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June 05, 2008


Dana Ames

This is a very difficult issue. Except for my father, neither I nor my loved ones have been in this situation, and I was studying in Europe nearly the whole 14 months my dad was ill and dying with cancer.

I think there is still a difference between giving enough morphine to dull pain, with death as a byproduct of that, and giving enough morphine to purposefully induce death. I don't think there's any more dignity in "euthanasia" than in any other way of dying.

Death is an enemy Jesus had to defeat, which he did by entering into it. Classic Christianity's view of the "entering into it" part is enough theology for me to see that we don't have to struggle to hold onto life by "heroic" means, and that we don't have to be afraid of death. But classic Christianity's view of death as an enemy is also enough theology to give me great pause about calling any purposeful killing of a human being "humane".

Yes, fully valuing life demands valuing the reality of *all* of it before the grave as well. Even what makes us uncomfortable. There's a long line of wiser people than I who have found value in pain they couldn't avoid, and I think those voices need to be heard too.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.


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