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What about the end?
Jun 11, 1998

Dear Rev. Pieters,

This may seem like wierd question but I'm going to ask anyway. When it becomes clear that a patient no longer has treatment options available and time is running out; how does the church reacto to that patient wanting to end their life peacfully without the uneeded suffering associated with the end of the desease? I know that in some religions it is considered a sin to take your own life but if the end result is the same why should it matter that the patient would want to ease the suffering at the end by simply going a little sooner? Hope this does not seem morbid. It's a very hot national debate and I thinks it's one that will grow. Your response would be appreciated. Thanks

Atlanta

Response from Rev. Pieters

Thanks for your thoughtful question... it's not the first time readers have written about this subject. Please see the question "Suicide: Sin or Self-Determination" (February 9, 1998) on my Q&A page for a more thorough discussion of the issue.

Briefly, I believe in a God of Life. I believe that God gives us everything we need to face the most difficult challenges of life, including dying. As I've said before, I'm very glad that I didn't commit suicide when I was considered terminally ill with AIDS. I've had 12-13 years of good life since then! But every individual is different, and I feel that it is not up to us to judge when someone makes a decision that might differ from ours. That is between the individual and the God of their understanding.

The debate certainly will continue! May you feel God's presence in all your discussions and decisions.



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