More on Dueck’s dreck

…’cuz I can’t just leave it alone.

I acknowledge the danger that, given a legal and social acceptance of euthanasia, old people will be hurried off to save scarce medical resources, or so the kids can get the inheritance, or whatever.

I approach the question as a problem in risk minimization. At present (being a healthy 53yo) I am enjoying life. However, I recognize that at some point (probably about three or so decades hence) I may come to a medical state where continued existence is a subjective burden outweighing any benefit to me. Ideally, I want to die (whether by deliberate intervention or withdrawal of treatment) as near as possible to the crossover point between life being a net positive and being a net negative. Ethically, those in authority over such things should arrange the terminal-care protocols to make that possible, and minimize the risk that my demise occurs either early or late.

Yes, the above is an engineer’s simplistic analysis — a lot of the important parameters are difficult to quantify, and I may feel very differently in the midst of the situation than I do when it’s still far-off and theoretical. But it seems like a good way to think about the problem.

Our friend Lorna of course, thinks we should ask Faith for its advice. And (quel surprise!), not just any faith:

Many faiths clearly have contributions to make to this point. But for those of us who are Christian, this is a challenge that lands squarely in our area of expertise.

For centuries, Christianity has been prime source material for teaching how to love and care for family and strangers in pain.

Of course we need to be honest with those looking to our distinct truth and what we mean by hope. [WTF? Is that even a sentence? — ed.]

For two millennia we Christians have said that this body on Earth is but a shadow of the future self that God has waiting for us after death and we need to regain our practice of how to explain and engage that truth with the reality of dying.

That belief helps us understand that there is no purpose to keeping Grandma, son, daughter or self clinging to life support when a greater beauty comes next.

In debates such as this, how great is our loss if we withdraw the contribution of faith from our collective education and view only individualism as the better way to face the perils of death.

Somewhere under that semi-literate word salad seems to be an assertion that Christianity has a contribution to make to “our collective education”, and part of that education is a brochure for the posthumous Club Med awaiting us (I note she doesn’t commit herself here to either an exclusivist or universalist view of eternal destiny).

Well, Christians are perfectly free to take that delusional belief into account when making their own end-of-life decisions. But I fail to see how telling warm-fuzzy fairy tales to those of us who’ve seen through it constitutes “education”. More importantly, I object that views based on such mythology, or on theological notions of “sanctity of life” should be used to inform law or public policy by which my own fate will be governed. We lose precisely nothing “if we withdraw the contribution of faith” from this debate — faith has not shown it has anything to contribute. Rather, we gain in the freedom to think rationally about the problem.


PS: Yes, the double entendre in the headline is intentional.

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