Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Euthanasia and Torture

Joe Carter has a fascinating piece on an interesting ethical juxtaposition:

Recently there has been widespread discussion and news coverage on two seemingly unrelated topics – euthanasia and torture. Taken together, though, they reveal our peculiar attitudes and moral reasoning on suffering and death.

The modern ethical stance seems to lead to this:

Inducing suffering to prevent death is unconscionable but inducing death to prevent suffering is excusable

I recall another contrast. When Terri Schiavo was being slowly executed (where was the concern for suffering then?), Pope John Paul was dying a noble but excruciating death. I will never forget the image of him using his staff to keep him upright, which was in fact the Cross. To me he was clearly modeling the true "good death" where he used his final agonies as a points of identification with the sufferings of the Lord.

In the modern world suffering has no value. But commonsense tells us that pain has a valuable function. While it's pointless to impose a Christian view of pain on a secular world, it seems we need to find a rational justification that harmonizes with our view. This would offer an alternative to the false logic that negates Life by valuing it less than comfort.
papijoe 9:06 AM