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The Sanctity of Life Is More Important Than the Quality of Life

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The sanctity of life is the idea that all life is holy as it is created and loved by God and this idea is heavily sought by the majority of religions including Christianity and Hinduism. Euthanasia is generally not accepted in Hinduism due to it interfering with God’s plan as one would be separating the atman from the body prior to its natural time, therefore, disturbing the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth as death is seen as a door to the next birth, “so the Self forgets the old body, takes hold of another body” - Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Caring for the elderly is extremely vital in Hinduism and is one of the five things mentioned in the Bhagavat Purana, which states that doing so gives them a chance to prepare for a better life after death. Hospice’s help with this as they allow the elderly to redeem their religious merit to avoid future rebirth, in addition to allowing them a conscious departure. Old age is seen as related to wisdom, both commanding the greatest respect in Hinduism; it is considered to be part of one's Dharma to honour, respect and care for elderly relatives. “A man commands respect through his education, religious action, age, friends and wealth.” - Yajnavalkya 1:116. Active euthanasia is thought by the majority of Hindus to be a great sin and crime and ‘mercy killing’ would cause one to receive bad karma, on top of the karma from the dying person. This overall shows that, in Hinduism, the Sanctity of life is valued above the Quality of life as Hindus believe that all human life is sacred, which we know as one is very lucky if they have gained enough good karma in the previous life to be reborn as a human, and as it is created by God, therefore they are not so willing to end it.

Christians also believe that taking a life is interfering with God’s plan, therefore correlating with their belief in the Sanctity of life as they believe that human life should not be misused or abused as it is God’s creation. Many think euthanasia specifically is comparable to murder and is open to abuse, therefore defying the Sanctity of life’s key ideas. Christians believe that if there comes a point where suffering is unavoidable, going through this can bring one closer to God as they will understand the suffering Jesus had to endure. They understand that “all people deserve compassion and care in their suffering and dying”, but, however, euthanasia is not “considered acceptable” as it can “undermine human dignity” and is “morally wrong”. In addition, the Ten Commandments clearly state that “You shall not murder”, making it clear that the Sanctity of life is more important than the Quality of life as the general well-being of the person is not taken into account. We can see this belief further demonstrated in the case of Diane Pretty, a lady who died shortly after the government rejected her “right to die”, them stating that “ the right to private life does not include a right to decide when and how to die”. When she took her case to the European Court of Human Rights, she was met with a reply stating that the right to life was not determined by the quality of life so could not be interpreted as also giving a right to die, again showing the Quality of life is consistently undermined.

On the other hand, in Hinduism, the law of ahimsa states never to be violent and to not hurt another. This can be interpreted as one should lessen another suffering, allowing



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