external image iStock_000005940975XSmall_crop380w.jpgBelief In Euthanasia

The world of death in religion is sacred, and highly respected by all religions, but how would certain religions feel if a person choose their own death instead of dying of natural causes? While some would completely agree with it and others would totally disagree in this passage I will be exploring the differences in views of two religions that stand on both sides of human euthanasia. I will be looking at the Shinto and Jewish religions and see how they cope with each other and disagree on the subject on a persons choice of death.

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Shinto is a religion mainly practiced in Japan, to some people it is not a religion, but a way of life. For years it follower of the religion believed in living a life peaceful and to cleanse your soul of all impurities. They also believe the world's beauty is tied to lives of the people who live on it, and that base. Their views on death are that you souls die with gratitude , or it may hold a grudge. Their view on euthanasia is that it is allowed due to it neither harming the dead person's gratitude and it never harming the beauty of the world.
"In Shinto, the prolongation of life using artificial means is a disgraceful act against life." - (John OConnor) they feel the world is full of beauty and that that beauty is created through the lives of the people who live to make the world better. They also feel that if you live you should live fully, not with limits. If you feel that your life is useless then they might question your point of living. They believe life is precious and creates beauty, they feel that this beauty is not to be tampered with. So they feel that if you are prolonging your life for no real reason you would be disrespecting them. Euthanasia in their view is more respected since it preserves the world's beauty.
“To be fully alive is to have an aesthetic perception of life because a major part of the world's goodness lies in its often unspeakable beauty.”
-(Yukitaka Yamamoto) This explains how the world is a beautiful place and this religion cares about protecting it, so it is not strange when they say that if you life is damaging the beauty of the earth they believe you should not prolong. This though does not mean they want you to die, its just that your life is wrecking something they care about.
Though it appears that the Shinto religion does not believe in the prolongation life if it mean damaging the world more they seem to have a weird contradiction to the believe inside the buddhist religion which is part of Shinto, "The five sources of happiness; the first is long life" -( Buddhism. Majjhima Nikaya i.415, Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Sutta) This contradicts the belief that they do not want you to shorten useless parts of your life, infact this begs the question what are their true beliefs? The first quote tells how they agree with the idea of death, but in this one it tells about how life is valued. The weirdest part is that it tells how a life is one of the sources of happiness, but before it said how prolonging your life is disgraceful. Perhaps this is here to tell us that you should live a full life, but only if you feel that your life has a meaning and you are not just destroying the world.

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Judaism is well know religion that follows to Torah, which tells their version of the word of God. Their view of death is that it is sacred and decided only by god and no one else,"There is a Time to be Born and a Time to Die" (Ecclesiastes 3:2a) They believe that god puts each person on earth for a reason and the Jewish people want each to fulfill that destiny. Their view on Euthanasia itself is that they do not like it, "The value of human life is infinite and beyond measure, so that any part of life - even if only an hour or a second - is of precisely the same worth as seventy years of it," (-Lord Jakobovits, former UK Chief Rabbi) life is very important to the jewish community and it shuns all forms of euthanasia and suicide to keep it so that you may live longer. The Jewish religion believes that life is sacred and no one has the right to kill themselves no matter their age, nor their reason. Of course, if you have no choice you will not be disrespecting them.
Like Shinto Judaism has and contradicting messages about the usage of euthanasia, even inside their bible it portrays a man killing another to because he was hurt, "Then he called hastily to the young man his armor-bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" And his young man thrust him through, and he died."- (Judges 9:54)
Even though The jewish religion is does not believe in killing yourself it appears in their bible on multiple occasions. The interesting thing about their exception of killing yourself you must be suffering, or about to die anyway. There is though a strange exception to this rule that if someone is in extreme pain "it is also acceptable to ask God in prayer to remove a person from their pain and suffering"-(BCC)
Death can be seen from many views both good and bad but in some ways their differences seem to blur. To Shinto death is accepted and another part of life, while Judaism feels death is sacred and should only happen after certain circumstances. The as you can see Shinto and Judaism have different views on euthanasia, but they both also have ways to allow it, so in a way they both have the same views on . This shows that there are multiple ways to interpret this and religion depends on how we use it and interpret it until it becomes our own.

Oconnor, John. "TruthOut Archive." The Value of Life. N.p., 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.

Barnatt, Joan. "Excerpts from Religious Texts." Asia Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.

"Euthanasia and Suicide." BBC News. BBC, 21 July 2009. Web. 03 Nov. 2013.