Comparative Ethical Analysis Medicine and Religion
The paper will analyze some aspects of Buddhism and Christianity and how they sometimes contradict with medical ethics or healthcare givers’ point of view. It provides background view from a religious standpoint and how they draw their conclusions regarding the end of life decisions from their ethical guidelines. Introduction. There have been many instances in history when intense, and sometimes fanatical debates that emanate from peoples’ differences in ethical and religious believes regarding the end of life decisions. Some of these debates have revolved around obtaining patients consents like in George’s case. Death is considered common but unnatural. God sent his only beloved son as a sacrifice so that believers may have an eternal life. Christians, therefore, consider death an enemy but a defeated one (Beauchamp, 2003).
Christians should not fear death or hold on to life too tightly, a belief that seems to support George’s decision. George is dying, and when someone is dying, it means the person has entered the dying process. According to the Ten Commandments killing is forbidden. By aiding the death of a critically ill patient who has consented to do it, will the doctor have sinned? According to Christian believes such an act is morally unacceptable and should not even be contemplated. What role then, should medical practicing give to autonomy and benefice? Death is a transition according to Buddhism. The dead person will be reborn in a new better life whose quality depends on karma (Jung, 2008). The problem according to Buddhism is that humans do not know how the next life will look like.
George’s situation according to Buddhist doctrines does not warrant euthanasia. However, Buddhism also believes that if a person has more happiness and peace in the next life then the act of ‘mercy killing’ may be justified. The concern of Buddha was that the person might be reborn in another life where the realm of suffering is worse than their present condition. Buddhism seems to coincide with Christianity in this view who also believes that life after death is better, even though they do not know how. The principle of beneficence and Buddhism do not agree at all. The Doctors will, therefore, need to evaluate whether any medical decision will provide the benefit or undue suffering to George. Actions of beneficence and non-maleficence were emphasized by Jesus when He gave the story of the Good Samaritan where a man going down Jerusalem fell on robbers and was injured.
When the Good Samaritan found him, he showed compassion and went to the man, bound his wounds and poured him oil. Jesus asked the crowd to always behave like the man who showed mercy. Medical practitioners therefore according to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ should show mercy to the sick and vulnerable. Christians believe that diseases and suffering are Gods trials to bring them closer to salvation and eternal life after death. Ezekiel in the Bible was tried by God and suffered for 15 years. He lost all his wealth and dignity but still trusted that God would heal him eventually. The suffering of Ezekiel affirms the Christian believe that nothing is beyond God’s control. In the case, regarding George, the decision to take his own life is morally wrong.
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