Death is inescapable. It is our common destiny. The Bible tells us "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Christians are confident that what happens to them after death is protected through the grace of Jesus Christ. Evolutionary atheists believe that human death is simply the end of another animal's life, a freeing up of resources for the use of others. But regardless of what people believe about what happens after death, when and how they die and what they might face as that time draws close is of great concern to many. Death is an enemy, an enemy that only Jesus Christ can and will destroy (1 Corinthians 15:26). If death cannot be avoided — and it cannot — many of us would like some control over how and when it happens. After all, we as adults do not like relinquishing the independence we spent our entire lives acquiring! As people around the world grapple with the issue of whether euthanasia ("mercy killing") and physician-assisted suicide should be legal, it is the desire to retain control over our lives until the end that motivates many to push for a legal "right to die" on their own terms. When we realize that this is tantamount to asking for murder-on-demand, the sanitized sounding word euthanasia takes on its true colors.
Rights and Reality
Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized the right of a woman in the United States to have a health-care professional kill her baby. Do we then have a right to ask a doctor to kill us, perhaps when we face a terminal illness or when we are handicapped by a condition without hope of improvement? Should we be permitted to demand a "merciful" death for a child or adult whose life, some think, is "not worth living"? And while many people fear the pain and indignity of a terminal illness or debilitating disability, some seek death on-demand as an escape from psychological distress.
Laws concerning euthanasia have not caught up with widespread liberal death-dealing abortion laws. However, some countries have stepped onto a slippery slope and legalized euthanasia—the administration of a lethal drug by a physician in order to put an end to life and suffering. Some countries have even legalized euthanasia for children! Meanwhile, the "lesser brother" of euthanasia—legalized physician-assisted suicide, in which the physician prescribes a lethal dose of a medication that patients then administer to themselves — is gaining ground in America under the banner of "death with dignity."