress to the point of wishing to take their life should be loved and cared for. If this is you, you need to know: You have inherent value and worth. Your use to society is not what drives your value and worth but it is inherent to you as a human being created in the image of God. You are loved deeply by the creator. And the problems that you are facing now are temporary.

Please seek help; Do not go through with it; know that this life is not the end. I’ve been there.

The World Stage

As you could imagine, I was heartbroken when I saw the news… After the diagnosis of depression and autism, and in seeing no way out, a 28 year-old dutch woman in the Netherlands is scheduled to be euthanized in early May. Other than those diagnoses, she is, in most ways, a physically healthy woman who is leaving behind a boyfriend. My heart goes out to her and her family as she accelerates the end of her life. I cannot imagine what she is dealing with. Yet I pray that her decision is able to be changed and that she has a change of heart.

Cases like this aren’t new in Europe. The Netherlands legalized assistive suicide in 2001.

Below is a graph showing the number of Euthanasia cases in the Netherlands from 1998-2022 (Sorry for the quality. Here’s a Link to the original grap.) In 2022, 8,000+ people were euthanized.

I’m going to type that out again.

In 2022, 8,000+ image bearers, who are loved by God and have value and worth that transcends their circumstances were killed by the hands of doctors in The Netherlands.

As of 2023, countries such as Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, Spain, Australia, and New Zealand have all legalized the practice. In Switzerland the creation of suicide pods has created quite a buzz.

The Message…

While the practice of euthanasia for human beings has been legalized under the guise of mercy, it seems to communicate a pretty strong message:

If you are depressed – you value less.

If you are sick or simply aged – you value less.

Are you diagnosed with autism or struggle with Parkinson’s? Then you value less.

Are you incapacitated in some kind of way – Your value as a human being has taken a hit.

The legalization of this practice also places a humanity as the authority over who lives and who dies.

This is flies in the face of the Christian story and the Christian stance on the value of human beings.

 

Do you find it odd that doctors who should be committed to healing and caring for human beings in crisis are not able to and are sometimes encouraged to kill the human beings they are caring for? A doctor being encouraged to authorize assisted suicide because someone’s life isn’t worth living should send shivers down your spine.

In the West…

It is strange that human beings have come to such a place. Yet maybe there is another way.

… There has long been an understanding that human beings are special. Broadly, we hold the assumption that each human being is due respect, value, and dignity.

Even atheists who believe that there is no God and who adopt the evolutionary model for human origins must adopt a standard for humanity that only exists in a theistic framework for this assumption to operate. Otherwise, we are no different than animals.

It makes sense that as Europe has walked away from its Christian roots, that the embers of Christian values is slowly being smothered. Should Europe, the U.S, and Canada, continue down this route, we should not be surprised if there is a cultural upheaval.

We are all living off the fumes of the past, and should we not replace the fuel with something else, then catastrophe is upon us.

What’s The Answer?

Obviously, a reclamation of a culture with the conviction that human beings have worth, value, and dignity regardless of their role in society is imperative if we are to function properly.

Now is the time for us to reclaim our Christian past and place the burden of determining human worth and value back on Go. He can handle it. And He has handled it in the beginning. And simply put, we don’t have the capacity to handle a responsibility of this magnitude.

In the book of Genesis, we see God create human beings:

So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”” – Genesis 1: 26-28

God created us in His image. He did not give the animals the same courtesy. His role for us is to partner with Him in caring for and reigning over the earth and to multiply. When it came to condemning murder in Genesis, “God’s Image” was imperative to the argumentation.

Scandal with the Image

Paul, with this understanding of human value in his Greco-Roman context, makes the startling claim that in Christ all are one. We see in Galatians 3: 26-28 that Paul makes the revolutionary claim that in Christ, the opposites of society are equal: Jews and Gentiles, Slave and Free, Male and Female.

In a world, like the Roman West, where men have their way with anyone they wanted, including young boys, where slaves are considered to have no intellect, and women and children are half-human, a statement like Paul’s was revolutionary. In his letter to Philemon, a slave owner who became a Christian, Paul insists that he receives Onesimus back as a brother, further driving home the point of human equality regardless of societal role. While Philemon has the right to have Onesimus killed as his slave, Paul insists that slave and free were equal.

With an understanding of the imago dei as his backdrop, Paul and the Christian movement flipped the social order on its head. It’s no longer about power and domination, but cohabitation in the family of Christ.

This is what we must return to in The West.

Only Christian theism can provide the answers to our questions of Worth, Value, and Purpose. Only a return to this understanding of human dignity can hold up to our claims of inherent human rights.

A return to Christian ethics can only adequately happen with a return the Christ as Lord.

Let us place our crowns to Him in the west again. He writes the story. God answers our deepest questions about who we are. And the Christian worldview gives us the framework for who we are.

Do you think the answer to our value questions is a return to Theism in the West? Drop a comment below!

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