Instruction

The practice of health care providers at all levels brings you into contact with people from a variety of faiths. This calls for knowledge and acceptance of a diversity of faith expressions.

The purpose of this paper is to complete a comparative ethical analysis of George’s situation and decision from the perspective of two worldviews or religions: Christianity and a second religion of your choosing. For the second faith, choose a faith that is unfamiliar to you. Examples of faiths to choose from include Sikh, Baha'i, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc.

In your comparative analysis, address all of the worldview questions in detail for Christianity and your selected faith.

Once you have outlined the worldview of each religion, begin your ethical analysis from each perspective.
In a minimum of 1,500-2,000 words, provide an ethical analysis based upon the different belief systems, reinforcing major themes with insights gained from your research.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

 

Abstract

Hamlet’s question, “to be or not to be”, is likewise something all victims of a disease known as ALS ask themselves in regards to euthanasia. This paper is devoted to ALS and a death case study in order to show how different religions, Christianity and Buddhism, take serious illness and which views they have on euthanasia, long-living, and the relationship between a patient and god or their relatives. General patients’ condition is very vulnerable, and it is not rare for a patient to feel guilty and sorry for people who constantly surround them in order to keep them alive. The paper is divided into two parts; each of them presents basic beliefs and statements of one of the religions. The last part of narration shows one’s personal opinions on the topic of discussion, which is a case study on death and dying. This paper is intended to show how an ill person can cope with such feelings and thoughts within a comparative analysis and questions about two religions.

Introduction

Any religion is a guide for people who follow it. Christianity and Buddhism are no exceptions. When it comes to the concept of illness, any religion has its own views and attitudes on disease. Sometimes, it is hard to believe a religion can bring something good to people’s life as well as run it. This paper demonstrates how attitudes towards ALS through the prism of religion can has a serious impact on people’s lives and decisions. In this context, choosing religion over the rational, vital decision to follow doctors’ rules and recommendations can have a lot of bad consequences. A person should make their own decisions backed up by their own moral standards, but not by religion. If any religion can ruin someone’s life or make it worse, there is no sense for a human being to follow this religion. This comparison is aimed to show that religious views can oppose each other. Though it is wise to consult with religious doctrines when making important life decisions, a person should follow their own independent decisions when it comes to choosing between euthanasia and continuing to live one’s life.

Brief Overview of Each Religion

Christianity

What is prime reality? Prime reality for Christianity is a world that comes after death. According to the Old Testament, any human being’s life on the Earth is a preparation for the better life after their physical death; the concept is widely known as “afterlife”. In Christianity, a human being needs to use their life on earth as a test. They try to stay polite, humble, tolerant, and follow all rules given by the Old and New Testament. Unfortunately, such a concept does not imply a person could be happy or find happiness in the real world. Thus, many Christian people live in a “stand-by” regime when they wait for happiness to come in the next life. In addition, it is strictly prohibited to break the rules provided by Bible as any of these violations will be seen as disobedience, sin, and failure. The same practice happens in many hospitals as they apply this theory to illnesses (Ananth & Smith, 2008).

What is the nature of the world around us? The nature of the world around us is God. In Christianity, the concept is presented in Holy Trinity. Thus, the world is not chaotic and senseless because it has a meaning created by God to provide a model of “afterlife” to give people an opportunity to reach the perfect world. The universe has no specific order, it exists by function. Everything in nature lives and dies because of God’s will.
What is a human being? A human being is a product of God and a product of love (Penney, 2007). According to Christianity, any person is brought to this world not for any other purpose than to bring value to God and spread the word about him. Thus, Christians are obligated tp do a lot of good for the world. In addition, a person is brought to this world to help other people,as well as learn how to be compassionate and merciful. Moreover, one has to be observant enough to learn from own mistakes.

What happens to a person at death? Any person, no matter how they lived and who they were, comes to the afterlife. It happens not immediately after the person is dead, but on the 7th day. Once a week has passed, the body becomes useless and people bury it into the ground. Christianity claims that soul lives only once but forever, so it remains waiting for the Doomsday. The place where a person gets to after their death depends on their life. If they lived by the rules and praised Christ, their future life will be in paradise. However, if the person did not accept Jesus Christ as their savior and confessed their sins to him, that person will go to the hell.

Why is it possible to know anything at all? Christianity claims that people are blessed with feelings. They are able to taste something, to comprehend and produce information, to gain knowledge and insights into the world. It is possible to know anything by means of simple human perception. In other words, everything comes from God. The one and only authority in this religion is God or the Holy Trinity; it is the beginning and the end of everything alive and inanimate on the earth. My understanding of these things leads me to dive into the Old and New Testament as primary sources.

How do we know what is right and wrong? Any religion has its books and, as it was already mentioned, for Christianity it is the Old and New Testaments. The ten commandments serve as the primary rules for all Christians. Even people who are not well acquainted with this religion know that the devotees have no right to kill, trick, and do other things that do not correlate with Christianity. If one cannot decide if there is anything wrong with themselves, one should visit a church in order to have a conversation with a priest. As for the ultimate truth that helps decide what is right and what it wrong in life, a person should consult the Old and New Testaments first and foremost.

What is the meaning of human history? The significance of human history is bringing meaning to life, so people can learn from the past centuries and gain more experience. As for the purpose of life, there is no other purpose but to praise god and to do good. Speaking about history and its influence on future, Christianity does not accept any theories about karma (Bessinger & Kuhne, 2002). Any previous sins that were forgiven have no impact on the present or the afterlife of any Christian person.

Buddhism

What is prime reality? The prime reality of Buddhism is the life we live in the moment. Life it is an infinite uncrushable chain. The biggest value is to live in the present moment to the fullest and follow rules provided by Buddha (Wangu, 2009). In comparison with other religions, Buddhism appreciates the joys of life to the highest.

What is the nature of the world around us? The cosmology of Buddhism claims that there is a repetition of cycles of inception and destruction in the universe. Buddhist religion has no concept of the creation of the world by a supreme non-material being called God. The emergence of each new universe happens because of the aggregate karma of living beings of previous world cycles. Any person has to value their previous lives and understand their karma.

What is a human being? Human beings are not the ones who control the world and nature. Instead, they are equal to other creatures, including animals, insects, and spiritual essences. A human being in Buddhism is a consciousness with a special position in the world order. In other words, to be happy, to stay fulfilled, and to work on one’s spirit are the biggest and the highest values. A human being in Buddhism is an animate who has to find a piece of God in oneself.

What happens to a person at death? The main goal in Buddhism is to eliminate the chain of suffering and the illusion of rebirth and reach a metaphysical non-existence called nirvana (Wangu, 2009). In other world, a person cannot die fully as they will just start another life. A person can avoid the miracle of re-birth, but they have to break many rules and sin significantly. In the majority of cases, a person gets into the next world.
Why is it possible to know anything at all? According to Buddhism, one can know anything at all only when they reach nirvana, which is the highest spirit condition. A person gets knowledge about this world only thought meditation and finding themselves. While Christianity postulates that everything comes from God, Buddhism claims that a piece of God is presented in each of us. Understanding of God starts from understanding oneself. The only authority a person has is their own experiences and feelings. Once the person is at peace with their place in this world, it is easy to obtain understanding of the world that comes from the life itself.

How do we know what is right and wrong? People who follow Buddhism read Pali Canon and the Tripitaka which are the main texts of this religion. If a person has difficulties regarding their situation or decisions, they should engage in meditation (Bromley, 2012). In Buddhism, a person can understand what is wrong and what is right through meditation and communication with other people who have faith. Even though there is an ultimate truths provided by Buddha, this religion allows anyone to decide what is good and bad for themselves. The only exception is the generally defined sins.

What is the meaning of human history? Since there is a life cycle, any human memory and human story brings wisdom to the each next being which lives according to the doctrines of Buddhism. In Buddhism, being a human being means having many lives. Each of the previous animal or human incarnations need to work hard to help the next one reach enlightenment. In this religion, a person has to treat their previous lives with respect. trying to understand what their nature was and what it is currently.

Ethical Analyses of George’s Case

The Perspective of Christianity

How does this religion interpret the nature of George’s malady and suffering? Christianity does not perceive disease as being caused by something. Instead, any suffering in Christianity is considered to be a test and an experience. According to this religion, a person has to pass this test to prove they are strong and can cope with what life can bring. One should take this struggle and suffer as Christ did. The physical malady brought to George has no reason, but Christian God has provided him with time and power to cope with it.

This view of the value of the life of George. Any life is precious and George’s life is not an exception. According to Christianity, ALS patients have the same rights, rules, and beliefs as any other Christian(Penney, 2007). That is why all a patient should do is treat this disease with a stiff upper lip. In Christianity, a human being’s life is the biggest treasure as it is the one and only animate that can think and improve. A person could have been good or bad or even ended their life with suicide, but Christianity will do everything to justify their life, at least before the suicide.

How would this religion treat the idea of George opting for euthanasia? This religion takes the idea of euthanasia very negatively. According to Christianity, God is the only one who can give life and he is the one who can take it back. Any self-harm or suicide are seen as terrible sins, and that is why no euthanasia is acceptable. In other words, this religion will not accept such a decision at all. In all cases and under any circumstances, this action is considered to be the biggest sin.

How would this religion morally justify the decision that George makes? Even though any religion does everything to justify its followers, this religion will only slightly justify George. Unfortunately, such decision will have a very bad effect. George can even be buried outside the cemeteries where ground is consecrated, because euthanasia is treated as suicide (Huisman, Morales, van Hoof, & Kort, 2017). In addition, this religion will blame George because his choice was cruel to his wife and mother. One of the biggest sins in Christianity is to behave badly and cruelly towards people, especially the loved ones.

The Perspective of Buddhism

How does this religion interprets the nature of George’s malady and suffering? George’s malady and suffering were brought to him by his previous life or by his relatives. Their negative actions, their vengeful thoughts, and other actions resulted in his disease. In addition, one should understand that Buddhism does not see maladies as something good as they are brought by bad karma. Unfortunately, Buddhism claims it is not possible to avoid bad karma.

This religions view of the value of the life of George. ALS patients as well as completely healthy people are both valued by Buddhism, so there is no difference. George is as precious as any human being who follows Buddhism. Buddhism is not an exception when it comes to the treatment of human life. However, this religion insists a person must work on themselves to become a good animate in the next life. As for George, if he lived well and did a lot of good, his life will still be valuable.

How would this religion treat the idea of George opting for euthanasia? Buddhism treats the idea of euthanasia with respect, because this religion does not imply a person should suffer. If one wants to end their life on their own terms and commit suicide, they can do it. This religion is one of those rare ones that can justify this patient. Buddhism will do everything to treat the idea of euthanasia with respect.

How would this religion morally justify the decision that George makes? In comparison with other religions, Buddhism will justify George. It will be done for him as a person who does not want to provide a bad life for his family and who does not want to live a bad life. The religion will slightly justify George since such a gesture will split the holy cycle of lives. However, in comparison with other religions, this one is more compassionate and simple.

My Personal View

One cannot judge George if he wants to go through with euthanasia as it is his own decision. In addition, as one can see from the case study, George is not ruled by his own beliefs. He just does not want his wife and mother to treat him. In my mind, any religion is a discipline that helps people live their lives decently. However, there are exceptions to any situation. I think that if George wants to commit assisted suicide he can do it.

Conclusion

Christianity does not accept euthanasia and the concept of suicide in any form. On the other hand, Buddhism accepts euthanasia and does not welcome any sufferings for human beings. Thus, a patient can opt for it without any justifying. To emphasize the exceptional case, a person has their own motivations to opt for euthanasia and they must have a right to do so. George can do it, but only after he is sure he would really cause suffering to his mother and wife, as has been described in the case study.

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