Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Faith and Theology: On assisted suicide: the problem with choice

Faith and Theology: On assisted suicide: the problem with choice

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This blog post and the related letter raise an interesting question about the nature of autonomy and personal choice in the debate about assisted suicide. Is our Western notion of autonomy and choice largely illusory and socially determined (as in the Bantu word ubuntu - I am who am because of you, and vice versa, the choices we make and the lives we lead we do in relation to one another, not in isolation)?

It gives pause for thought in the mounting debate about the decriminalisation of assisted suicide in the UK, in particular when autonomy and choice are the principle arguments in favour of legalisation.

1 comment:

Yewtree said...

To me, the main problems are that the relatives might put pressure on elderly dependants "not to be a burden", or that they might feel that way anyway, even if there was no pressure; and that you can't change your mind afterwards (some people with apparently terminal chronic illnesses have recovered).

If "God" is seen as the ground of our being and the community of ubuntu, and the suicide has huge knock-on effects on others (grief, guilt, copy-cat suicides), then I would agree that assisted suicide is a matter of theology.

But I think it's mainly a matter of practical ethics.