RE Unit 3; elderly and death

Revision fro topic 2 elderly and death 

religions used: christianity, sikhism and buddhism 

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  • Created by: Lucy
  • Created on: 21-05-11 15:21

Problems faced by the elderly

- Many have to rely on state pension and benefits => can lead to POVERTY 

- Pressure and expectation to RETIRE => sometimes feel undervalued

- Illness is more serious to elderly people and there are more health problems

- May become less mobile and more dependent on others

- May feel lonely if their partner dies and they have to live alone

- May be discriminated against => Ageism 

- May feel worthless to society as the aren't able to work 

- May feel that they are a burden on their families or society in general

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Religious Views: Christianity

- Christians should care for and look after the elderly, particularly their parents => 'Honour your father and mother' 

- The vulnerable and defenceless are to be given special protection

- Christian churches provide for the elderly; day care centres, outings etc...

- Church provides transport to get the elderly to church or visit them if housebound

- Many hospices for terminally or incurably ill people have Christian foundations

- It's an act of COMPASSION or STEWARDSHIP to care for the elderly 

- 'Love thy neighbour' 

- Christians should have regular contact with their elderly relatives

- They prefer to allow the elderly to keep their INDEPENDENCE 

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Religious Views: Sikhism and Buddhism


- Family is very important to sikh life; members of extended family live together
- It's the duty of the 1st son to look after his parents
- Respect and care for the elderly is part of SEWA
- Gurdwaras run DAY CARE CENTRES and offer other forms of care to support families


- Elderly are respected for their knowledge and wisdom 
- Caring for parents is the highest form of protection, a duty and the right response to the care that parents gave in the past
- Caring for the elderly builds up good KAMMA

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Life Support

- A machine which keeps people alive when they would otherwise die. 

- The machine assists in or replaces breathing and also feeds the patients

- All religions support turning off life-support machines for people who are brain dead; it is NOT viewed as murder. 

- They recognise that this may be interpreted as taking God's role in deciding who lives and dies but they don't believe its fair to keep someone alive with no QUALITY OF LIFE.


- Life is to be respected and preserved (Sancity of life) but might show METTA and KARUNA to switch off machine of QUALITY of life is going to be poor. 
-They need to consider KAMMIC effects of action

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Religious views: Christianity and Sikhism


-Life is a sacred gift from God

- Bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit

- Often reluctant to discontinue life support where there is hope of survival

- ANGLICANS: Dying w/dignity - allow a person to die is the best way of showing 'love thy neighbour'


- Life is sacred and to be preserved EVEN WHEN SUFFERING

- But not to prevent nature from taking its course if there is no hope of recovery. 

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- Inducing a painless death w/compassion to end suffering => Dying w/dignity

- Voluntary: Request by the patient for their doctor to end their life

-Non-voluntary: Person is incapable of making a request but euthanasia is thought to be what they wanted/ in their best interests

-Involuntary: The practice that went on in Nazi Germany; no consultation

-ACTIVE euthanasia: Deliberate intention to end someone's life => ILLEGAL

-PASSIVE: Intention to relive suffering/allow nature to take its course => LEGAL

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Religious Views: Christianity

All christians accept PASSIVE euthanasia

- Quality of life might sometimes come before Sancity of life 
- Right to and duty of responsible decision-making given by God
- Euthanasia shows COMPASSION => unbearable suffering is contrary to God's will

- All mainstream UK churches AGAINST
- Life is sacred and God-given; it breaks the 6th commandment
- Shows lack of trust in God's love and compassion
- Hospices preserve human dignity better than euthanasia
- There's a duty to defend the vulnerable  

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Religious Views: Sikhism and Buddhism

Sikh: Passive euthanasia accepted by some
For:  - Minority view
- If a person wishes to die and the condition is causing the family severe   problems it should be allowed. 
- Only God should give and take life
- Its wrong to interfere w/natural course of life
- Suffering is part of God's plan and should be accepted as so

For:  - Body is just a shell for the life force
        - The intention is ALL-IMPORTANT; shows METTA and KARUNA

Against: - Goes against 1st precept 
      - DUKKHA teaches that suffering is a part of life that should be accepted
      - Dying is an opportunity for spiritual development and good kamma 

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