Taboo too: Euthanasia

WEB TEAM Message, Message-audio, Ray Sawatsky, Taboo

Summary of Taboo too: Euthanasia


Ray comments that euthanasia is an interesting topic because many of us only experience this issue on a theoretical level. Recently in Canadian politics the liberal part (lead by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) put forward legislation to legalize doctor assisted death. Ray also comments on how this issue is old – it even trickles down into our entertainment. He uses an example from Hamlet.

Defining some germs

  1. Suicide – taking one’s own life voluntarily.
  2. Euthanasia – the act of putting to death without pain, usually referenced in animal deaths
  3. Mercy killing – the deliberate killing of a person who is in pain.
  4. Assisted suicide – suicide that is aided by another person (like a physician.)

How are we now asking doctors to “do harm”?

This goes against the hippocratic oath we ask doctors to agree to. How did we get to this point?

  • 1993 – Sue Rodriguez took a case all the way to the supreme Court requesting assisted suicide.
  • 2015 – The Carter Case uses the concept of a Canadian’s right to perform suicide on oneself. The supreme Court agreed that the current law denied a citizen the right to suicide.
  • 2016 – Legislation is introduced towards legalizing assisted suicide.

The great lie

We have tricked ourselves into believing we can determine the value of life. We can’t determine the value of a life. We cannot see into the future and see what the life brings of value.

Gen 1:26-28 and 1 Cor 3:16-20

  1. Christians also choose life
    We believe that life is sacred. We believe that life is sacred from conception to natural death. This means we can’t agree with abortion and assisted suicide. Jesus came and beat death. Jesus’ resurrection is an example of a culture of life — that we no longer have to fear death.
  2. All human beings are image bears (made in the likeness of God)
    We have moral self awareness. We can see the value of our own lives. We are all created equal in God’s eyes — he made every life sacred. These qualities are founded in our created likeness to God.
  3. Every human is a spiritual being
    God is a Trinity. We have body, soul, and spirit.
  4. There is a time to live and time to die
    God has a central role in our start (our conception). God determines the design of every life. We aren’t here out of chance. God is also present at the end of life.
  5. The body is more than a vessel, it is a temple (1 Cor 3:16-17)
    We must exercise control over our body because God has described our bodies as temples. We must honour our bodies (our lives.)

Why should Christians care about euthanasia?

We need to care about euthanasia so that those who are sick, mentally ill, poor, or viewed as “less value”, have a voice. We need to stand up against the notion that “it is better to be dead than disabled.”

The Christian response:  

  1. Our lives are scared.
  2. We need to be merciful and compassionate. We must do all within our power to relieve pain. We accept passive death – “when nature takes its course”
  3. We need to be present in the lives of our loved ones who are in an end of life situation.

About this Message Series

This is a message in a series called Taboo Too. This series was started in April, 2016, with the purpose to bring to light all the topics we like to hide in the dark. This is the second Taboo series of messages that covers the most awkward topics in church culture.

About the Speaker

Ray Sawatsky is a partner at SouthRidge.  For the past 10 years, Ray has worked in a variety of capacities in public square, specifically working on issues of faith in public spaces, social architecture and religious freedom.  Ray current works for Cardus, a Christian think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture. Drawing on more than 2000 years of Christian social thought, Cardus works to enrich and challenge public debate through research, events, and publications, for the common good.   Specifically, Cardus works in the areas of Education and Culture, Health, Law, Social Cities, and Work and Economics.  In recent months Ray has spent considerable time on the issue of Euthanasia legislation in Canada.