Death: Separation of the soul from the body
In religious faith, human soul is what that provides life to an individual. The soul and the body cannot function independently as they depend on one another. Death occurs when the human body stops functioning. Death is the staring point for an individual’s new life. Religious faith purports that there is life after death, and that when people die they join the supernatural being in heaven. Therefore, the perception that separation of the soul and body, characterizing death, signifies new life is factual; according to religious faith. When individual is born it signifies a new life into the new world, and when he/she dies, it also signifies a new life in the other world. However, in reality, no one will exist eternally without dying and no one really comes and goes.
Religious faith: Attitudes towards Death
Religious faith demonstrates that there is live after death. Only those who are faithful to the creator or supernatural being will be given eternal life. Most of the people, who articulate to religious doctrine, tend to sanction acceptance attitude approach towards death. This has been attributed to the religious belief that there is life after death. Secondly, individual who are engrossed in religious teachings have reported a high degree of death anxiety. This demonstrates that religious teachings manifests in defensiveness and unpredictability towards death. Finally, with the acceptance attitude and anxiety attitude of the religious faithful, their combination results to an attitude of neutral acceptance (Ariés, 1974).
Medical definition of death
Death occurs when a person’s body parts stops functioning. Specific parts that may stop function in order to declare an individual dead include brain, breathing, and heartbeat (Brock, 1993). Unlike religious instinct n life after death, medical practitioners has no proof that there is life continues in another world when a person dies. When death occurs, the body and soul cease to function; therefore, they will not be transformed back to live when they have died. The definition is important to bioethics as it aims at analyzing the differences existing between religious definition and perception of death and the medical perception of death.
Dead: what is bad about it?
The thought that one day one will cease to have feelings, life will end, and the world will come to an end, are the worst thoughts of every human being. Indeed, it sounds like an awful experience and denotes the worst thing about dead. This are just human being’s thoughts as no one has ever experienced death, and its effect will never be felt by a dying person; therefore, it is difficult to ascertain that these experiences provides the bad side of death. According to Gavin (1995), death is not a life’s event, as such; people will not live in this world to experience the atrocity of death. Fear to die is a common scenario in most people, and it has been taken to be a natural feeling.
Knowing that you will die: life’s implications
Religious faith purports that we should always trust in supernatural being in order to assure ourselves on life after death. According to Dudley (1992), there is no difference in the way we live, after all everybody will have to die. Whether there is life after death or not, the society is governed by laws and regulations that ensure moral standards are upheld by individual within the region. However, where the laws would have not been in existence, the society would have been marred with immoral behavior, fights, thefts and discrimination. As human beings, we are much engrossed in the future rather than focusing on the current developments in the society. People are worried about death and their life after death. Though most people have experienced death of their friends or loved ones, it is difficult top restrain and to change the feelings that an individuals has towards death (Dudley, 1992). Whether negative or positive perception, we should know that everyone will one day die.
Epicurus’ view on death
Epicurus purports that death cannot be experienced by the individual who is dying. This perception is quite logical and undeniable as life is only experienced when human senses are functioning. Where the senses stop to function, that is when one is dead; life can no longer be experienced. Therefore, death is nothing to us. However, such a perception should not be envisioned to mean that death can be reversed, avoided or inexistence. Most of the religious doctrines attribute death as a temporary phenomenon, and that there is life after death. Epicurus argues that death exists, and it is both irreversible and inevitable, as such, no one can experience his or her own death if it is irreversible (Gavin, 1995). He points out that we should not be disturbed by death. Though we always experience the death of friends and individuals in the society, we should not be anxious as we cannot do anything about the phenomenon. Finally, Epicurus recommends that we should celebrate the death of our beloved ones rather moaning them.
Is Killing Human Beings Morally Wrong?
Killing another human being is morally wrong in the society. Not all killings can be wrong, as in some occasions, one may kill someone with an intention of disarming an attacker or in the case of self defense. However, killing an innocent life, whether unborn, infant or born, is morally wrong as it deprives human right to life. There is a clear connection between corresponding desires and individual’s rights (Ariés, 1974). Where an individual’s right is violated then corresponding desires will have been frustrated. In addition, the Bible and the Quran prohibits killing of human beings, and one may be subjected to severe punishment.
Abortion: Is it Morally Acceptable?
Abortion is the termination of pregnancy with an aim of preventing giving birth to an unborn child. Though the US laws does not permit unscrupulous ending of human life, in my view, I think abortion is morally permissible (Marshall and Nagel, 1974). Depending on the situation or challenges that the pregnant woman is facing, and then it is not prima facie morally wrong to end the life of an innocent unborn baby (Marshall and Nagel, 1974). One may be mentally challenged, not able to carry the pregnancy for the full period of 9 months, or emotional and financial problems. Although it is vital to uphold the right to life, generally, a fetus cannot be classified as a human being and the rights imposed to human beings should not be applied to fetus; specifically on the right to life—depending on the moral challenges facing the mother.
Most of the countries have legalized abortion. For the countries that still criminalize the act, I believe it should be accessible, legal and safe to everyone (Marvin, 1974). First, personal privacy and decision should be respected as it is the woman’s body that carries the pregnancy; therefore, she has a right to decide whether to terminate the pregnancy or to carry it. Secondly, neither the woman nor the pregnancy should be punished as the woman might have financial problems which may prevent her from taking good care of the child. Finally, criminalizing the act increases mortality rates as without accessible and safe places and methods to abort, women are subjected to untrained and unscrupulous abortionists that may lead to their death (Marshall and Nagel, 1974). The countries that illegalize abortion have not reduced the rate of abortion in those regions; thus, it makes no sense to criminalize the act.
Euthanasia: Is it Morally Acceptable?
Euthanasia is defined as ending an individual’s life with an aim of preventing suffering. Morally, ending human life is impermissible, but in the case where an individual is subjected to extreme pain and suffering, then ending his/her life may be permissible (Dudley, 1992). Although US law is strict on upholding human right to life, medical practitioners permit withholding of treatment to patients with an aim of ending life. Ideally, when the medical practitioners have imposed treatment to a patient without any form of recovery, and it has been declared that the situation is beyond the doctors’ action, then it will be prudent to end the life of the patient. This will relieve the patient from further pain and suffering.
Active and Passive Euthanasia: Differences
In active euthanasia, the physician takes direct action that aims at ending the life of a patient while passive euthanasia is where the physician withholds treatment with an intention of ending the patient’s life. In most instances, passive euthanasia is permitted while active euthanasia is illegal. There is moral difference between active and passive euthanasia. In active euthanasia, the act is humane as it does not subject a patient to pain (Brock, 1993). However, under normal scenario, there is no moral significance attached to letting someone die and killing.
Euthanasia: Should it be legalized?
Euthanasia should be legalized because it would be a way of protecting human rights and preventing cruelty on terminally ill individual. Ending the life of a critically sick patient would demonstrate compassionate, rational and humane decision. Foreign laws permit euthanasia, and most patients travel to these foreign lands as it is lawful and recognizes euthanasia (Brock, 1993). In addition, there is ambiguity in the form in which current US law on euthanasia applies, as physicians, friends, and families who accompanies the patient to the foreign land to end his/her life are not prosecuted. Finally, it is discriminatory as only the wealthy can meet the costs of travelling to foreign countries which permits euthanasia. The poor are left to suffer from the pain associated with acute illness facing them.
Ariés, P. 1974. Western Attitudes toward Death: from the middle ages to the present, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Brock, D. B. 1993. Life and Death: Philosophical essays in biomedical ethics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dudley, W. 1992. Death and Dying, Opposing Viewpoints, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1992, Chapt 1: ‘How should death be determined?’
Gavin, W. J. 1995. Cutting the Body Loose: Historical, biological, and personal approaches to death and dying, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Marshall, C., & Nagel, T. 1974. The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion, Princeton NJ, Princeton University press.
Marvin K. 1974. The Morality of Killing: Sanctity of life, abortion and euthanasia, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.
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