Religious Studies short course GCSE

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Death and the Elderly

Euthanasia - a good/gentle death 

Active euthanasia - Actively ending a persons life (drinking a poison or getting a fatal injection)

Passive euthanasia - Medical support is withdrawn so the person no longer lives

Arguments for active euthanasia:

  • If quality of life is bad due to illness
  • Suffering and pain 
  • We have the right to decide when we die
  • Just because we can extend a persons life doesnt mean we should
  • It is morally wrong to keep a person alive who is suffering

Arguments against active euthanasia:

  • When people are ill they have good days and bad days 
  • it is deliberately killing and that is wrong
  • Life is sacred and god given only god can take away a life
  • You cannot say for sure you wont be cured.
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Examples and Alternatives

Examples of euthansaia:

Tony Bland suffered from brain damage after the Hillsborough disaster. He was left in a permannat vegatative state on a feeding tube. Eventually this was removed. (Passive euthanasia)

Reg Crew has motor neuron diesease and he wanted to have active euthanasia. He travalled to switzerland where they have a company called DIGNITAS which gave him a lethal injection. (Active euthanasia) 


Hospices: Provide care for people who are in their last stages of life and also support their family. Their aim is to provide a place where the can die with dignity and not be in pain, but be in the presence of loved ones. 

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Christian and Buddhist Views

Christian Views:

  • Life is sacred  (we are "made in the image of god")
  • There are alternatives like hospices
  • God has a plan for each of us and it is up to him when our lives end " I knew you even before you were formed in the womb"
  • The view active euthanasia as murder and murder is a sin.

Buddhist Views:

  • Ahisma - no harm to living things
  • Metta - loving kindness to all things (Help someone who is in pain)
  • Accept suffering is a part of life. 
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The elderly

Problems faced by the elderly:

  • Lack of money
  • Loneliness
  • Illness
  • Less mobile
  • Feeling of worthlessness

Who should care for the elderly: 

  • Live at home with support from organisations such as meals on wheels
  • Live with the family
  • Sheltered housing - their own flat with social facilities and a warden near by
  • Residential homes - has their own room but meals are provided
  • Care homes - For the elderly that need help
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Christian and Buddhist Views 2

A christian teaching is to "honour your mother and father" and this includes looking after them when they are old. The believe the elderly should be respected and that we have a duty to look after our parents. "love one another as i have loved you"

Buddhists respect the elderly as they have lived a long life and are full of knowledge. They believe the children should look after the elderly and see it as a privilege. 

Beliefs about life after death (Christians) 

  • When a person dies they go to heaven or hell


  • Believe in reincarnation (rebirth) which is dependant on good deeds (karma) 
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