Friday Group Discussions

Euthanasia is a really interesting topic, that is becoming more and more prevalent in the media. It is a discussion that incites strong views from both sides that are closely woven with personal, highly emotional experiences and solid moral values.

I recently planned and led a session for a youth group (aged 14-18) looking at this topic. We had some really interesting discussions and were able to explore a number of different topics surrounding this whole subject.

This session could be done in a small group, or for personal reflection on your own. When planning, I used the NIV translation for all bible readings. Please note, I am not trying to push a certain opinion on you, this is simply some guidance for biblical reading, discussions and reflection.

Introduction:

Euthanasia – from the Greek ‘good death’, is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering.

Statistics show that 82% of the general public support the option of assisted suicide being given to terminally ill adults. However, less than 50% of doctor’s support this.

In England, more than 300 terminally ill people commit suicide each year. Whilst around 25 brits travel to Switzerland to die at the Dignitas Clinic each year.

Spend some time thinking about what you believe about euthanasia at the moment, and why?

Discussions:

  1. The Value of Life

Read Genesis 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Discuss – what do these passages teach us about life and its value?

Do you think there is a point where life is no longer valuable/worth living?

  1. “Playing God”

Read Ecclesiastes 8:8

Discuss – should we be able to decide when to die?

Who should decide when life support should be removed?

Is it playing God to artificially extend someone’s life via life support etc?

  1. Suffering

Read Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:18, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, John 16:33

Discuss – what do these passages teach us about suffering?

Is suffering always a bad thing?

Read Jeremiah 29:11, Ecclesiastes 7:14, Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

Discuss – Could God’s plans for us include suffering?

Notes:

Legalising Euthanasia can increase the risk of people being pressured into ending their life early to not be a burden. 6/10 of those requesting a lethal prescription in Washington State say one of there reasons is to not be a burden.

Also, countries that have legalised euthanasia have seen a steady increase in the number of cases and seen it spread to include chronic (non-fatal) diseases, disabled people, children and those with mental illnesses or dementia – does this represent a lowering of the point when a life is classified as not worth living anymore?

Conclusion:

When looking at news stories in the media, it is hard not to be moved by some of the extreme cases we are shown. However, for many people, is this demand to have the right to choose your own death a reflection of an increase in individualism in society? With people making decisions more and more frequently based upon what is best for them as an individual (can this also be seen in calls for abortion to be available on demand?).

Take some time now to think back to what your views on euthanasia were at the beginning of this session. Have they changed at all? What do you believe now and why?

I hope you have found this interesting and a good chance for reflection – do let me know if you have any thoughts and whether you’ve enjoyed this style of blog!

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