Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Suicide of the West

'The Big Questions', a BBC religious programme worth watching, discussed this Sunday the suicide of a young woman the previous week. The young woman swallowed poison and then phoned for an ambulance to take her to hospital. However, she did not want doctors to prevent her suicide but simply oversee her suicide. The doctors, fearful of some national laws, acquiesced.

On 'The Big Questions', the main reason posited for approving the doctors decision was 'the basic human right to take one's life'.

Much discussion followed and a number of good points against accepting the 'right to suicide' were made. Some of these by two Christians on the panel. However, objections were largely predicated on the assumption that the 'human right to suicide' was correct. The main reason for preventing suicide was that suicide signalled a distorted reason. It revealed a mind unqualified to make a rational decision. Despite the Catch 22 nature of this argument, I agree, of course, that thoughts of suicide signal a diseased mind that needs protecting from itself. However, this does not address the fundamental premise of the pro-suicide lobby, that the right to suicide is a basic human right. In fact, it kind of assumes the right to take one's life if one is in one's right mind.

It was left to a Muslim to expose the basic flaw in the 'human rights' argument, namely, that life is a gift from God, and it is not ours to discard at will. In a world where God reigns, there is no human right to take one's life, nor to support others who wish to do so.

The 'doctrine' of human rights is full of pitfalls. Perhaps it is for this reason that the bible rarely deals in rights but focusses on responsibilities. The Bible stresses responsibility to our Creator, as he has revealed himself in Christ. This provides a much surer basis for societal morals than so-called inalienable human rights which increasingly seem to contribute to the suicide of the West.

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