Ethics essay - Euthanasia
a.) Explain how a follower of religious ethics might object to euthanasia The issue of euthanasia is becoming increasingly apparent, in the UK and the rest of the developed world. It is derived from two Greek words, `Eu` - meaning `good`, and `Thanatos` - meaning `death`; and the definition of euthanasia is the intentional assistance of ending another person’s life prematurely. There are different kinds of this medical procedure, such as `active` and `passive`, and both need to be looked at in different contexts, which is why the issue of euthanasia cannot be worked out simply. Many individuals and groups of people, some famous, have spoken up in relation to this issue, and many of those who have spoken up against this have been from a religious perspective. How a follower of religious ethics would respond to euthanasia, however, will depend on the ethics they follow. One ethical theory that a religious believer may follow would be Natural Law. This is an absolute, deontological theory, and first originated with the Stoics, then developed further by Cicero and Aristotle, before being finalised by St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas, who lived in the 13th Century, believed that `everything has a purpose revealed in its design` - written in his `Summa Theologica` - and this influenced his theory hugely, as he believed God created us, and that we can use our reason to discover our purpose(s), to live in a fulfilling manner. Aristotle also thought this, in his concept of `Eudaimonia`, and as an explanation, a knife that cuts sharply is fulfilling its purpose more than a blunt knife, and in the same way, if we act in the ethical way we should, we will thrive and flourish together. Both the thoughts of Aquinas and Aristotle influenced the ethics of Natural Law, and therefore how a follower would react to euthanasia, as if we assist other’s deaths, we will not thrive, individually or in a community, and part of our purpose is to survive, not commit...
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