Monday, October 30, 2006

Bonhoeffer yet again

“Individuals definitely may defend their natural rights. Whether, how, and when they should is another question to be decided later. Under all circumstances they must defend a right in such a way as to make it credible that God, not the individual, is standing up for the right.”—Bonhoeffer, Ethics, page 185

“Never may the killing of another’s life be one possibility among many, however well founded that possibility may be. Where there is even the smallest responsible possibility of allowing the other to stay alive, then the destruction of this life would be arbitrary killing—murder. Killing or sparing life are never equivalent alternatives in a decision. The preservation of life has an incomparable priority over destruction. Life may claim all grounds to validate itself, while for killing there is one single valid ground. Where this is not considered, one runs afoul of the Creator and Preserver of life. In supporting the right to euthanasia on several different grounds, one puts oneself in the wrong from the beginning, by admitting indirectly that there is no single absolutely compelling ground.”—Bonhoeffer, Ethics, pages 190-191

<idle musing>
If you want to read a very good argument against euthanasia (actually dysthanasia would be a better term), pages 185-196. Bonhoeffer’s argument wasn’t formed in an ivory tower; euthanasia was a living and active entity in Germany while he was writing.

I say dysthanasia, because the eu in euthanasia means “well, good” in Greek, whereas dys means “bad, evil.” Thanasia means death, so euthanasia literally means to die a good death. Talk about a misnomer!
</idle musing>

No comments: