As human beings, we find it almost impossible to discuss the spectral of death. Death is, after all, a terminal cessation of life, and beyond that lies an infinite unknown. Religious people will contend that there is a life after our bodily deaths, and secular folks like myself are apt to scoff at such delusional, fantastical transcendences of a mythical soul, which is worst if you bring into the picture a stark image of hell, which is essentially an eternal bonfire divinely created to burn the souls of unbelievers for eternity.
Regardless of our beliefs or non-beliefs, we can all agree to one thing: Death is real, and as the saying goes, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat. Death strikes us in all manner of conditions, from debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer's, to horrendous accidents, whether it is a fall from height or a vehicular accident.
While a swift, almost immediate death eliminates most of the pain for the impending death victim, all too often, people do not die a swift death. A cancer patient, for example, can undergo months and months of chemotherapy, suffer from its horrendous side-effects (Which can be more devastating and agonizing than the cancer itself) before drifting off into oblivion. Unfortunately, patients who suffer from terminal illnesses do not have access to a "choose-to-die" option, and are typically consigned to the ignominy of wasting away and wallowing in sorrow and pain as they journey towards the inevitable.
While there are calls from secular organizations to legalize euthanasia (which is already legal in some secular countries, most notably Holland) for terminally-ill patients, many religious folks, particularly of the Christian-Judeo front, are dead set against the idea of clinical-assisted suicide, and I shall begin by elucidating the rather erroneous and archaic tenets behind their misguided objections.
The Divinity of Pain
If history is anything to go by, one of the pillars of Christianity has always been about pain.
Oh yes, my friends, Christians have a serious penchant in both inflicting and receiving pain. In fact, I would go so far as to declare that Christianity is built primarily on the basis of its morbid fixation of pain.
The Flagellants, a 13th century cult group founded on behalf of their master, Jebus, were actively promoting self-flagellation: It was believed that self-immolation constitutes a form of penance against Sin, & such a practice reached its fervor during the Bubonic Plague, when it was believed that the disease was a punishment of God for man's proclivity towards Sin.
(And if you think that such an archaic practice is scoffed at by Christians, check out these Filipino Christians who willingly nailed their asses to the cross during every God-damned Good Friday).
Christians love to sprinkle a good, liberal dose of sadism too: All manner of tortures and punishments were meted out for a wide-ranging list of misdemeanors (Check out this post I wrote: Feel free to choose your favorite torture tool) against the common masses. A seemingly innocuous crime of, say, looking like a witch could earn you a place in the burning bonfire, where you can be slowly roasted alive, much to the delight of the audience (If you manage to flee, an effigy will be burned in your place. Praise Jebus).
Whipped, and be whipped. That is the standard mantra of the Jebus cult.
Suffering & Death Is God's Divine Plan, Not Man's
Most religious folks will often invoke the "Man Playing God" argument: Man, it seems, is to be servile and humble in the presence of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent deity who can do no wrong.
Just to play along with this quaint little argument, if God was to direct you to commit atrocity, such as dispatching troops to fight in an unnecessary and mass-killing war (think Iraq), you should obey with unflinching and unquestioning loyalty. Same thing goes, if God tells you to kill your son (In the bible, God orders Jacob to kill his son as a blood sacrifice, only to stop him at the very last min. What a way to prove thy faith!!!!).
I wonder if this "Playing God" argument comes into play if the Christian gets sick, or is in need off a blood transfusion? Besides the few morons who tend to refuse medical services (Particularly of the Mormon/Moron variety), how many Christians truly do not want Man to "play God"?
Clearly, most Christians are pretty selective in using this half-assed argument. They will play God as long as their asses are on the line, and they refuse the right of Medical Science to extend this privilege to a dying man who obviously has no hopes of a cure left to die a painless, dignified death.
The Sanctity of Life
Life, according to religious folks, is sacred: God creates us, and it would be a moment of folly for us frail humans not to recognize this supposed "fact".
The sheer ludicrousness of this sanctity bullshit argument can be easily dismissed: 300,000 lives were lost in an instant when the 2005 Tsunami pounded the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and even places as far away as Somalia, considering that the underground earthquake which triggered this water deluge took place of the seas of Indonesia. Millions of children will die every year because they don't have enough to eat. Witness the lives of elderly people suffering from Parkingson's Disease, and one begins to ask:
What kind of fucking sanctity are these morons taking about!!!?
Nazi Pope Loves Suffering?
When it comes to being "pro-life", we know how "pro-life" our favorite Nazi pope is: Save the fetuses, but really, who gives a damn about the rights of the Mothers?
& as always, he does have something very "enlightening" to tell us secular folks:
Pope to sick: 'Accept death at hour chosen by God'
In his homily, the pope said the ill should pray to find "the grace to accept, without fear or bitterness, to leave this world at the hour chosen by God." The Vatican vehemently maintains that life must continue to its natural end. ...The pope urged the ailing to remember that "dignity never abandons the sick person." "Unfortunately we know only too well: the endurance of suffering can upset life's most stable equilibrium, it can shake the firmest foundations of confidence, and sometimes even leads people to despair of the meaning and value of life," the pope said. "There are struggles that we cannot sustain alone, without the help of divine grace," he said.
Ah, some dignity indeed. As the terminally-ill patient lies there, immobile, shitting or wetting his diapers, the nurse swaggers in, gives the patient a disgusted look, and changes his or her diapers because the patient can no longer control the movements of his or her bowels.....I wonder if the pope is talking sense here. What kind of dignity is there left in a hollow body which can no longer function normally?
Divine grace my ass, really. The irony of it all: The Pope was making his speech at Lourdes, home of the Catholic-inspired miracle capital, where a drink of the water could supposedly cure you of diseases (assuming the water, which is consumed by millions, isn't contaminated enough to kill you first!).
The Real Issue With Euthanasia
The issue of Euthanasia is definitely uncomfortable and should be seriously debated. How should Euthanasia be applicable, and on what basis should it be enforced? These are questions which legislators, not popes and priests, should be discussing so as to limit abuse and legitimize assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients.
That said, it would be a disaster if religious irk who are more enamored with the Rapture and God-sanctioned BDSMs try to bull-doze their way into such issues. When religion is involved, every legitimate issue will become bastardized beyond recognition.
Like abortion, Euthanasia is not a comfortable choice, but it should not be denied to patients who refuse to endure the pain and indignity of an ignominious end, and to choose to die painless and with dignity, and not leave their ends to Mother Nature or the whims of religious bigots and their stupid Godfather in Heaven.
Priests ... these turkey-cocks of God.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1888), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations