Archive for 2005
Today the U.S supreme court ordered the removal of life-support from a lady who has been brain dead since 1990. Her husband who supported the removal of life-support, testified that his wife once told him, she did not want to live under such conditions. His In-laws together with Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida have fought againts the removal of life-support.
I guess this is a fantastically difficult decision to make, under any circumstance an action that will directly result in the death of a human being is murder, but would any of us blame him. Of course we hear the occasional case where a person wakes up from a 10-year coma, but these cases are far and rare between leaving the husband to face the grim reality. His wife no longer was able to use either her motor functions or a brain, rendering her incapable of living a productive life, or in that sense any life at all. Her brain was inactive, her body unable to response to stimuli, she was in effect a “vegetable”. What Huband would allow his wife to suffer undescribeable horror for such a length of time, what bounds does love have when the person you love is unable to show gratitude or respond to you?
I guess as a Catholic , I should oppose euthanasia and all its forms. However theres a huge difference between Euthanasia and the removal of life-support. If the only reason a person is surviving is because modern science allows it to be so then shouldn’t it be un-natural for a person to survive? The wife being brain-dead would wither away from lack of nutrition rather than an instant death many of us expect. The removal of life-support removes that which the body requires to perform its basic functions, in some cases it’s a respiratory system, in others it’s a nutrition tube. For those of us who’ve missed a lunch or dinner before , know the enourmous strain lack of nutrition puts on the body and mind, it’s not something painless, it’s actually very very painful. Whether or not a brain-dead person would be able to feel it is questionable though.
What really bothers me is that, 99% of the time, under any circumstance we all would immediately chose life over death anytime. The recent Tsunami proves my point, under the sheer force of awesome nature, everyone ran trying to save themselves, for a brief moment the material world mattered not. For that brief moment when people realised the sheer enormity of the wave, everybody chose life regardless of how uncertain that life would be. Anyone who would have thought about it for 2 seconds, would realise that life after the Tsunami was extremely uncertain, yet everyone chose life. What is really important is that I would have chose life regardless of anything. What i’m trying to say is that regardless of the probability that I may not recover from the coma, I’d probably choose a life of uncertainty over a certain death. To be honest, my decision would probably change after a year or two, but at any instance of time, I guess life is still good to keep. Life is good.
My blog this time round has a vague point, should we try to kill off others when we’re unsure of their decision to keep on living? Who are we to try to judge a situation that affects another person? Can we imagine what it’s like to be brain-dead? Should we make a decision to end our life should we end up brain-dead not knowing what it’s like? If there is a possibility of recovering , shouldn’t we at least try? When do we know , when to stop trying? Is life a duty or is it merely a right I can revoke on my own? Does todays blog have any significance? The answer to the last one is easy, it most certainly does NOT.
Well I guess the obvious “politically correct” answer would be YES. In my view though is they are not. Sure to the atheist and free-thinker it may seem so, but to a believer (in any religion ) all religions are NOT equal. If I chose my religion, then obviously I must believe that my religion in one way or the other is superior , if i didn’t believe that then my choice was somewhat like tossing a coin, both sides were equal but I chose one out of luck. I strongly oppose any such thinking that from a religous standpoint anyone can believe that every other religion is equal to mine.
It’s simple logic, taking into account all beliefs about life, at the most ONLY ONE religion can be absolutely correct. For instance, there’s either ONE God or many Gods, there can only be one right answer, regardless of how you might rephrase the question, there can only be one right answer. Either Jesus was a simple prophet or the Son of God, both can’t be correct. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in it all if we belong to a religous group, we MUST believe everything being thought to us is ABSOLUTELY 100% correct, God does not make mistakes, and if what we believe is correct and anything to the contrary must be wrong. So in that sense we must believe that our religion is superior to others solely because we believe it to be accurate, believing otherwise shows a lack of faith and conviction.
On the hand, in todays Multi-religous world a secular approach towards religous dialogue is extremely neccessary. Such beliefs over superiority of religion must be kept at arms length if a proper discussion is to be held. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a balancing act, between believing your religion is the correct one, and then keeping quite about it in the secular world. That’s the the way the system works, bringing out religious fanatiscm in a multi-religous society is extremely hazardous. Although you believe your religion is the only way to heaven you can’t force others into your belief regardless of how much you care for their salvation, because had the situation been in reverse everyone should try to convert everyone else.
I think the best solution to the problem is to have religous dialogue, not just at the highest level of religous life but also at the lay level. Where everyday men and women discuss religous differences and opinions in a conducive environment where opinions can be view objectively. We need to encourage Undergraduates to get involved in religous dialogue with one another under the supervision of religous clergy. Right now, all we seem to have is a handful of people involved in such discussion, we should further diversy and expand this discussion to involve the entire spectrum of society. If religion is going to be the best solution to social ills (I think it is) then we should at least try to get out religious tolerance and peace before religion itself turns out to isolate society from itself.