Using the Divine Command Theory in the Assisted Suicide Debate

Assisted Suicide Using the Divine Command Theory

Euthanasia has emerged as a moral problem that still profoundly divides society. It involves a process of assisted suicide where a medical practitioner terminates the life of a critically ill patient to free them from their pain and suffering. Some refer to it as “mercy killing” to sanitize the act, as it often aims at people whose deaths would put an end to their plight. Doctors carry out this action after receiving a request from patients who want to leave the world in a dignified manner. However, there are certain moments when the individual is too sick to make this decision which is the reason why it is then delegated to the courts, medics or family to make this crucial decision on behalf on behalf of the individual in question. The specific dilemma that this subject brings up is whether an individual has the right to override the sanctity of life and decide to end their lives even when facing the most adverse of circumstances. Most people directly equate it to murder as it merely kills and drains the life out of the patient instead of allowing them to die a natural death (Brody 34). There is a stark difference in perspectives among different groups of people on the value of human life and whether or not someone has the right to end it. However, the divine command theory neither of the stance held by these two groups is correct. In this essay, I will apply the divine command theory in discussing euthanasia and its moral position in society.

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In using the divine command theory to discuss euthanasia, we first need to apply “Synthetic Assimilation” as a method of finding a unified approach in making a moral approach. It is also important to acknowledge that this approach does not lean on either side in the beginning. For one to structure the moral reasoning behind human behavior, we first have to look at the factual claims behind the theory. The first premise that we would have to use would have to be Cultural Relativism where something is only right or wrong is a culture says it is. There are those who would, however, beg to differ as the theory cannot function in a pluralistic society where there are many subcultures. It then assumes that all individuals in the country have a similar cultural upbringing (White 16). There would be a conflict between the subcultures due to the position held by this theory. Determining what is right or wrong would become a difficult task as it would be virtually impossible to know when one is mistaken. It holds that individuals can carry on with their actions without expecting any moral judgment from society. Even when people attempt to include religion as the moral motivation for their actions, we still have to grapple with the fundamental role it plays. In this view, it is a religion that is the origin of morality as the absence of God omits wrong or right.

From this theory, it is, therefore, necessary to deduce other stationary enactments that are responsible for the laws. It claims that God makes some connection to the moral codes and supports all the statutes it enacts. From, the Bible, we there is no specific scripture that neither forbids nor commands it. Premeditated murder is not allowed and seen as a selfish act. Taking a human life was only permitted during times of war or during the sentencing of an individual found guilty of a particular crime. According to the Ten Commandments, murder is forbidden with God asserting that he would require an accounting for the shedding of human blood (Vaughn and Dacey 24). An individual who went ahead and killed another individual would have to receive punishment in equal measure. The Bible does not condemn Judas for hanging himself after betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Moreover, there is a casual atmosphere that surrounds the manner in which the Bible approaches the issue of Saul asking his servant to kill him, who refused and was then subsequently executed for failing to honor the king’s wishes. I agree with theory’s verdict that individuals require active as opposed to passive means to take their own life. It is a humane way of allowing someone to die but at the same time make any moral difference. The argument also argues that even though the doctor’s role is to let the patient die naturally, they also play a significant role in the act. Deciding to enable an individual die is an action that is of great significance and needs to be subjected to a process of moral appraisal, in the same way, they arrived at killing them. The assessment would now require an evaluation of the compassion or wisdom behind the action.

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Detractors of euthanasia suggest that it is against the Hippocratic Oath that the doctors take before beginning their practice. It is, therefore, an act of consciously assisting a patient to die even when it is a taboo. Patients have been known to put the doctors in an awkward position when they ask the doctor to perform the act even when the practitioners are aware of the principles that they ought to follow.  There also are situations where a doctor advises a family to institute proceedings that would allow them to implement it, mainly when the process is costly for the family (Harris and Long 345). Life is said to be sacred which requires human beings to do whatever is in their power to forbid any form of assisted suicide in the medical profession. Furthermore, the slippery slope argument claims that euthanasia is a dangerous course to pick it would set a dangerous precedent for society. One of these consequences is a future program where all persons are seen as an economic burden to the government and lead to their extermination. If individuals go ahead and lobby for the legalization of this practice, it will change the very foundations of the healthcare system and the practitioner’s principles altered.  There also worries that legalizing it would lead to shifts in societal attitudes with some even choosing to embrace it voluntarily. Additionally, one cannot completely rule out the possibility of individuals with disabilities being pressured to accept euthanasia as a method that will cut down on the expenses that their family could be facing. It would, however, prove detrimental in the case of false diagnosis.

In conclusion, applying the divine command to the euthanasia argument reveals that it focuses on having compassion for individuals in pain and according to them with the dignity they deserve due to their freedom of choice. Individuals are expected to show compassion to the terminally ill who have a decision on whether they want to continue with a life devoid of quality. Nevertheless, there are those who continue to maintain that it is morally wrong as there is sanctity in life and persons are therefore not at liberty to end it.

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