Saturday, November 08, 2014

Facing death with dignity

The stark reality is that Maynard did not "die with dignity." As Trent Horn points out, dying with dignity is about how you face death, not about how you die. Choosing an early death is not dying with dignity because death, itself, is undignified. It is our enemy, which is why Christ had to come and conquer it. With Christ, death is not final. There will come a time when all the dead will be resurrected, and this is the time that we, as Christians, can look to for hope. Maynard taking her own life prematurely was not dying on her own terms, because she was already dying. Her choice to commit suicide was merely preventing death from dealing the final blow. 
This objection is often coupled with the idea that losing control of one’s bodily or mental functions is “undignified,” while taking some pills to peacefully pass away is a “dignified” way to die. But this is insulting. It implies that those who choose the consequences of dying naturally are “undignified.” 
Other people will say that the “dignity” in dying comes from the fact that the person is able to choose how they die, regardless of what choice they make. But dying in a dignified manner relates to how one confronts death, not the manner in which one dies or chooses to die. History recounts many situations of individuals who were forced to endure degrading deaths but faced those deaths in a dignified way. 
Dying with dignity means receiving compassionate care, no matter what stage of the dying process a person is going through. Directly ending one’s life has nothing to do with having dignity at the moment of death.

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