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Ethics and Religion

To exemplify some of the problems in confusing ethics with other disciplines, let us return for a moment, to the question: Are there any conditions under which euthanasia is ethically justifiable? Rather than understanding this as an ethical question, some take it to be a religious question. Therefore, they think through the question using religious principles. They see some religious principles, namely, the ones in which they believe, as fundamental to ethics.

They argue, for example, that euthanasia is not ethically justifiable because “the Bible says it is wrong to commit suicide.” Because they do not distinguish the theological from the ethical, they are likely to miss the relevance of the concept of cruelty. They are not likely to struggle with the problem. This may mean that they find it difficult to feel any force behind the argument for euthanasia in this case or to appreciate what it is to experience hopeless torment without end.


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