Do you suppose Pope Francis has signed medical directives? You know, so that his wishes are carried out in the event he becomes physically or mentally incapacitated? He is after all 84.
How about many of the other religious icons and television evangelists we’ve seen through the years. As they age, do you suppose they are getting medical directives put in place, or might this be considered a lack of faith on their part?
My credit goes to Thomas Reese and his article Who gets to unplug the pope for inspiring me to ponder these questions.
The quandary as I see it, is that Pope Frances is the world’s most revered spiritual icon. Presumably, he has lived a life of faith and continues to trust God with every moment of his life. Which means, if the pope were to suddenly have a debilitating stroke and needed to be kept alive by machines, one could assume that this is exactly how God destined the pope’s life to end.
Faith trumps science
A similar dynamic is at play for many believers who wrestle through the quandary of whether to trust science or God. Such as Jehovah’s Witnesses who refuse blood transfusions, or Christian parents who refuse take their sick children to the hospital because they think medical intervention goes against God’s will.
This also goes for religiously inclined anti-vaxxers, who refuse to get vaccines based on the advice of the church or its leaders. They don’t trust the science behind the vaccines, and they might even be thinking vaccines are the work of the devil. Either way, they are refusing to get a vaccine based on the grounds that they think God is testing their faith.
I don’t envy believers who don’t trust science, who view the advancement of mankind as though it ran contrary to God’s will. For one thing, they live in a perpetual state of hypocrisy. To a great extent, the life they enjoy now comes by way of all the advancements mankind has made right up until today. And yet, they are refusing to accept the one scientific miracle in the form a vaccine that could save their own lives.
Back to medical directives . . . Whether or not the pope has signed his own medical directives is unknown, but should we expect any of today’s popular religious leaders to get their own medical directives? Shouldn’t they be putting their faith in God rather than science?
Here’s the real irony of why the pope and other religious leaders must sign legal documents to prevent them experiencing possible physical and emotional pain at the time of death.
You ready for it?
In many parts of the world that are heavily influenced by biblical traditions, the belief that you cannot leave this world until God calls you is the law of the land. So, no matter how much a person might be suffering, these traditions still dictate what people can do, and people must resort to secular legal documents in order to get around them.
To put it more bluntly, Christian traditions allow for a great deal of human misery and suffering particularly when a person is dying. Although we live in an age when most people want to alleviate the suffering and pain of the dying, our legal system—still mired in archaic biblical ideas—rarely allows for it.
Consequently, everyone (even popes and religious leaders) should take care of getting their own medical directives.
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