Matters of Life and Death Keywords
Abortion - The removal of foetus from the womb before it can survive
Assisted Suicide - Providing a seriously ill person with the means to commit suicide
Euthanasia - The painless killing of someone dying from a painful disease
Immortatlity of the Soul - The idea that the soul lives on after the death of the body
Near-Death experience - When someone is about to die has an out of body experience
Non-Voluntary Euthanasia - Ending someone's life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but you have good reason for thinking they would want you to do so.
Quality of Life - The idea that life must have some benefits for it to be worth living
Reincarnation - The belief that, after death, souls are reborn in a new body
Resurrection - The belief that, after death, the body stays in the grave until the end of the world when it is raised.
Sanctity of Life - The belief that life is holy and belongs to god
Voluntary Euthanasia - Ending life painlessly when someone in great pain asks for death
Paranormal - Unexplained things which are thought to have spiritual causes e.g. ghosts, mediums
Christian beliefs about Life after Death
Christians believe in life after death because:
o Jesus rose from the dead
o The Bible and the Creeds say that there is life after death
o The Church teaches that there is life after death
o The soul is something that can never die
Christians’ beliefs about life after death affect their lives because Christians will try to love God and love their neighbour so that they go to heaven and not hell.
Non-religious reasons for believing in Life after
Some people believe in life after death for non-religious reasons such as:
o Near-death experiences when people see things during heart attacks, operations etc.
o Evidence of the spirit world, ghosts, mediums etc.
o Evidence of reincarnation, such as people remembering past lives.
Why some people do not believe in Life after Death
Some people do not believe in life after death because:
o They do not believe in God
o There is no scientific evidence
o They do not see where life after death could take place
Christian attitudes towards abortion
Abortion is allowed in the UK if two doctors agree that there is medical reason for it. Abortion is a controversial issue because:
o People disagree about when life begins
o People disagree about whether abortion is murder
o People disagree about whether a woman has the right to choose
Christians have different attitudes towards abortion:
o Some Christians believe that abortion is always wrong because it is murder and against God’s will
o Some Christians believe that abortion is wrong but must be allowed in some circumstances as the lesser of two evils
The Nature of Euthanasia
There are various types of euthanasia that are all aimed at giving an easy death to those suffering intolerably. British law says that euthanasia is a crime, but withholding treatment to dying patients is not.
Christian attitudes towards euthanasia
All Christians are against euthanasia because they believe life is sacred and belongs to God. However, there are some different attitudes among Christians about switching off life-support machines, withdrawing treatment and so on, because some Christians think these are not euthanasia.
The Media and Matters of Life and Death
Some people think that what religions say about matters of life and death should not be criticised by the media because:
- They might stir up religious hatred
- They might be offensive to religious believers
Other people think the media should be free to criticise religious attitudes because:
- A free media is a key part of democracy
- If religions want to be free to say what they want, then the media must also be free to criticise religion