Lord Carey2a
Ethics & Morality

Lord Carey is wrong to support state-sanctioned assisted suicide

 

Apparently the UK is “closer than ever” to introducing legislation which will permit the terminally ill to end their lives at a time and place of their choosing. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill simply will not die: it is deemed to be the virtuous and noble solution to the problem of unbearable suffering; the only ethical and justly moral response to a heartless society which insists on sustaining lives which simply no longer wish to be lived. We treat dogs better.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey is amongst the signatories to a letter demanding that the political parties pledge to giving this Bill parliamentary time after the General Election, in order that the issue might be finally resolved. By “resolved”, they mean, of course, that the Bill must be passed, or the issue has not been “resolved” to their liking and will simply need to be revisited until Parliament votes correctly. The only settled conclusion that is acceptable is the one which concludes a settlement in favour of ‘assisted dying’. The argument is teleological; the trajectory is locked.

Proponents of the Assisted Dying Bill tend not to like international comparisons with, say, Belgium, which now euthanises children; or the Netherlands, where 650 babies were ‘put to sleep’ in 2013, many because their parents were unable to bear their children’s suffering. Dutch doctors will now obligingly kill you if you are depressed or have tinnitus. But we Britons are seemingly much more able to guarantee the necessary safeguards to ensure judicial oversight for the protection of the most vulnerable. There will be no ‘slippery slope’ as has afflicted the Belgians or Dutch because we will have the strictest of strict safeguards, including a ‘six-month-to-live’ clause; the requirement for two doctors – yes, two – to approve the procedure’; and a High Court judge to put his judicial seal on the termination.

Proponents of the Assisted Dying Bill tend also not to like legal-ethical comparisons with, say, abortion, the legislation for which also promised strict safeguards to protect the most vulnerable, including the requirement for two doctors to approve the procedure. But, as we have seen over just a single generation, those safeguards are now routinely circumvented and protections diluted to the point of moral hollowness. We now abort babies for being female, and do so seemingly with impunity.

Parliament cannot guarantee that the ‘last resort’ of euthanasia will not become, over time, the expedient normative of the ‘pro-choice’ society. If it may become the standard means of dispatch in the Netherlands – such that some 6,000 people now opt for that desired end – there is nothing to guarantee that Lord Falconer’s Bill will not become the British norm. Those who support this Bill would be wise to heed the words of Professor Theo Boer, the Dutch ethicist who supported euthanasia and oversaw the legislation when it was introduced in the Netherlands. “Don’t do it, Britain,” he urged last year. “Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely ever to go back in again.”

Whatever Lord Carey strongly believes or passionately expresses, and however well-intentioned and honourable he may be, he is simply wrong on this matter, and his successor at Lambeth Palace and the Church of England are right. For Justin Welby, ‘assisted suicide’ is dangerous, abusive and mistaken. For the Church of England, “Patient safety, protection of the vulnerable and respect for the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship are central”.

Ah, but ‘assisted dying’ did not conceptually exist in the Ancient Near East; nor is the word euthanasia in the Greek NT, you may charge. And you would be quite right. But biblical morality is not confined to Hebrew jots and tittles, and Christ’s teachings cannot be limited to the words of text; they must extend to the whole pattern of thought which they imply. And that means there may be areas where theological argument is expounded from broader principles, and the practice of euthanasia is one such example, for it is unconditionally inconsistent with biblical ethics, even though it is not explicitly condemned in the biblical text.

And because it is not specifically mentioned, it is important to keep the argument open to public examination and political discussion. There is more to morality than expressions of political will and the force of public opinion. Morality is much more than what man desires or creates. The sanctity of life is subject to divine reckoning, and God never promised that life would be easy. To be painlessly happy and to conquer every form of discomfort and inconvenience is the dream of modernity. But since it is unattainable in nature, we seek superficial means of anaesthetising and immunising ourselves to suppress our suffering, and by doing so we rob ourselves of the deeper purpose of and passion for life.

How long will it be before we are killing the physically disabled and mentally ill because we are unable to cope with the sight of their suffering, or even to mitigate the burgeoning costs of their care? Lord Carey cannot know; nor can he promise. Instead of joining the deathly chorus of celebrity secularists, humanists and theological liberals, he might reflect on the instances of suffering in the Bible and consider what doctrine of God might be conveyed by the Book of Job if the comforters had been permitted to assist their friend to pass into eternity. What vindication would there have been? What of God’s glory would have been revealed?

If we are to care pastorally and compassionately for the elderly and disabled, we cannot entertain the option of  ‘assisted suicide’ for the terminally ill. Lord Carey undoubtedly cares, but he needs to care a little more for the inevitable unethical consequences of not caring for the weak, dependent, defenseless and poor.

  • Albert

    I was surprised to see George Carey being part of this. The last time he spoke up in favour he was round thrashed, not least because his argument did not support the law he was defending.

    Proponents of the Assisted Dying Bill tend not to like international comparisons with, say, Belgium, which now euthanises children; or the Netherlands, where 650 babies were ‘put to sleep’ in 2013, many because their parents were unable to bear their children’s suffering. Dutch doctors will now obligingly kill you if you are depressed or have tinnitus. But we Britons are seemingly much more able to guarantee the necessary safeguards to ensure judicial oversight for the protection of the most vulnerable. There will be no ‘slippery slope’ as has afflicted the Belgians or Dutch because we will have the strictest of strict safeguards, including a ‘six-month-to-live’ clause; the requirement for two doctors – yes, two – to approve the procedure’; and a High Court judge to put his judicial seal on the termination.

    There is real metaphysical evil at work here. What pro-death people do is try to argue as if the slippery slope argument is some kind of fallacy. It isn’t, it’s the way all these liberal things go: permission, abuse, norm.

    • CliveM

      Albert

      I agree. If someone could point to an instance where the slippery slope argument hasn’t been proven correct, I would be surprised.

      • bockerglory

        Can you remember the TV series Logan’s Run -, it was prophetic! Assisted Suicide will certainly help reduce NHS costs as cancer treatment in the 65+ age group is a massive cost. And the 85+ yr olds will cost even more and are often too old to get to the polling booth (so have no value to the Politicians).

        I think this is the real reason why pro-euthanists are being listened to as it is all about DEBT in Geriatric Old World Countries (GWOCs) because of “oldies”. I feel so sad about this Bill as it will devalue any life that has physical suffering. For those of us who are not rich and live in GWOCs it is the slippery slope for controlled mass euthanasia AND FUTURE BABIES OF THE NON-RICH WILL HAVE “SELL (KILL) BY DATE” like some commodity. Because that is what humans are in this material world – humans are a voting consumer commodity and when humans become unprofitable (costs greater than consumerism benefit) they can kill us off to keep the GDP high and EPS and EBITDA figures high.

        (of course the Rich & celebs will always be able to afford palliative care so they will keep delighting us on TV screens for decades).

        • CliveM

          Yes I can, good film as well. If this bill passes and Lord Carey lives long enough, I believe he will express his regrets in supporting a bill, which failed to protect those he believes it will protect.

          But by then it will be to late.

        • dannybhoy

          I do remember “Soylent Green” with Charlton Heston, in which Anglican ministers upon reaching a certain age were slipped a ‘mickey finn’, and whilst waiting for death given a free film show of “Archbishops down through the ages.”
          Their dead bodies subsequently rendered down and turned into something edible…

          Something like that.

          http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/

          • CliveM

            Eh? Never heard of that before!

          • Uncle Brian

            Or the suicide booths in the streets of New New York, in Futurama.

          • dannybhoy

            How very morbid of you!

    • Terry

      superb summary the last 3 words – permission, abuse, norm

  • Linus

    Ah, I see. Simply by claiming to have access to ultimate truth, Christians can resort to any tactics they please in order to push their agenda forwards. If their opponents do the same, they’re evil, hypocritical and autocratic. But citing God as the motivating factor makes everything you do in his name holy.

    Wow. I now see how Christians have justified murder, torture and oppression down the ages. If you do it for God, it must be right. Right?

    This is the basic reason why I would support any move to have religion – pretty much any religion, but especially Christianity, Islam and Judaism – classified as a psychiatric disorder. To me it’s a manifestation of the human desire to dominate and control made pathological by the interposition of an invisible god through whom autocratic impulses are projected onto the world around the believer. Even the meekest and mildest can dream of the revenge his god will wreak on everyone who ever did him any harm. And he never has to prove anything. All he has to do is believe.

    I now see why Christianity in particular appeals to so many of the marginal and disadvantaged in society. Even the meanest and least talented among us can be autocrats by divine proxy. What a power trip!

    • B flat

      This is not irony, or even satire. It is simply hate speech of yet another “liberal” pseud, who wishes to destroy what he has not managed to understand. It does not connect in any way to HG’s article.
      Like a bullying coward, it exploits the voluntary vulnerability of those who follow Christ Who requires us to “love your enemies and do good to those who hate you.” Really pitiful.

      • Dominic Stockford

        He’s a troll. Ignore him.

        • Uncle Brian

          A troll and a fake. I don’t believe he’s French.

          • carl jacobs

            Why?

          • Uncle Brian

            Hi Carl. It’s the phrase “the feast of Saint-Barthélémy”. In those five words there are two things that don’t ring true. First, someone who writes English as well as Linus does would call it “St Bartholomew’s Day”. Putting it in French looks suspiciously like an artificially contrived Gallicism, like Hercule Poirot complaining about a “current of air” in his hotel bedroom, as though he had never heard the English word “draught” (or “draft”, if you insist). The real giveaway, though, is the second acute accent. Certainly native speakers of French make spelling mistakes from time to time, but they would typically switch one spelling for another where the two words are pronounced identically, such as “entré” for “entrer”. If Linus had ever been a schoolboy in France, he would have heard his teachers mention this celebrated date in his country’s history any number of times, invariably pronouncing the name as though it were spelt “Barthelmy”. Only a foreigner, who had seen the word in print but might never have heard it spoken aloud, would be tempted to put an acute accent on that particular “e”. Conclusion: Linus, like Hercule Poirot, is a fictional character dreamed up by a native speaker of English.

          • carl jacobs

            Uncle Brian

            I wonder if some phrases are just so natural that it wouldn’t even occur to us to translate them. That use of the untranslated phrase might be evidence for him rather than against him. And couldn’t the accent have been a typographical error?

          • Uncle Brian

            Frankly, Carl, no, I don’t think it could. If he had written “the feast of Saint-Barthelmy”, then I would accept that as a typo made by a native speaker of French, misspelling the word phonetically. But the mistake Linus made was exactly the opposite: if you read the name out loud the way Linus spelt it, the resulting pronunciation is significantly different from the true one. It’s obviously a mistake made by someone who is used to seeing the name in print but not to hearing it spoken.

          • Nobody in their right mind would falsely claim French nationality.

            Oh, wait a minute ……….

          • Pubcrawler

            True enough, though whenever I am in France (and other countries) I try to blend in, largely so as not to be associated with my more obvious and boorish compatriots. That said, it was a shock to the system the first time I noticed myself hoping to be taken for a Frog rather than a Rosbif. I still feel slightly soiled…

          • When in France – do as the British do. It’s okay for a time to go under cover’ and imagine oneself a part of the ‘resistance’ but never, ever ‘go native’.

          • CliveM

            Yes interesting isn’t it.

          • The Explorer

            Very perceptive, Uncle Brian. Is Linus French? Let’s take it a stage further. Is Linus really an atheist? Or is he a believer, playing devil’s advocate?
            That’s the problem of the Internet: it’s so difficult determining the reality behind the name and the avatar (when there is one).

    • Albert

      Three problems here: firstly Cranmer is writing against another Christian – he is not saying that his arguments will convince someone who is not a Christian. He has other arguments for that. Secondly, you misrepresent his position: If you do it for God, it must be right. Right? That’s not what he says, he is arguing about the nature of things, based on the assumption he shares with Carey that Christianity is true. Thirdly: I now see how Christians have justified murder, torture and oppression down the ages. The reality is that all positions of power end up abusing it. But when has Christianity ever justified murder? It may be that Christians have sinfully tried to convince themselves what what they are doing is not murder, but they have never tried to justify murder. After all, the Ten Commandments forbid murder, that would be a reason to oppose so-called euthanasia.

      But on what coherent basis do you oppose murder, or make any moral claim?

      • Linus

        Ask the Tomás de Torquemada about Christian justifications for murder. Ask Pope Innocent III. Ask the Salem witch trial perpetrators. Ask the Cardinal de Bourbon about the morality of murdering thousands of Huguenots on the feast of Saint-Barthélémy and then using the massacre to frighten thousands more into renouncing their faith.

        The Church knows all about murder in the name of

        • Uncle Brian

          A curious mistake in your French there, Linus. A mistake, I think, that no native speaker would ever make.

          • Linus

            That’s what happens when you post from a smartphone keyboard. Slips of the finger and spelling mistakes are inevitable. Read into them what you will. I know it won’t be flattering or in any way give me the benefit of the doubt, because that would be a bit too “Christian”, wouldn’t it? Was there ever anything as unChristian (in the sense of acting as the Bible exhorts Christians to act) as the behaviour of Christians? One more reason to doubt their eye-popping claims.

            For a perfecting religion, Christianity certainly fails to live up to its promise. Where are all these meek and mild Christians who turn the cheek and radiate love and compassion, even unto their enemies? Where are all these fruits of the Spirit that are supposed to abound among you? There are none to be found among the regular contributors to this blog.

            I would venture to say that even if I’m wrong and your God does exist and the Bible is an accurate account of what he wants from us, few here will be saved. You all cry “Lord! Lord!” and profess to love him, and then ignore him completely and do exactly as you please.

            If there really are Pearly Gates and I’m turned away at them, I won’t be alone. And perhaps that’s the most frightening prospect of all: spending eternity in the company of most of the people who comment here would be anyone’s definition of hell.

        • Albert

          But that is exactly my point. Those individuals, wicked though their positions may have been, did not see themselves as defending murder. Murder is about killing the innocent, they believed those they killed were guilty, it was therefore not murder in their eyes. Murder involves killing the innocent – like killing the elderly and the sick, who are innocent, something that you, assuming you suppose so-called euthanasia support.

          A comparison may help here. Which political system is the only one to have used nuclear warfare against civilians? Not fascism, not communism, not theocracy, but liberal democracy. It is utterly fallacious to try to demonstrate the falsity of a system of belief by examples of that system being abused by its own supporters. In Christianity, murder is wrong. It is always wrong. That is clear, and that is why, if you wish to make any kind of moral point here with any validity, you need to show, in answer to the final sentence of my previous post, why it is you think murder is wrong. I note with interest your failure to so, thus far.

    • CliveM

      Ok you’ve had your rant. Do you have something to say on the subject of the blog?

    • What a dark, mean soul you have just revealed, Linus. It’s one thing not to be believe in God. It’s another to display such contempt for Him and project spite towards those who seek Him.

      Such bitter, twisted anger will have a human cause, of course. If you didn’t believe in His existence you wouldn’t hate Him. You think you can make Him go away because you deny Him? Somewhere, sometime, for reasons known to yourself, you decided to shake a fist at God. Identify that point in time. It should not be too difficult.

      In Jack’s experience, the spiritual emptiness you show is a far greater disorder of the psych and source of anguish than any physical or material pain life throws our way. Existential nothingness cannot be filled with a French pastry or any other carnal pursuit. Such desires can be satiated. Satisfied for a time, they just leave a greater sense of emptiness. And, this will prove to be eternal too if you don’t get a grip before self-love and pride completely devours you.

      • CliveM

        I think the word you are looking for is troubled. Contrast today’s ‘comment’ with yesterday’s on the AoC.

        • With hindsight its the same theme, Clive.

          • CliveM

            It’s not the theme I’m interested in, but content and style.

          • It’s the same, Clive. He wants the church to stop talking about God. To be reasonable and avoid reference to sin and Hell. This is “strident fanaticism” and its for the “unbalanced”. Let’s have a “conversation” and be “conciliatory”. In fact, let’s have a church that avoids God and His laws altogether.

            He is manifesting a fear of God existence and thinks if he sticks his fingers in his ear, or a French pastry in his mouth, or whatever, and sings la-la-la loudly enough God will go away. Deep down he knows this is not so but would sooner not be reminded.

          • Linus

            God can’t go away, because he’s never been here in the first place.

            What you call God is just a euphemism for all that hatred, intolerance and lust for power you feel.

            Now that’s something that will never go away. It’s here to stay.

            And now you’re going to vomit some more of it all over me, aren’t you? Or try to, at least. Good thing La Manche is deep and wide and so polluted anyway that a little more Christian bile will make no difference.

          • dannybhoy

            God will go on loving you Linus, and we will go on imperfectly loving you and praying for you, and welcoming you here no matter what you say.

          • Such imagery, Linus. It is very revealing.

          • Martin

            Linus

            It does seem that the abuse is coming from you, which is understandable for you hate the God you know exists and hate those who talk of Him.

          • Linus

            Typical childish Christian nonsense. If I say I don’t believe in God, you say I’m lying because you can’t handle the possibility that someone could possibly disagree with you. So you demonize me by presenting me as a liar.

            It’s such mean-spirited, disrespectful and contemptuous behaviour. What’s smaller yet also more narcissistic and self-regarding than a Christian?

          • Martin

            Linus

            Hardly childish, since we all know God exists. What is childish is the pretence that God doesn’t exist. And remember, your self worship is what narcissism is about

          • Linus

            Only children cling to absolute convictions. Their brains haven’t developed to the point of being able to process and handle the concept of doubt.

            I therefore have to assume that you’re either a child, or are suffering from some kind of Aspergers related condition that makes it impossible for you to understand that your beliefs are not universally shared.

          • Martin

            Linus

            hadn’t you noticed that you cling desperately to the absolute conviction that there is no God?

            And we can ignore the pop psychology in the second half of your paragraph.

            The fact remains, our Maker created us with the knowledge that He exists. A knowledge that we spend a lot of effort trying to forget.

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!

      • Linus

        I can’t hate something that doesn’t exist.

        But I do hate the inhumanity that men visit upon other men in the guise of god. It stems from a lust for power and domination that’s entirely hateful.

        As a gauge of the truth that lies behind my words, I invite everyone to examine the abusive epithets these Christian autocrats by proxy throw at me when I lift the veil and reveal them for what they really are.

        They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but in my experience even that pales in comparison to the rage of a Christian who realizes his disguise of meekness and mildness is fooling nobody.

        We all know what you’re after. And history has shown us what you do when you get it. I know I’d soon be disposed of by any Christian theocratic regime. And you’d pray for me as you visited “God’s wrath” upon me, wouldn’t you? Public grief masking private glee and a sense of relief that one more of “God’s enemies” (i.e. people who stand in the way of you and your agenda) was no more.

        • dannybhoy

          Linus,
          “In a memorable jibe, Mr Healey likened his Conservative counterpart’s rhetorical onslaught to “being savaged by a dead sheep”.
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/historic_moments/newsid_8185000/8185778.stm

          This is also very true of Christians. Christians are in the main very mild and gentle people. Rather like living sheep really..
          The Church you are referring to has largely disappeared thank goodness, and people are much more enlightened as to what the Christian faith is all about.
          You are making up excuses for rejecting the Lord Jesus who loves you, and I know that’s true otherwise you wouldn’t continue coming back here.

          • CliveM

            Hmm……

          • carl jacobs

            DB

            I suspect he comes here to prove to himself his own enlightened rational superiority. If you have carefully watched his comments, you will note he doesn’t really engage. He accuses.

          • dannybhoy

            Maybe, but it doesn’t matter, because you can’t mock God for ever. For as long as Linus wants to dialogue here we should make him welcome.

          • DanJ0

            If nothing else then he’s acting as a sort of lightning rod for all the rage. Look at everyone gathering around trying to get a kick in. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

          • dannybhoy

            Where’s the rage DanJ0?
            You greatly exaggerate I fear.

          • DanJ0

            It’s a sort of impotent, slow-burning rage, I think. I see it on abortion threads as well as assisted suicide threads. There’s no-one really to argue against here online, and society has side-lined Christianity offline.

          • dannybhoy

            DanJ0,
            If you replaced “rage” with bewilderment or even confusion, I would agree with your comment.
            Christians don’t generally do “rage” as a part of their walk of faith! 🙂
            I think there are a lot of thoughtful Christians here on Cranmer; it’s why I like it.
            We seek to stay true to our Lord and His commands and to ensure that the worldview on which our faith is built remains reasonable. Hence the big debates, and the various shades of opinion.

          • DanJ0

            There’s a sort of plaintive cry underlying some of the stuff: “Why doesn’t the rest of society think like I do!? Even though they don’t accept my foundation premises as true!” I suppose the rage, or whatever you want to call it, arises from the fact of feeling not listened to. “I’m making what I think is a great argument but it never makes the trip!” etc. Without a healthy outlet, someone like Linus as adversary is the next best thing. Well, after having one of those talking-loudly-for-the-audience faux-conversations about the people who aren’t listening to the arguments anyway.

          • dannybhoy

            DanJ0,
            “There’s a sort of plaintive cry underlying some of the stuff: “Why doesn’t the rest of society think like I do!?”
            A true Christian would never say that, because a true Christian believes he or she is in the world, but not of the world.
            A true Christian believes that we are either of the kingdom of (spiritual) light, or of the kingdom of (spiritual) darkness.
            So of course we accept that the rest of society doesn’t think ‘like wot I do!’
            This being a Christian blog with contributions from Christians of diverse traditions, you are bound to see disagreement!
            As is the case in all religions.
            Our friends the Jews for example. Have you never heard the expression “Two Jews, three opinions.”? Debate and discussion is healthy.
            For example, I am here not to convince people that all my opinions are right but to share them; have them examined and tested, and sometimes rejected (as happened over abortion for example!)
            I learn from the opinions of others here, and adjust my own opinions accordingly. Over all though DanJ0, it is the unity of the Spirit that matters most. Not causing another Christian to stumble or doubt, not winning an argument and then losing a brother or sister in the faith.
            What we Christians believe and what we are unclear about can ONLY be aired in a community of like minded believers, simply because the issues are too complex for polite or social chit chat..
            See?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Who’s kicking? We remind you of the folly of your way, its illogicality and ignorance so you may see where you are wrong.

          • DanJ0

            I haven’t put forward any argument here, you cretin. What exactly is my position on this, Martin?

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            As I said, who’s kicking? Remember, your rebellion against God is wasted effort.

          • DanJ0

            I see you’ve completely avoided the question put to you. But what else could you do from the position you put yourself in? Jeez, what a cretin.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            My position? My position on what? Have you not read what I have written below?

          • The Explorer

            Hi DanJ0. Very distinctive avatar you’ve chosen. Not sure it’s rage driving the reaction, But he does yell challenges at the top of his voice, and that does invite responses. Personally, I hope he stays around for a while.

          • CliveM

            I think you make a key point “For as long as Linus wants to dialogue”.

            Precious little dialogue. Plenty of trolling or winding up, but as Carl says, not a lot of engagement.

          • CliveM

            Still hasn’t said anything about euthanasia.

          • Why would he?

          • CliveM

            It was a comment in response to Carls statement about him not engaging. Simply highlighting he is not engaging with topic, simply trolling abuse.

          • This is the clue:
            “As a gauge of the truth that lies behind my words, I invite everyone to examine the abusive epithets these Christian autocrats by proxy throw at me when I lift the veil and reveal them for what they really are.”

            He is on a mission to expose Christianity as a false religion of hate. He’s running away from truth.

        • Jack feels no rage and is throwing no abusive epithets your way. And he never feigns meekness or mildness. If you want to die outside of God’s love you are free to do so.

        • Albert

          But I do hate the inhumanity that men visit upon other men in the guise of god.

          So do I. But my hate is based on a love of God, and of his people. What is yours’ based on? And why was that hatred not more effective against the violence of that uniquely murderous philosophical position: atheism?

        • The Explorer

          You hate the inhumanity that men visit upon other men in the guise of god.
          Which of the following are you saying:
          a. It’s only religious belief that gives rise to inhumanity? (In which case, see b).
          b. You don’t have a problem with the inhumanity inflicted on other men (or women, with the serial killers in particular) by, say, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer…?
          c. You hate the inhumanity that men visit upon other men, whether it’s inspired by religion or by irreligion?

        • Albert

          I can’t hate something that doesn’t exist.

          Hitler and Hitlerism don’t exist. But I can still hate Hitler, and Hitlerism.

    • dannybhoy

      Linus,
      “This is the basic reason why I would support any move to have religion –
      pretty much any religion, but especially Christianity, Islam and
      Judaism – classified as a psychiatric disorder.”
      Would you include those who dialogue, discuss and argue with same?

    • The Explorer

      I think Linus is raising the question of what makes one opinion more valid than another.
      Christians invalidly invoke a non-existent God, and use this false claim to assert authority. But abandon God, and what are the alternatives? Majority opinion? In which case, in a society with a Nazi majority, genocide is a virtue. With a predominance of Taliban, virtue is the murder of homosexuals.
      Or there’s Nietzsche. Majority opinion doesn’t matter, since the majority are bungled and botched anyway. The opinion that carries the day is the one with the most brute power to enforce it.

      • Albert

        Christians invalidly invoke a non-existent God, and use this false claim to assert authority.

        I don’t quite agree there, Explorer. We invoke God (whether he is real or not) not to claim authority, but to assert reality: the irreplaceable dignity of every human person. This is the case not because God says it is so (authority) but because God has made it so (reality).

        • carl jacobs

          Albert

          Authority and reality cannot be separated. Ultimately the universe rests upon the power of God to do what He says.

          • Albert

            Certainly, but you have to view it from the secularist’s point of view. He does not make that connection. He thinks of God’s will as being nothing more than an arbitrary choice. As that choice limits his freedom, why should God’s choice be more important in his life than his? But of course, God’s will, concerning right and wrong, is not arbitrary, but based on what he has created. Thus good and evil rest on God, and without God, there is probably little meaning to the words, but they do not rest on God’s will overlaying reality, but rather as reflecting the reality he has created.

          • carl jacobs

            Albert

            But God’s will to create is logically prior to the act of creation. He intends to create before He creates – to the extent that this kind of anthropomorphic description is even meaningful. I don’t know how to separate out the intention of God from the act of God.

            This sounds vaguely like the Infralapsarian/Supralapsarian debate.

          • Albert

            Certainly, but God’s knowledge of what he creates is also logically prior to the act of creation. His commands – based on the truth of what he has made – are logically post the act of creation.

        • The Explorer

          I wasn’t saying that was my view; I was representing what I took to be Linus’ view.

    • carl jacobs

      One notes in passing that:

      1. Linus is making an argument based upon access to ultimate truth. A different ultimate truth, but ultimate nonetheless.

      2. Linus is appealing to a set of objective moral concepts – love, hate, good, evil – that have no meaning given the ultimate truth upon which he bases his argument. His argument is therefore hopelessly self-contradicted.

      • Linus

        Love, hate, good and evil are absolute concepts independent of any notion of god

        Love and hate are emotions generated by our central nervous systems as motivational responses to external stimuli. Love acts to bond social groups and as a reward for behaviors that promote the flourishing of those groups. Hate acts to protect groups against external competition and to discourage behaviours that undermine group well-being.

        Good and evil are the categorization of love and hate. Our social groups call what they love “good” and what they hate “evil” and because we’re social animals, these definitions are necessarily broader than any one individual’s experience of them. They are also necessarily expanding and changing as our societies expand, grow and evolve.

        What was “good” in a primitive and patriarchal pastoral society, e.g. allowing your own daughter to be gang raped by a violent mob in order to protect your male guests, would not be considered “good” in modern society.

        Definitions of good and evil change as our social structures change. There is no such thing as absolute good and evil. Those concepts exist only in the minds of narcissistic individuals who believe that their morality somehow resonates across time and space because it springs from their own essential divinity. They project this onto an imaginary construct they call “God” whose incorporeality allows for a perfection they never have to prove, which leaves them free to explain away their own fallibility with stories of creation, fall and redemption.

        Christian concepts of good and evil are based on self-deification, whereas secular concepts are based on what promotes human flourishing as commonly agreed by society as a whole.

    • Philip___

      Can you see the difference between the Judeo-Christian ethic which inspires good works and a belief in a God who cares for the sick and vulnerable, on one hand, and on the other those impose their will by rampaging around the M East butchering people?

      • DanJ0

        If there is a difference then what of it for a-theists if our morality is just opinion? Why should we favour one over the other when we both are based on false premises?

      • Linus

        And Christians have never rampaged around the Middle East butchering people, have they?

        Why is it that Christians are so willing to talk about the failings of the followers of other faiths, but so unwilling to discuss their own?

    • carl jacobs

      BTW. Did you notice this sleight of hand?

      Linus wants to classify religion as a psychological disorder. Why?

      it’s a manifestation of the human desire to dominate and control made pathological by the interposition of an invisible god

      So he seeks to dominate and control religious people in the name of preventing domination and control. One might say this is a manifestation of the human desire to dominate and control made pathological by the denial of God. Psychiatry and religion serve as exact complements in this logic. Both provide the authority to define the other. Religion explains psychiatry as a manifestation of creation. Psychiatry explans religion as a manifestation of man’s dread of mortality. The truth you presume determines the destination at which you will arrive.

      The entire foundation of Linus’ argument is that God does not exist. By what authority does he say this? He will never say – because he can never say.

      • Linus

        The entire foundation of my argument is that despite 2000 years of trying, neither the Church nor anyone else have been able to come up with any convincing proof that the god they talk about really exists. God is no more than a theory. And theories for which no evidential proof exists remain just that: unproven theories.

        On the other hand, evidence for the deleterious effect of religion on human societies is all around us. Crusades, jihads, terrorism, prejudice and discrimination are all fueled by religion. The negative effects of religion are quantifiable and measurable, such as the lower intelligence of religionists (as a group) and the barrier religion presents to innovation, progress and growth.

        But hey, show me some evidence that the God you talk about actually exists and wants from us what the Bible tells us he wants and then I’ll be forced to believe. You can’t argue with solid evidence. You can totally dismiss an unproven theory.

        • Albert

          The entire foundation of my argument is that despite 2000 years of trying, neither the Church nor anyone else have been able to come up with any convincing proof that the god they talk about really exists.

          That is simply not true. The reason atheists do not accept the probability of God, is because they are either ignorant or unreasonable.

          On the other hand, evidence for the deleterious effect of religion on human societies is all around us. Crusades, jihads, terrorism, prejudice and discrimination are all fueled by religion.

          You seem to think that if there was no religion everyone would be gloriously liberal and egalitarian. It is true that religious people have abused power. But then it is even more true that irreligious people have abused power. Where do you think that beliefs about the dignity and equality of human beings come from. Even if you ignore the theistic language, surely you don’t these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness do you? If so, how is it self-evident? If you don’t believe them to be self-evident, what evidence do you have to believe them?

          I bet I can defend the existence of God far better than you can defend your belief in equality.

    • Martin

      Linus

      And your religion of the worship of self in the face of the fact that you know God exists?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,

    An excellent short dissertation on this massive subject.
    Your words above, though maybe meant to stir, do raise serious questions on interpretation of lifestyles for today.
    Biblical morality is not confined to Hebrew jots and tittles, and Christ’s teachings cannot be limited to the words of text; they must extend to the whole pattern of thought which they imply True to an extent.

    I fear that if this was to become the norm, then an enormous door will be opened for anyone to make any doctrine they like out of non contextual theories.

  • len

    The bottom line here is the Health Service is overloaded and something must be done about it.
    So dispatching those who are a burden on society will meet with public approval so lets start with the old the infirm and those who will have no valid argument against these measures being taken against them …after all Darwin had it right didn`t he?.

    The World is IN the church now and is putting its stamp on doctrinal issues.

    • dannybhoy

      I have no problem with Lord Carie expressing his opinion, but what interests me is how much more honest and direct ArchBishops become once they no longer have responsibility for leading the community of Anglicans, or representing our Lord to the nation…
      Does anyone else find this strange?

      • CliveM

        Not really, considering the position I would find it strange if they weren’t more circumspect.

        • dannybhoy

          Hmmm,
          That comment reminds me of Hannah’s story/joke…

          “Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all Jews had to leave Italy. Of course, there was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would hold a religious debate with a leader of the Jewish community. If the Jewish leader won the debate, the Jews would be permitted to stay in Italy. If the Pope won, the Jews had to leave.

          The Jewish community met and picked an aged Rabbi,
          Moishe, to represent them in the debate. Rabbi Moishe, however, couldn’t speak Latin and the Pope couldn’t speak Yiddish. So it was decided that this would be a “silent” debate.

          On the day of the great debate, the Pope and Rabbi
          sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger.
          Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head. Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and chalice of wine.
          Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple. With that, the Pope
          stood up and said, “I concede the debate. This man has bested me. The Jews can stay.”

          Later, the Cardinals gathered around the Pope, asking him what had happened.
          The Pope said, “First I held up three fingers to
          represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions.

          Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God
          was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us of our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. So, what could I do?”

          Meanwhile, the Jewish community crowded around the
          Rabbi, asking what happened. “Well,” said Moishe, “first he said to me, ‘You Jews have three days to get out of here.’ So I said to him, ‘Up yours!”
          Then he tells me the whole city would be cleared of Jews. So I said to him, ‘Listen here Pope, the Jews stay right here!”
          “And then?” asked a woman.
          “Who knows?” said the Rabbi. “We broke for lunch.”

          How circumspect do we gotta be??

          • CliveM

            I didn’t say we all had to be. However if I say something that doesn’t just reflect on me, but on others as well, I maybe a bit more careful.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes but,, but…
            we take our lead from our leaders surely?
            Ist Corinthians 14>
            “7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air.”

          • CliveM

            Leadership comes with great responsibility, something that needs to be excercised with care.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes indeed, but can any of us imagine the Lord or even St Peter or St, Paul tailoring the Gospel so as to avoid giving offence? The problem is that when the Church allies with the world there has to be compromise.

      • len

        Is being an Archbishop just a job title and once they have left the job their true character can be revealed?.
        Seems to me to be a description of a ‘hireling’ that Jesus gave one who has been hired to do a Job and then plays the part the job demands then leaves….

  • carl jacobs

    There is more to morality than expressions of political will and the force of public opinion.

    No, there isn’t – not in a secularized culture at least. In the absence of God, there is nothing but the expression of public will and the force of public opinion. There is no God to whom man is accountable. He declares that he himself is a god and that he sits in the company of gods. What then is withheld from his hand? He is sovereign over his own life – to give or take as he pleases. As with so much of modern life in the West, this is the guiding principle of our moral calculus. “I am autonomous man, and there is no God over me. There is no one who may place obligation upon my consent except the company of the gods.”

    The whole of the argument against assisted suicide presumes that a man’s life is not his own possession. It is an intrinsic recognition of an imposed moral order above man himself. “Your life is not your own. You were bought with a price.” To which the response cones back “Who is there to buy it?” If you accept that the material universe is all there is, then you lay the foundation for saying that man is the ultimate sovereign in his own life.

    You also lay the foundation for saying that “political power a different the expression of public will” may find some reason to intrude upon a man’s sovereignty. For it is not just God who might lay claim to a man’s life. Others may desire it as well. And here the subject gets complicated because oftentimes men want to lay claim to the lives of others even as the seek to protect the there own lives from being claimed. The company of the gods is a fearsome place of intrigue.

    A man desires to be free of suffering. He asserts his sovereign right to die. But what if he is responsible for another, and that other demands to live? He does not want the carry the burden of another’s difficulty. He wants to die at his convenience, and he wants others to die at his convenience. This is the ugly reality the crawls into the light through the expression of public will and the force of public opinion. The self demands death at the convenience of the self.

    And how can it be otherwise when there is no God in heaven, but only the grasping selfish little gods on Earth?

    • Dominic Stockford

      If there is no recognition of God then morality is whatever anyone wants. So, like a German MEP who was unseated last May you might decide that it is perfectly moral to campaign for legalisation of sex with children. Or you might decide that it is great to force other people to make a cake to support something that they oppose.

      The will of the majority got the people of Salamis massacred. This time it will get the people of the UK massacred. And all without God. They looked at themselves and said, ‘We can do that’, and just ended everything instead. I pray for a revival, or the second coming – I wonder which God has planned first!

    • The more serious and worrying question is how men and women who apparently believe in an Almighty God can support this worship of self and the culture of death. There has been a ‘Christian’ abandonment of acceptance of objective morality and an undermining of the integrity of scripture.

    • Phil R

      At the rear of Bergen Belsen was another camp. In the winter of 1941 around 70000 Russian POWs were confined without shelter or food and left to die.

      inconvenient you see. Whereas the Jews in Belsen were in comparison treated reasonably as they had a potential use as exchange prisoners

      The memorial to the Russian POWs is not easy to find as even today and even in thier mass graves they are still inconvenient

  • Philip___

    As for those who think Christians want to dominate and control and project “autocratic impulses” onto society, look instead at the fascist liberals who demand
    this type of change. I wouldn’t call Lord Carey a “fascist liberal”, but those who want death for the inconvenient (sorry, “assisted suicide”) show their authoritarian colours by keeping on and on, as HG says, revisiting the matter until Parliament votes
    “correctly”. Keep up the pressure, keep up the debate (the BBC will of course play its part to ensure this), until they can impose their will on us. And then, if the same-sex ‘marriage’ debacle, and indeed the whole ‘gay rights’ agenda, is anything to go by, they’ll eventually want all dissent from the beliefs proponents are imposing crushed. Indeed, it is not Christians who’re imposing autocratic impulses… Maybe it depends on which authority one prefers: the God Who cares for the vulnerable such as the sick and elderly, or the pro-death authoritarian liberals who want to dispose of those who are inconvenient or deemed inferior in some way.

  • Philip___

    Indeed Lord Carey is profoundly, profoundly wrong. Even that the pressure to allow “assisted suicide” is not firmly dismissed perhaps shows the depths into which a society can sink.

    Inevitably, if the Falconer Bill is passed, the boundaries will be pushed further back, due to our current society’s wish, described by HG as “the dream of
    modernity”, to be free from “every form of discomfort and inconvenience”. So the danger to those whose existence is inconvenient or impinges on our demand for the right to perfect problem-free happiness, is clear. Indeed, how long will it be before we are killing the physically disabled and mentally ill? That Belgium
    euthanises children and Dutch doctors kill you if you’re depressed, are
    warnings where this would inevitably lead. Of course our desire to have the inconvenient out of our way can be clothed in the “compassionate” clothing of
    “choice”, “freedom to choose the nature of our death” and so on, but just the availability of the FINAL OPTION will inevitably lead to even unspoken pressure on the elderly and sick to consider that option to avoid being a burden – again how sick can a society get to even contemplate such a thing.

  • David

    I will join in the chorus and say, Lord Carey is very, very wrong on this. Like abortion which was sold to us, as compassionate, and was expected to involve a few hundreds a year, but now aborts, kills, around one third of a million, last time I checked, this “liberal” measure will also become a state sanctioned killing machine to dispose of the those who are deemed to have become too expensive, too inconvenient or just too much trouble to maintain in a life with reasonable dignity and purpose. This desire to kill both the young and vulnerable and the old, or sick, and vulnerable mirrors “nicely” western societies’ cultural death wish.

    It has long been my belief that the west will not survive its apostasy, its abandonment of its bedrock beliefs and philosophy, which spring from, arise out of, a Judaeo-Christian world view. Unless we rediscover what our civilisation is built upon we will founder. This death-wish movement is yet another symptom of the growing desperation of our society, and many of its individuals, and indeed the degrading of our attitude to life itself.

  • IanCad

    Well, nearly all the great and good on this blog have chimed in.

    HG, consistent with his prior posts on the subject has framed his position well. He has given Lord Carey a fair shake and even brought Job into the fray.

    Absent from all this is, of course, the late Tony Nicklinson.

    He tells us all about being condemned to suffer for yet a little season after the High Court rejected his pleas for mercy:

    http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fi.dailymail.co.uk%2Fi%2Fpix%2F2012%2F08%2F16%2Farticle-2189263-1492A8CE000005DC-477_306x454.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Farticle-2191944%2FLocked-syndrome-victim-Tony-Nicklinson-dies-aged-58-refusing-food-contracting-pneumonia.html&h=454&w=306&tbnid=ljm3bWhGu3DzYM%3A&zoom=1&docid=zmm8KUme4tTYCM&ei=KQGoVPPCO8X2UvSGgNAL&tbm=isch&ved=0CFwQMygcMBw&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=713&page=3&start=24&ndsp=13

    • len

      We should perhaps remember how the abortion law started and how it is now?.

      • IanCad

        True, Len. The slippery slope is the main concern. However, there is a huge difference between the murder of an unborn child and artificially prolonging the life of a terminally ill man.

        • Albert

          This is a good point – although I would want to know what kind of artifically prolonging of life is going on – is it medical or basic care?

          As someone opposed to both abortion and euthanasia, I have never understood how someone can think abortion is okay (despite the fact that the person aborted has no say) while euthanasia is wrong (despite the fact that the person may be asking for it). But then, I never did understand liberalism. Carey’s confusion can also be found elsewhere: homosexual acts are wrong, but women’s ordination is right. How do these people come to the conclusions they do?

          • carl jacobs

            I have never understood how someone can think abortion is okay … while euthanasia is wrong

            I have always attributed this inconsistency to self-interest.

            “I will never be an unborn child again. I don’t fear being aborted. I fear the imposed obligation if parenthood.”

            As opposed to…

            “I fear that I might find myself dependent but unwilling to die. I want someone else obligated to care for me.”

            The consistency of Liberalism is found in the decrees of the divine Self.

          • Albert

            The consistency of Liberalism is found in the decrees of the divine Self.

            Well put, but in using the word “liberalism” was thinking of Christian liberalism. Perhaps such Christians are just more secular than Christian, and so more interested in the divine Self.

          • Came across this article, Albert. If you haven’t already seen it, you may enjoy it. It explores the philosophical and theological errors behind neomodernism and progressivism.

            http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-christmastide-gift-for-our-readers.html

          • carl jacobs

            Jack reads an extremist “Trad” weblog like Rorate Caeli?! Shocked! Shocked I am! And here I thought he was a thinking moderate who hadn’t parked his brain with the Magisterium. The criticisms leveled by the gentle readership of Crux were obviously well-founded.

          • Jack occasionally pops by to browse their articles. ‘Crisis’ is another site he visits.

            The attached is actually a good article Carl – if, unlike Jack, you’re able to understand it. As someone once commented, one has to understand one’s enemy and this reveals the philosophical and theological roots of the plague that is modernism. A few things fell into place on reading it. Once again, its all down to the French and Germans.

            Jack hasn’t parked his brain anywhere, btw. The more he reads and questions, the more he learns and the more he appreciates the Catholic Church is the true Church.

          • len

            Jack has just loaned his brain to the RCC it is possible to retrieve it with a lot of help from above..

          • Albert

            Thank you HJ, that looks really interesting.

          • IanCad

            Certainly Albert, It is our duty in a civilized land to provide the very best basic and palliative care to all patients.
            When a very poor quality of life can only be maintained through drastic medical intervention it should be the right – with qualifications – of every patient to be able to choose to continue the intervention or not.
            Hence my link to Tony Nicklinson’s travails.
            If only we knew how people came to their conclusions then we would have money in the bank – to put it blunly.
            Whim, notion, tribalism, feelings in general. The culture and spirit of the times. A general rejection of the influence of the Written Word.
            As in the previous thread, it has to be more than just our heritage.

  • Euthanasia is the State’s way of ‘uploading’ another chunk of reality. Just as redefining legal marriage renders the family artificial in law, so Euthanasia artificializes death. From now on (according to the State) we die not because of nature – but despite it. If legal death is redefined at 1p.m. on a Monday, the law will be contradicted by the death of the first person to die after 1p.m.

  • As someone or other said recently, we are the generation that has killed its children. Now the survivors will be killing us. For if this bill goes through, and putting people to death becomes permissible, there will be no stopping it. It is the thin edge of a very large wedge.

    • Albert

      The paradox of course, is that because we have killed our young, we don’t have enough young people to pay our pensions. Hence the need to kill the sick and elderly. There’s something chillingly coherent about this evil – even if its supporters don’t notice it.

      • carl jacobs

        Albert

        Ironic, isn’t it. They collectivize care of the elderly so that they can be secure in their decision to not have children. And then they discover the collective doesn’t care spit about any particular individual. The collective thinks in terms of categories. All those utilitarian criteria come into play. Only individuals care about individuals. The personal connection is what motivates people to care without regard to the benefit received.

        The strong, the healthy, the fit can all benefit from the death of the weak, and the sick, and the disabled. And people who are strong and healthy and fit tend to presume upon the permanence of that status. They naturally see themselves as beneficiaries and not victims. They might even imagine they would not want to live if they became weak or sick or disabled. Until of course they find themselves in such a status and the collective informs them “It’s time for you to die.” Then they will cry for mercy, but none will be given them.

        • OldJim

          Then they will cry for mercy, and ‘mercy’ they will receive.

    • Peter Sanders of Christian Medical Fellowship has said this, whether he originated the phrase ‘the generation that killed its children will be killed by its children. I am not sure.

      Check out the new CMF ‘The Human Journey’ programme, it considers this and other issues from a biblical perspective.

      • Thank you, Stephen. It was Peter Saunders whom I was thinking of.

  • No one has taken George Carey seriously since … well, possibly ever.

    No one even passingly familiar with the Church in the Marketplace these days could imagine his having anything to do with it.

    But then, his Evangelical credentials were always overstated. He was really the most prominent of that type which is now slightly out of date, a sense in which he continues to exemplify it.

    I refer to Liberal Protestants with Charismatic backgrounds, who assume that their own experience is theologically normative, and who work from there.

    Ignore George Carey. Most people always did.

  • Martin

    Of course women bishops was voted for until the ‘right’ answer was given was it not? So Carey is quite in line with CoE and political standards there.

    Perhaps tho’ consideration needs to be given to who owns our lives. We may be the recipients of them but we hold them in trust before God and may not surrender them, or take the lives of others, at our own whim

    If we are suffering perhaps we should look to the one who decrees our suffering for comfort rather than to give up and commit self murder. But think what will befall you in the next life. Unless you are saved your end will be worse than what you are fleeing. Perhaps Carey has not thought of that.

    We’ve already seen that the law on abortion has been thoroughly undermined, with doctors pre signing forms, lying about the grounds and generally being thoroughly dishonest. Does anyone really think that it will be any different for euthanasia, that the weak will not be shovelled out the door for the convenience of others. The world of Soylent Green is just over the hill.

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, the era of the state mandated life-span is at hand. Those that successfully run the gauntlet of post-natal abortion and reach adulthood will presumably enjoy relative freedom until, say, their driving licence is withdrawn. From that point the elderly and infirm are likely to find that they are formally deemed to be a potential burden on society, and that is not to be tolerated. One can imagine brusque NHS nurses preparing cost/benefit reports on the continued survival of the subject individual in annual assessments.
    Currently we see Islamists driving their cars in fury at crowds of Christmas shoppers in Europe, presumably shouting ‘Allahu-akbar’ as they connect with the infidel. One is left wondering if OAPs would not be similarly moved as they drive to Tesco/Waitrose (depending on their social status) for the last time. After all, if society is about to inflict capital punishment on you on account of your age, a little pre-emptive revenge would be in order.
    One doubts that the great and the good contemplating the enactment of murder have considered this possibility.

  • chiefofsinners

    I have been moved to re-read Jonathan Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’ (for Preventing the Children of the Poor People from Being a Burthen to Their Parents, or the Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick). It made me realise that Lord Falconer has missed a huge opportunity. With a small change to his bill, the poor could be allowed to eat the recently euthenised. It is surely the compassionate thing to do. The logic is irresistible. Just think… we could even be rid of the sickening sight of those awful Christians running food banks.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    When I read about assisted dying I often wonder who has the least courage; the patient or those around them? In my view it is those around them. We expect to be anaesthetised from any discomfort, whether it is our own or from watching someone else’s suffering. We have come to the point that we value life so little that we are prepared to dispose of it like it is so much garbage.

    It is a sign of our moral sickness as a nation that we even contemplate conveniance killing. Neither will it stop with the terminally ill. It will be abused, just as the abortion laws are. Netherlands and Belgium are spearheading the nosedive into the abyss, doing the work that Hitler didn’t finish – the extermination of “undesirables”; in this case anybody who interferes with our enjoyment of life by troubling our concscience and calling us to go the extra mile with them.

  • Phil R

    So Welby says…….”for the Church of England, “Patient safety, protection of the vulnerable and respect for the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship are central”.

    The same sentence could have been written about the unborn. But I have never heard him speak against abortion.

    Good to hear a definite line. But we hear a definite line only because the current culture agrees with him. So he feels “safe” to take a definitive line.

    Makes you sick

  • educynic

    Why is it that the progressive liberals who most promote ‘peaceful death’ are the most opposed to capital punishment? Why are they vociferous about potential mistakes with capital punishment but not with euthenasia? Why do they embrace lethal injection for ‘peaceful death’ but condemn it as cruel and unusual for capital punishment? ‘Nation horrified by botched execution!’ Will they shout as loudly about botched euthenasia?

    • DanJ0

      Your mistake is to mix up welfare euthanasia with assisted suicide, and punishment killing with welfare euthanasia.

      However, there is a potentially interesting spin off from your comment. Prison inmates on whole-life tariffs or minimum terms which amount to the same thing might want the option of assisted suicide instead. If the criteria for assisted suicide was widened to having ‘a life not worth living’ then denying them would amount to cruelty in comparison to people in that position outside the prison system. But perhaps that’s okay, as a means of punishment?

      • Martin

        DanJ0

        The point is that assisted suicide will not remain just that. We will see an escalation, as we have seen with abortion, until it will amount to execution of the inconvenient innocent as opposed to execution of the guilty.

        • DanJ0

          You’re sliding the argument, of course. The mistake is, or really ought to be, obvious in the opening comment. It turns on benevolence as the motivation, at least regarding the first sentence.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            It is hardly benevolence to hurry your fellow creature to God’s judgement seat.

          • DanJ0

            The Bill is intended to allow people to have a slightly earlier death, with assistance, at a time of their choosing. I have no doubt whatsoever that Lord Carey is supporting that out of compassion, expecting it to be a benevolent measure. As an a-theist, I expect that when people die their consciousness simply shuts down and that is that. Of course, it necessarily follows from the definition of a-theism that there is no divine judgement on death if a-theism is true. Hence, it’d be out of benevolence for me too, though I don’t support the Bill myself because of the likelihood of a slippery slope. Hope this helps.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            It isn’t for us to choose the time of our death, that is God’s alone. Nor is it compassion to usher people into the judgement of God before their time.

            And remember, you know God exists for all your silly claims to be an A-theist.

        • educynic

          Exactly. And that ‘nice’ cocktail of barbiturates won’t be as nice as it appears: as at Dignitas, there will be unpleasant, lingering deaths. And there will be obviously wrong deaths. When one looks at the euthanasia rate in Holland, one sees that, with only a small proportion of those being killed being the wrong ones, there will be even more ‘wrong’ deaths than in the capital punishment regimes in the states. But that won’t matter to the progressive liberals because they don’t mind things being wrong, provided it is for ‘nice’ motives.

      • Uncle Brian

        By now (Monday morning) you’ll have seen the news from Belgium.

        • DanJ0

          I seem to have been rather prescient there!

  • Well written, balanced piece. Of course the comparison with abortion is apt, even precise. I am old enough to remember the assurances we had about abortion, which some fools and hypocrites still spout. Many poor fools believe each abortion decision is agonised over and the merits of each case considerred. This burned out former GP knows better. The reality is abortion on request as birth control and I am quite certain that was always the intention. No assurances on safeguards for medical killing are worth a cat’s fart.

    Termination of ‘ lives unworthy of life’ is logical in a materialist world view. Will save £billions on dementia care too, to say nothing of equity release. Shame on Carey for being a useful idiot in the materialist agenda.

    Shipman laughs.

  • len

    Of course this assisted suicide may have many nuances.There was this horrific experiment in Liverpool called the ‘care pathway’ a misnomer if there ever was one) when people were literally left to die when all care was withdrawn for the terminally ill.People were dying begging for a drink of water and relatives were forbidden for giving this to them.

    “In 2012, it was revealed that just over half of the total of NHS trusts had received or were due to receive financial rewards to hit targets associated with the use of the care pathway.
    These payments are made under a system known as “Commissioning for
    Quality and Innovation” (CQUIN), with local NHS commissioners paying
    trusts for meeting targets to “reward excellence” in care.”(Wikipedia)

    Any Nation that aborts its unwanted Children will eventually turn its attention to the other end of the scale and start on the elderly and those who it perceives as’ a burden’ on the rest of Society.

    Such is the nature of a Godless society where man makes up his own ‘moral law’.

    • dannybhoy

      “Of course this assisted suicide may have many nuances.There was this
      horrific experiment in Liverpool called the ‘care pathway’ a misnomer if
      there ever was one) when people were literally left to die when all
      care was withdrawn for the terminally ill.People were dying begging for a
      drink of water and relatives were forbidden for giving this to them.”
      A very close family relative passed away as a result of this programme, alhough at the time we were not aware of what was going on.
      Being “me” and at that time still away from the Lord, I kicked up a fuss in the hospital regarding his treatment. I upset hospital staff
      (how very un-Christian of me!)
      but my only regret is that I didn’t do more.
      Sadly, us human beings obey orders.

      It’s easier ain’t it!!
      Better to die because you obeyed God rather than “orders.”
      My only consolation is that this family member had made a profession of faith and had tried to live it, and I couldn’t help but love him.

      (Which is why I say we can only say to a non believer that if you die rejecting the claims of our Lord Jesus Christ on your life, then God will judge you by your own morality, you having rejected the free gift of grace offered by the Lord Jesus Christ.)

    • Phil R

      E.g. Wrong race, low IQ, non approved sexual preferences, non approved opinions especially political and religious

      we have seen it before. The liberals probably already have a list ready

  • sarky

    Having unfortunately seen people I know die horrendously from cancer, I must admit I would be first in line for a lethal injection if it happened to me!!!

    • The Explorer

      What distinction would you draw between giving an injection and NOT giving an injection: when both would result in the death of the patient. Is there a moral difference between the two decisions?

      • sarky

        One allows death without suffering at a time of choice, the other allows suffering and leaves relatives and love ones with memories of the suffering and not the person. I would want my loved ones to remember me as I am, not some chemical soaked shadow of my former self.

        • The Explorer

          Cancer is not the only life-threatening situation. Without wishing to be morbid, suppose you were involved tomorrow in an horrendous traffic accident. Very suddenly, you would not be as you are now.
          The choices might be:
          a. a lethal injection. (active response)
          b. painkillers, and allow the injury to take its course. (passive response).
          Would there be a moral difference between the two responses?

      • IanCad

        Don’t ask such awkward questions.

        • The Explorer

          I was thinking of the play ‘Whose Life is it Anyway?’ The patient asks for the treatment that is keeping him alive to be withdrawn. Not what is done, but what is not done.

    • dannybhoy

      Sarky, there is a difference between an individual arrangement with family and perhaps a family doctor, and a State policy. Watch “Soylent Green” and see if you feel the same way afterwards.
      There is (to my mind), nothing wrong with praying for an early release from a horrible cancer (my Dad died from lung cancer and you could smell the corruption in the bedroom).
      If you are fortunate enough to have a Christian doctor you might come to some prayerful agreement, but to make it a State policy is asking for trouble.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Many of us have seen loved ones suffering in their last days, but we still remember them as they were when healthy. The problem is sometimes with the relatives. Seeing a person precious to you suffer inevitably tests your own faith as much as the sufferer is being tested. Sick people don’t like to see their relatives worrying about them, and tend to feel that a “convenient” death may be the answer.

      Better that those relatives should not buckle under the strain. They will help the sufferers morale much more if they retain their own courage. What use is a rubber crutch to anybody? I would persnally not like to live with the shameful memory that someone I loved felt the need to commit suicide ebcause of my inability to cope with my own feelings about their consdition.

      • sarky

        And I could not live with the shameful memory of knowing that I allowed a loved one to suffer needlessly and suffer an undignified death, when there was something I could have done to take away their pain and allow them some dignity.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          So, being put down like a dog is dignified?

          • sarky

            Compared to the alternative, yes.

          • DanJ0

            It’s not like a dog at all, though. Assisted suicide is assisting someone to take their own life when they are incapable of doing so otherwise, such as in cases of paralysis. When we euthanase a dog to end its suffering, we’re doing a paternalistic action out of love or benevolence because the dog is not a rational, self-aware creature.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Take what is happening in the Netherlands now, where they are euthanasing around 650 babies each year. That is neither suicide nor assisted suicide. The baby has no choice in the matter. That is happening a few miles across the Channel, so it will probably happen here too

            http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/01/02/650-babies-euthanized-in-the-netherlands-each-year-under-right-to-die-law/

          • DanJ0

            Which is why I made the statement I made at the top this morning. This Bill is explicitly about assisted suicide. You probably ought to read it because, from your comment a little above this, you haven’t actually done so yet. It’s not like putting a dog down.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            And as I said in my comment, the law will be extended and abused just as the abortion laws have been abused. In the case of those Dutch babies it is very much like putting a dog down.

          • DanJ0

            In which case, it’s not the assisted suicide of the cancer case sarky was describing and your comment about being like putting a dog down an hour ago doesn’t apply.

          • carl jacobs

            In 2007, I spent $400 to keep the family cat alive through Christmas day so my kids wouldn’t have the memory of their cat dying on that day. The next day, 26 December 2007, I had the cat put down. She was old and probably had cancer. But the decision was ultimately driven by money. I was not going to spend several thousand dollars on medical care for a cat. The suffering of the cat was driven by that refusal and led inevitably to my decision to euthanize it.

            The point I think is obvious.

          • IanCad

            Keep the heirs well away from any end-of-life decisions.
            A small point perhaps but was it “YOU” who spent the money, or the family? Surely wifey had some input?

          • carl jacobs

            OK, so we agreed. Sheesh. It’s no wonder the world is such trouble what with women thinking they get to have a say. Next thing you know, they will decide they are capable of driving cars.

            😉

      • dannybhoy

        My ‘take’ is that to die (consciously) alone is a negation of human worth. I could never deny anyone the comfort of human contact and response.
        When we depart this life we step into the unknown. Even those of us who have faith don’t know what lies beyond: we have faith that we will be received into the presence of our Lord. To offer a dying person our hand and our love as they slip away is the very least we can do.

  • Royinsouthwest

    With the exception of Sarky below, most people who have made comments on this topic seem to have ignored the dilemma of the people who might want to end their own lives in order to avoid unbearable suffering. I realise the dangers of legalising assisted suicide, which His Grace has outlined them above, and would therefore be very dubious about legalising it but I can understand why Lord Carey and others are in favour.

    Many of the people making comments have displayed a remarkable lack of empathy with the suffering of others. There have been far too many comments along the lines of “my theology is better than Lord Carey’s” or, “unlike agnostics and atheists I know there is a good and I know what He wants.”

    I can imagine an atheist of agnostic responding by saying “OK, there is a person who has been paralysed from the neck down for several years and feels that has felt all that time that his life is pointless and wants to end it. If you disagree with him go and pray to God to heal him. If God answers your prayer then you were right. If God cannot be bothered to heal him then just shut up!”

    What would the critics of Lord Carey say in such a situation?

    Remember what Paul wrote about the worthlessness of being theologically correct.

    If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Paul was saying that whatever we do should be rooted in love. Caring for the sick and dying is one practical example of such love. Paul is not saying we should keep silent about the Gospel though, just that our words and our actions should go together. I think your implication that nobody except Sarky cares about the suffering of the terminally ill is completely wrong. This debate is not about theological point-scoring. It is about something very fundamental. It is about secular society’s attitude to life itself. We could easily be having a similar debate about capital punishment. That idea is (strangley) abhored by the same people who welcome abortion on demand and euthanasia.

      • sarky

        Capital punishment is totally different. You are asking to end a healthy life, against the persons will as an act of revenge. What we are talking about here is an individual’s right to end their own life,if they should choose to, to end their and no one elses suffering.

        • carl jacobs

          Sarky

          Vicarious retribution is not revenge. It is the responsibility of the state to impose proportionate punishment for crime. And some crimes deserve death as a proportionate punishment.

          • sarky

            Then we dont need hell do we.

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky

            Perhaps you could connect the dots for me because I have no idea how you got to this conclusion.

          • sarky

            Because if you receive the ultimate punishment, why do you need to be punished further?? And if you do believe in hell then any judicial decision is irrelevant anyway is it not?

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky

            Man cannot inflict the ultimate punishment, and punishment in man’s court only satisfies man’s justice. There is a rather more significant court of justice awaiting man.

          • sarky

            Exactly, why do you therefore condone capital punishment?

          • carl jacobs

            Because there are some crimes for which death is the only fit punishment. You punish the crime without accounting for other potential actions by other courts.

          • sarky

            And by carrying out that punishment you are denying the criminal the chance to find christ and ask for forgiveness for their crimes.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            Yes, I am absolutely acknowledging that fact. Murdering someone has exactly the same effect. The state puts to death a murderer (or should put to death the murderer) in order to assert the value of the life taken. There are real consequences for doing evil things. The state after all is not an evangelist.

            Now is the day of salvation. You don’t have forever.

          • sarky

            So, if I attack a paedophile for molesting my children and the paedophile subsequently dies, what you are saying is, at that point, my
            life no longer has any value?
            Surely if you can so easily dismiss the value of my life, how can you fight so hard for the unborn or the terminally ill who wish to end their life?
            I am sorry Carl but I can’t see how you can reconcile this.

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky

            if I attack a paedophile…

            It is a matter of authority. The state has the authority to punish crime. You don’t. If you arrogate the authority of the state to yourself, you will be punished. The state is responsible to set punishments that fit the crime, and may apply such mitigating factors as it sees fit. You can’t.

            My life no longer has any value?

            The value of the life of the murderer is the reason his life is forfeit. It represents commensurate value for cost imposed by the crime.

            I can’t see how you can reconcile this.

            You haven’t even shown a contradiction yet.

          • DanJ0

            What’s hell anyway? I spent the day in Skegness some years ago, and it felt like an eternity of damnation.

          • sarky

            Ha ha know what you mean! !

          • len

            I think hell must be like having the chance to get saved and not taking it and spending eternity regretting it?.

          • DanJ0

            Or choosing the wrong god and spending eternity regretting it if its name turns out to be Allah.

          • Inspector General

            One gives you the benefit of the doubt. The alternative is too terrible. Your constant referral to Allah on this site is a mischievous one, we hope. It seems inconceivable that any sane intelligent white man can give any credence whatsoever to the greatest monster that man in his corruption has ever conjured up. Something that trumps communism every time…

          • DanJ0

            It’s not mischievous. It makes the point, which seems to need to be made over and over, that the choice is not between theism and a-theism but between many theistic interpretations and a-theism.

          • Inspector General

            So there you give us that aforementioned terrible alternative. That you, an intelligent white man, gives the muck that is Islam the same credence as Christianity. Do you do this with other religions. The one’s that involve cannibalism for example…

          • DanJ0

            That’s the necessary implication of a-theism. Every interpretation of theism to date is false

          • Inspector General

            …and you’re not prepared to differentiate between the benign and malevolent then. Well, that suits the Inspector just fine. You see, you are restricting your own area of movement. He’s not doing it for you, which you would no doubt have objected to.

          • DanJ0

            If our reality was created by some divine being and its name turns out to be Allah then who am I to complain that I disagree with its ethics? As the Book of Job is one of the tags in the article, I could ask myself “Where was I when it laid the foundations of the world?” and bow my head rather than try to understand its purpose. If you were to ask me, as you appear to be doing, whether I prefer the Christian god to the Muslim god based on my own a-theistic yardstick of morals and ethics then I would say I do. But that rather undermines the relationship between god and man as Job came to accept when god answered his plaintive questioning

          • Inspector General

            Thank you danJ0. Think we’ll leave it there, what…

          • dannybhoy

            Shoulda gone to Lidls Skegness. That would have opened up a whole new Aldi free world for you….

          • Inspector General

            What’s particularly apt about the death penalty is the finality of it, and that all parties, including the perpetrators family, can grieve over the crime. Sure you’ll agree Carl…

        • Politically__Incorrect

          People already have the right to end their life. Around 6000 people in the UK do it every year. What we are discussing is changing the law so that medical professionals are obliged, if so requested, to actively terminate another human life

          • DanJ0

            That’s not actually what the Bill says at all. It provides protection against prosecution for assisting a suicide, and it has a conscientious objection clause. The final act of suicide must be from the person dying.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            I think the conscientious objection clause won’t be worth a rat’s fart. Look at the situation with those medical staff who object to being involved in abortions…

            http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/catholic-midwives-glasgow-lose-abortion-4825817

          • DanJ0

            I’m simply correcting your errors, not arguing in favour of the Bill.

          • dannybhoy

            So there I might be, drifting in and out of consciousness. The drugs that keep me alive also keep me feeling lousy.
            Aware that prolonging my life involves more palliative care. That the house and garden if any, are being neglected. That my affairs have yet to be resolved. that my closest relatives don’t want to look after me anyway, and my dearly loved spouse has already gone..
            And you’re saying the final decision rests with me?!
            Er, I don’t think so.

          • DanJ0

            I was just pointing out the actual facts of the matter regarding the Bill. One might have thought people would read that first before commenting about what it all means. But apparently not.

          • dannybhoy

            Okay, adjustment.
            “And the bill is saying the final decision rests with me?!
            Er, I don’t think so.”

    • DanJ0

      This is where I am at, broadly speaking. I’m not hindered by an ideology which removes the ownership of their life from individuals so compassion would lead towards assistance in some specific cases as far as I am concerned. However, I think the risk of unintended, adverse consequences by legislating for the general case are too high.

    • Shadrach Fire

      The Lord givith and the Lord taketh.

    • carl jacobs

      Royinsouthwest

      What would the critics of Lord Carey say in such a situation?

      I would say that the value of a man’s life is not driven by utilitarian measurements of pain/pleasure calculations. Which is what you are doing. You are establishing a subjective evaluation of use value as the criteria for continued living, and justifying it on the basis of autonomy. But that decision can’t be restricted to just you. It will have impacts on other people. It’s expensive and hard to care for some people. There is a very small distance from allowing to encouraging to pressuring to requiring death. If you are the one needing care, do you want other people thinking you would be better off dead? Do you want them thinking “I would be better off if he were dead.”

      If God cannot be bothered to heal him then just shut up!

      And when did God become man’s giant personal ATM machine in the Sky? Who is man to say “God, I demand you provide this benefit, and if you won’t, them to hell with you. I will do as I please.” Are you God that you know the end from the beginning? Did he measure the man in the womb or mark out his days? God’s purposes are not man’s purposes, and the statement reveals nothing but high-handed rebellion. It substitutes man’s desire for God’s purpose. We may not like it, but God’s purpose in this life is not to make us happy.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What good do you think Job’s comforters did him?

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Well, they didn’t euthanase him for a start

          • Royinsouthwest

            True!

        • carl jacobs

          Absolutely none. What has that to do with anything? Job was the implicit source for what I just said. The lesson that Job received was that the purpose of God cannot be judged by man.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector has been away. And he comes back to this !

    God bless you Cranmer. You deserve the highest praise for keeping this dreadful plan up where we can see it, and see what those wretches in Government
    have in mind for us.

    We really are destined to make gods of ourselves then. The final connection
    to be wired up. The NAZIs emptied the mental hospitals, and we are poised to
    do the same with our nursing homes. Yet what the NAZIs did was wrong. All of it, that is the line. But what we want to do is not. How does that work…

    One is not immune to his fellows’ suffering, but not this. Anything but this. There is another way, other ways. There are always other ways. But not this way at all…

    NEVER !!!

  • carl jacobs

    The high-value return on assisted suicide is not found at the end of life but (say) six months prior. To really save money, you need to get people to choose well before medical options are exhausted. So the question becomes “How do we convince people that they should choose to die sooner rather than later?”

    You are deceiving yourself if you think this can be prevented or avoided.

  • Inspector General

    To the men who would make us gods, the Inspector gives this…

    There is a new line of painkiller in development. A new family of painkillers. For God’s sake wait until it’s out. It could change everything. It is thought it will be as good as dia-morphine, but without the side effects, most principally nausea.

    It will be from the venom of a snake, which aroused scientific curiosity. The venom kills the snakes prey, the usual four legged furry small things, but not immediately. In fact, the snake has to slither quite a distance, a long distance, sniffing out it’s own venom trail to pick up it’s dinner. It’s this slow effect that is so special and so unusual. One regret’s he cannot remember anymore about it…

    Take away intense pain from the equation, and only the convenience killers are left in the room…

  • carl jacobs

    Once death becomes a viable treatment option, it becomes the most cost effective option. Think of this in terms of abortion. Assume an unborn child is diagnosed with spina bifida. You could send tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime of treatment. You could spend a few hundred on an abortion. Add in all sorts of additional rationalizations about the impacts (financial and otherwise) on other (healthy) people, and you can quickly come to the conclusion that death is the right decision. There is an opportunity cost resulting from the life not lived, but that cost is unknowable.

    So now let’s consider Granny (and her rather large estate). She has cancer. Her prospects are not good. There are medical options but they will be difficult and expensive and painful … and did I mention expensive? She will probably die. One “treatment option” (ever so gently presented) would be to spare everyone the pain and suffering (and … ahem … expense) and simply make the decision now. And Granny is old, you see. She has lived her life. She is economically-speaking a consumer who no longer produces. There is no economic opportunity cost for ending Granny’s life. There is only economic benefit.

    It’s just an option that will be presented to Granny. She will be allowed to choose it or not. No pressure will be applied. Options will be presented. At a most vulnerable time in her life. Because we don’t measure people by their economic value. Not at all.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      One could take the economic argument to an extreme and do away with human life altogether. We could imagine a world popoulated only by ATMs while the rest of us go and swallow a bottle of barbiturates to avoid being an economic burden. That way the money could keep flowing without the annoyance of people spending it on staying alive. There could even be a cyborg “terminator” whose job is to dispose of those grannies and grandads who dare to stay alive.

    • Royinsouthwest

      There might be another treatment option; to offer a drug or chemotherapy that at best might give a few more months of life at the expense of suffering painful side effects in addition to the great pain of the disease itself. If someone in her 90s were to chose treatment then fair enough but I don’t suppose anyone would blame her for thinking that she has had her innings and there is no point in prolonging dying.

      Of course withholding treatment at the wish of the patient is quite different from euthanasia. However, suppose the patient is not only dying slowly but is also in great pain despite the pain relief medicine that she is given. What if the only way to reduce the pain to a comfortable level was to give her doses of morphine that were large enough to incur the risk of killing her? Would anyone say that it would be wrong for doctors to give her enough morphine to be reasonably sure of adequately controlling her pain?

      • carl jacobs

        Roy

        There are three different issues here.

        1. The right of a patient to refuse care.
        2. The ability to manage a patient’s pain.
        3. The act of purposefully killing a patient who would otherwise continue living.

        I am only talking about item 3.

  • Lord Carey has no Christian understanding of suffering. He says there is a “reality of needless suffering.” He believes such suffering if not permitted to be ended undermines “the principle of human concern which should lie at the heart of our society”. The Church in promoting the sanctity of life “could now actually be promoting anguish and pain, the very opposite of a Christian message of hope.”

    His position actually justifies anything contrary to human happiness.

  • len

    There will be a lot of elderly people who will be terrified of going into hospital if this assisted execution bill become law….who knows what might have been discussed between the relatives and the death squad?.”Just keep still dear while I give you this injection”… ” Not ***^%$*& likely.!”

    • DanJ0

      Except the Bill allows for nothing like that at all.

      • Inspector General

        You see where trusting in man alone has left you…Your hand forced to trust the blighters who rule us, when common sense says not to let them out of our sight….

      • len

        It may not allow for it …. But just look at the original spec for abortion?

    • dannybhoy

      Yes Len you raise a good point, and although I posited “Soylent Green ” with my tongue firmly in my cheek, the reality remains that distrust will seep into society and parents and children will become increasingly afraid and suspicious of each other.
      In fact the only way this could work would be by dehumanising people to the same value and function as domesticated animals….

  • The Explorer

    The proposed law, as I understand it, is for terminally-ill (six months to live), mentally competent adults to request life-ending medication from a doctor. This can then be self-administered at a time of choice. Whatever other motives there may be, humane concern about suffering is undoubtedly in there.
    Two questions arise for me.
    1. Is the above acceptable in itself on religious grounds and, if not, why not?
    2. Is the expressed confidence in the proposed bill of avoiding the slippery slope justified? eg, a relative (and then the State) making the request for a terminally-ill but NON-mentally-competent adult. Still about choice, but not about the patient’s choice. Or what about a NON-terminally ill, but objectionable adult? And why just adults?
    “Easily in, but not easily out.”
    As the lobster said in the lobster pot.

    • carl jacobs

      terminally-ill (six months to live)

      As if doctors can look into the future and say “You will die on this date.” What do they really mean? “Our expectation is that your mean date of death will be in six months with variation occurring because of our poor understanding of the actual probability distribution.” Who knows what will happen in the future? Why six months instead of six weeks? Or three weeks? Because it allows the decision to be made before the application of extraordinary (and extraordinarily expensive) care. Because it allows the decision to be made before the onset of the last full ravages so that mental competence doesn’t become an issue. You want a lucid patient who can be manipulated by fear of the unknown. Close enough so he can be made to feel death’s presence in the corner, but not so far away that it still seems remote.

      • The Explorer

        I don’t doubt that cost (carefully not mentioned in the Bill, as far as I can see) is an important factor in all this. After all, while the elderly are costing the State with medical care, they are also costing them with pensions. Double whammy.
        But we are the first generations to see the consequences, through increased en masse longevity, of the illnesses of old age, when so committed to the cult of celebrity and ongoing youth. Another double whammy. Also behind the Bill, I am sure, and beyond cost, lies shock at seeing first hand through ageing (but undying) relatives the diverse ravages wrought on the human body. And the thought, .’That could be me.’

        • carl jacobs

          Explorer

          You are correct. We have traded good health care for a hard death. We say we are going to cure cancer and heart disease as if the alternative is immortality. It’s not. We still die. Ultimately from systemic failure if nothing else. So what you are describing is a reaction of pride. We seem to think we are entitled to a pleasant, serene, dignified, quiet, gentle death. According to whom? Death is hard because sin is hard. We see that in what it does to us. It’s not an accident. It conveys a spiritual reality. But man in his pride shrinks back. “I deserve better than that. I will usurp the prerogative of God.”

          We put rouge on the lips of a corpse to hide the reality of death from ourselves. We shrink from the ravages of sin displayed in death for exactly the same reason. We want to think we have control. We don’t.

          • magnolia

            I have recently watched a youtube video of Kenneth Hagin speaking on the healing ministry. Now I don’t know quite which denomination he was nor whether I would agree with most or even much of his theology, but the bit that really interested me was that he claimed to have had a vision of Christ, a walking talking vision not a dream-type one, in which Jesus, who he said was about 5′ 11″ and wearing Roman sandals, told him, amongst other things, that the perfect will of God was for each person to die quietly and meet their Maker that way, and otherwise we are into the permissive will of God.

            I found this fascinating so thought I would share it here as it seems relevant.

  • preacher

    The ultimate destination of Earthly life is Death. From the moment of birth, we are on a one way trip.
    But what lies beyond? Scripture teaches that life extends into eternity, albeit in a different state.
    In accordance with this teaching, Christ came & proved the teaching true by raising several ‘Dead’ people & ultimately being resurrected Himself after suffering a violent & public execution.
    Having proved that death is not the end of human existence, He taught that His main reason for being born was to present God’s love & mercy to undeserving humanity by sacrificing himself as a payment for sin to all who are prepared to admit their need of God’s mercy, repent of their sins & accept Christ as their Lord & Saviour.
    If this is not the case, then Christ was not resurrected, He was mistaken about His mission & we believers are living a lie & worse still drawing others into a false hope of eternity with God.
    Now you may laugh & scoff if you want (I did, quite a lot before I discovered the truth) but for centuries men have been released from the fear of death by the action of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
    They have suffered pain rejection & martyrdom without denying Him & this has been a witness to many of the authenticity & truth of the Bible’s teaching.
    No quick, way out for them. But no fear of death & judgement either.
    No one can embrace pain, disability & suffering as good or pleasurable. But it can be faced with faith & stoicism.
    Who knows what may result. I believe the new film about Professor Stephen Hawkins portrays what can be achieved with the right, positive attitude to life & the determination not to give in but to fight against diversity will always
    lead to success.

    We all must choose, but we owe it to ourselves to check out the evidence before it’s too late. After all it’s not a lottery win that hangs in the balance – it’s each of our eternal future.

    • dannybhoy

      Most Christians have pondered what eternal life might mean. We know that there will be neither male nor female, so no giving in marriage. Will we recognise Christian family members?
      Deceased believing husbands/wives?
      Will we mourn/grieve for those we loved we thought would be there?
      What about those secret things we did or didn’t do, that our nearest and dearest didn’t know about here on earth?
      Will time cease to be?
      Will we go exploring this Cosmos, or a new Cosmos?
      Will we be given positions and responsiblities or will we live in a kind of “eternal now”, where time has no meaning?
      Whatever Heaven is, it will be a joyous culmination of all it means to be human and beloved of God.

      • preacher

        Amen Danny boy. A life without a challenge is boring, a faith without a challenge to rise to is mundane. There should be nothing in the faith we hold that lacks excitement & challenge. If the life of the Lord shows us anything it should reveal this. Blessings for 2015 . P

  • Bemused

    It might not get through this time but when the younger generation realise what we have done to their economic prospects by 30 years of profligate state spending I suspect it will be an easy sell for the next generation of legislators. And it might not include the “voluntary” bit!

    • carl jacobs

      Only because they have been well taught by this generation that the value of a man is found in his utility. At what age does it become economically counterproductive to spend any additional money on a man’s health? Should we spend large amounts to extend elderly Bob’s lifespan by three years? Would it not be more beneficial to spend that money on a younger person? These questions are already being asked. The accountants have figured out that it is better for some people to die and so decrease the surplus population. The young still produce. The old just consume.

      • “At what age does it become economically counterproductive to spend any additional money on a man’s health?”

        At a point where it cannot be afforded or when the opportunity cost is too great. Resources are not unlimited.

        Letting people die by not offering expensive treatments to prolong life or, indeed, letting people suffer by withholding treatments and surgery that remedy the pain of old age and disabilities, is not the same as offering someone self-murder.

        • carl jacobs

          People are self-interested, Jack. There will be no significant cost savings in volunteerism, The denial of care must be compulsory. Otherwise it won’t happen. I would perhaps suggest retirement as the cut-off for health care – since once a man retires he is no longer providing any value to the economy. We could perhaps scale coverage down as he approaches retirement since his long-term value is rapidly decreasing. Resources are not unlimited you know. And focusing health care on the young has the added benefit of treating only that group least likely to need it. The cost savings would be substantial.

          You just retired, didn’t you, Jack?

          • If it were you and your money, Carl, at what point would you put your families future wellbeing in front of meeting a significant health cost to alleviate personal suffering or prolong your life? And, God forbid, how would you balance these factors if a loved family member was in this situation? Do you bankrupt your family and jeopardise everyone’s future?

          • Dominic Stockford

            I would not choose to kill myself – but there does come a time when I would refuse a replacement heart (for instance)

          • It would be wrong to chose to kill yourself. On that we are agreed. What Jack is exploring is how much suffering would you be willing to accept for the good of others?

            If the choice was say a pair of new hips at a cost of £10k (going up to £70k if there was secondary infection) against your child or grandchild going to University?

            The point Jack is making is we live in a suffering averse culture. No one wants to experience suffering and no one wants to de. How much money should be devoted to these pursuits at the opportunity cost of alternatives?

          • As a doctor (former GP now working in skin cancer) I say Jack is right to say that we simply cannot develop and deploy very costly medical treatments as if cost was no issue. There are new therapies for advanced melanoma cancer which cost £80,000 a course of treatment, maybe a quarter of a million quid in all-and that’s not even a cure but an extra 6 or 12 months. For a disease we could be doing a lot more to detect at a curable stage ( declaration of interest).

            We are funding this sort of thing by borrowing money our grandchildren will have to pay back, that is if our children can afford to have them.

            These issues form part of the background to other pressure for mercy killing.

          • dannybhoy

            Life -and home economics- teaches us that inevitably we cut our cloth according to our pocket. It’s the same for nations as it is for the individual.
            If we are prudent we seek to save for a rainy day and pay for pleasures carefully. The things that cannot be changed or would cost too much to be changed, have to be borne with God’s grace.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            You are asking entirely the wrong question. There are at least three significant errors with it.

            1. You are personalizing the issue. This question doesn’t relate to one person vs another person. It relates to one category of persons vs another category of persons.

            2. You are framing the question as a personal issue around people you love. This question doesn’t relate to a trade between you and someone else you love. It’s not about chosen sacrifice.

            3. There won’t be any choice involved at all. The decision will be imposed and compulsory.

            So here is how you should ask you question. Would you, Jack, be willing to have Mrs Jack told that she is not entitled to any further health care because she has become too old? It’s nothing personal, mind you, but there are limited resources. The focus must be placed on others who are more deserving – where ‘deserving’ is defined by group. Organizations deal with groups of individuals. They don’t take account of individuals.

            It wouldn’t be a choice of Mrs Jack as opposed to Mrs Jack’s Grandchildren. There wouldn’t be any opportunity to nobly sacrifice for another. It would be an arbitrary denial of service the benefits of which will be totally invisible to you. You will go home and deal with the consequences and that’s the last you will hear of it.

            “But she is really sick. She needs help.”

            “Yes, we’re sorry about that but … our hands are tied.”

            You think this is fantasy? It is an all-to-possible future.

          • Jack sees your point, Carl, and is just throwing ideas around without having a fixed position on the subject.

            Of course, left in the hands of others to bear the full cost,
            Jack would expect his loved ones to life without pain and receive the best medical science can do for them. The opportunity costs would not be his to directly bear. However, in Britain health care is effectively nationalised. The medical industries ability to relieve suffering and to prolong life poses significant political problems of choice about how we spend limited resources. Every new expensive procedure and wonder drug offers the prospect of pain free living with an extension of life. Alongside this, the expectation of the public is for unlimited alleviation of suffering and the almost indefinite deferment of death – regardless of cost.

            It’s not about categories such as age or the worth of the individual such as employability. It’s more about cost versus benefit and what are reasonable expectations. No one wants to suffer. No one wants to die. It is a consequence of living in a Fallen world. What’s wrong with suffering and what’s wrong with dying?

    • Phil R

      I knew a woman from our church that at the age of 35 has literally eaten herself bedridden at maybe 40 stone.

      She was waiting for new hips stomach band and a new life etc. I could see it wasn’t going to happen and to be honest had very little sympathy. But we did what we could

      Tough choices may have to be made in the future. I think the next generation will have no sympathy for lifestyle choice illnesses.

      Well their insurance company won’t if they have one.

      • bluedog

        The life insurance company is indeed the relevant party, Phil R. Some years ago this communicant was told by a life insurance person, very cynically, about the impending disaster being caused by widespread smoking bans, restrictions on advertising and sales of smokes etc. Statistically very few people who start smoking at say, 15yo, survive until their 70th birthday, with most expiring around the retirement age of 65. The disaster is of course the extension of average lifespans into the 80s and even 90s, partially as a result of the enforced reduction in the smoking habit.

        It follows that Milords F and C would not need to generate so much heat and light if the nanny state could be persuaded to allow the electorate freedom of choice over smoking. The ageing population problem could be solved within a generation without the need to legalise murder.

    • My view exactly. What with unaffordable housing, student loans and the heavy cost of funding entitlent spending, the rising generation may decide my generation who caused this and benefited from it deserves to be euthanized.

  • Phil R

    Ten years ago my wife in her 30s was told she had massive brain tumour by a private hospital. Months to live etc operation needed now.

    For some reason I asked for a second opinion from another private hospital. No tumour at all.

    I now always have a second or third opinion and it has saved me and my family from being needlessly chopped up many times.

    Doctors and hospitals are there to make money first and foremost. ” 6 months to live” we need to remember may be a meaningless statement or a very convenient one

    • DanJ0

      Perhaps you should stick to the NHS first?

      • Phil R

        Agreed.

        I am sure the NHS is fine

        I was just making the point that if some doctor tells you are going to die..

        Or need extensive surgery ( cured by exercises in my case)

        get a second opinion before you decide to end it now and make the funeral arrangements!

  • Dominic Stockford

    There is a line from, believe it or not, Pink Floyd (a popular bet combo, if you haven’t heard of them) which says: “I’m not frightened of dying, I’m really not.”

    I’m not. Being dead means being live with my Lord for ever. But not being frightened of dying doesn’t mean I intend to hasten its arrival, as I’m not frightened of God’s plan for me either, whatever it may be. He tells me that he has given me all I need to get through it. Like he did Cranmer (the real one), Ridley and Latimer, just to give a few examples.

  • educynic

    When my father was dying of cancer a couple of decades ago, his kindly doctor explained how things would go. ‘I’ll fight,’ said my father, meaning that he’d plod on and cope.

    A nextdoor neighbour railed against the suffering my father was going through. ‘If he was a dog, they’d put him out of his misery.’ Well, maybe they would have, had he been a dog. But he wasn’t a dog and he decided to plod on. His death wasn’t pleasant but it wasn’t a nightmare. Its protracted nature allowed him to sort a few things that he would not otherwise have dealt with.

    Who would have preferred an ‘easier’ death? Certainly the nextdoor neighbour, who would have had fewer demands on his patience and compassion. Would my father have benefited from assisted suicide? Not at all.

    My employer would also have preferred it. Instead of a few weeks off work seeing my father off, I could have been back to work in a few days.

    Assisted suicide has advantages for the bystanders, and is cheaper. So it saves pennies and reduces the need to cope with distress, while consigning a few to death a shade early. Hm, that probably sums it up.

    • Inspector General

      Agreed. There is nothing our consumer society won’t lay on these days. There is no end to it. What is particularly outrageous is how an ex AoC can join them.

      Carey, if you are reading this, you’ve lost it. Just disappear, for God’s sake…

    • Albert

      An excellent, beautifully (if painfully) informed post. Of course, If he was a dog, they’d put him out of his misery, that’s because a dog’s life does not have the absolute dignity your father’s life had. As such it is possible to weigh up the finite value of the dog’s life against the finite value of the dog’s suffering, and decide which outweighs the other. But with your father, we can only weigh up the finite and real suffering of your father, against the real and infinite value of his life, and in those scales, it is clear which is of the greater value. On which note, the moment, we cease to believe in the absolute dignity of each human life, we also cease to need to care whether someone lives or dies, or is in pain. We may of course choose to worry about their well-being, but much like a dog, if we are callous, we can choose to ignore their pain – there’s no real moral issue in play.

  • Albert
    • carl jacobs

      Albert

      This is not a tragedy. This is a travesty. The decision as much as says that punishment is cruel and unusual. Poor criminal. He needs “help.” He deserves “help.” No, he deserves to suffer for what he did.

      Pucillanimous courts.

      • Albert

        By “tragedy” I was referring to the harm done to other people which is compounded by this decision. Either one decides to look after someone with mental illness, or one decides he is murderer and should be executed. The decision not to execute him (which I agree with) is to opt for the former, but to euthanise him out of compassion, is extraordinary.

      • You were born in the wrong century, Carl.

        • carl jacobs

          The guy rapes and murders a woman. Then he gets off on some bullsh*t mental illness defense. Whereupon people try to “help” him. After seven years they decide they have “helped” him, and so they let him out. And what does he do? He attacks three more women – well two women and one girl aged 11. So someone decides “Well, that was a mistake. Oh well, those three additional victims were a small price to pay for not throwing someone’s life away prematurely.” And now he’s whining because he has no hope, and shouldn’t someone out him out of his misery.

          Here is what would have happened in a just world – what would have happened in any century other than this modern castrated eunuch of a present age in which we live.

          1. Find him guilty.
          2. He says “But I’m sick!”
          3. The court laughs and says “You’re dead.”
          4. Within 30 days at a time determined by the court, hang him by the neck until three is achieved.

          Note the three additional women who would not have to live with the lifelong consequences of having been raped if this approach had been followed. But someone had to “help” him.

          I don’t give a damn about “helping” him. I don’t care that he can’t control his urges. He doesn’t deserve an opportunity to rebuild his life and have another chance. He deserves death. In the absence of death, he deserves to spend 16 hours a day every day breaking rocks and his remaining hours sitting in a cell. I don’t know what century that places me in. But given our present emasculated concept of “criminal justice” I’ll take it as a compliment.

          • Your underlying assumption is that in every situation man is a free moral agent who makes choices for which he can and should be held responsible. He is always capable of choosing good or bad behaviour. He may be influenced by his environment, but not controlled by it. And mental illness is not a factor. We all freely make moral choices. Crime is never pathological, but an immoral act and deserves punishment. Justice demands punishment of the guilty and punishment should always fit the crime.

            These are assumptions from earlier centuries.

          • carl jacobs

            There are many assumptions from earlier centuries – sin, truth, the existence of God – that no longer get hold sway today. The argument doesn’t impress me. And should I overlook the fact that the people who tell me this man is mentally ill also declared him “helped” and so turned him loose like a wolf among sheep? Their credibility is not large in my eyes.

            If you want to persuade me that this man is acting under compulsion and not just mouthing a collection of self-serving justifications, then give me objective evidence of the fact. Don’t give me the subjective judgments of psychiatrists. But that means you would have to understand what a decision is. You would have to know something about the brain/mind connection. And you don’t. In the absence of such information, I will continue to assume that behavior is by definition freely chosen.

            But assume for the sake of argument that you are correct. Assume the man is mentally ill. Then you incarcerate him permanently for the threat he represents. Ether way, he never gets out. You don’t release him on the opinion of some psychiatrist that he is “cured.” He will never be cured – at least in terms of risk management.

          • “But that means you would have to understand what a decision is. You would have to know something about the brain/mind connection. And you don’t.”

            Well we do know quite a bit about how the functioning of the brain impacts on the reasoning capacity of the human mind. Yes, data its open to interpretation but this in and of itself does not render psychology and psychiatry as man made ‘sciences’ without credibility.

            “Assume the man is mentally ill. Then you incarcerate him permanently for the threat he represents. Ether way, he never gets out. You don’t release him on the opinion of some psychiatrist that he is “cured.” He will never be cured – at least in terms of risk management.”

            If you concede the initial point then you concede Justice does not require indefinite punishment or incarceration. The mental incapacity requires treatment and judgements about rehabilitation and the safety of others. Anything less would be unjust.

    • CliveM

      An update. Gets ever more bizarre!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30699780

  • SidneyDeane

    So you are saying we need to be very careful with how we regulate it. Yes, true.

  • mollysdad

    I used to have a high opinion of Lord Carey.

    This man is a heretic, and he has no excuse for his evil opinion concerning the value and inviolability of human life.