- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Life is Sacred
Life is good
Sacredness of Life
I agree with the notion that life is indeed sacred on the basis of faith. For this reason, the dignity of the individual as human becomes the basis for morality. According to a majority of the religions that believe in a supreme being (God) it is generally agreed that he is the creator of all living things with human beings holding a special place in the creation since they were created in His image (particularly according to the Judaism and Christians). According to these religions therefore, no one has the right to take a life other than God, who created it. According to one of the commandments of God (in Christianity and Judaism) human beings are prohibited from killing, where God entrusts humans to preserve life and continue reproducing. From this perspective therefore, life is of inestimable worth be it a pre-born, the aged or even the gravely ill. As compared to the other known animals, it also becomes evident that human beings do indeed special in that they are conscious and from a religious point of view, have souls. It is this very divine nature that sets human beings apart from all other living things. According to such philosophers as Thomas Aquinas, it is only God who has the right to decide when death will come, which means that such acts of taking a life including a death sentence or others like suicide, euthanasia and abortion would be wrong.
Apart from the religious perspective, the natural law approach also emphasizes that life is valuable and should be preserved. From this perspective, human beings are generally inclined to survive and therefore continue living. This therefore makes life valuable given that human beings are inclined to continue living even in hopeless situations. According to Aquinas, suicide is inherently wrong given that it goes against the natural instinct for survival. In this case, it goes against the very nature of man, which is to continue living. This view is supported by Gay- Williams, who argues that every human being is naturally inclined to continue living. Even our reflexes and responses, according to Williams work towards fighting attackers of freeing from wild animals in order to ensure that an individual continues living. In this case therefore, taking a life undervalues the nature of being human. Anything other than natural death is wrong.
The fact that human beings are naturally inclined to continue living shows that life has intrinsic value. A good example that can be used here is that of a baby. While growing up, a baby gradually develops an effective immune system that protects them against various illnesses. This therefore ensures that the child does not succumb to the illness and die. Human beings are therefore designed in a manner that ensures they continue to live until they die of old age or other natural causes. On the other hand, there have been a number of cases where healthcare professionals have given up in patients to the extent of giving them a few days to life only to be surprised by full recovery of such patients and even to continue living for a very long time. This shows that even where modern medicine may fail, there are chances that the body can make full recovery, allowing a person to live their life to the fullest. Terminating a life therefore takes away such chances. The value of life can therefore be seen from both a religious and non- religious perspective, which shows that there is some sanctity to life.
Live to the fullest
According to Nagel, death, which deprives us of life, results in the greatest lose. Here, death is viewed as harm because it deprives us of the life we have, where being alive, rather than dead is a good state to be in. Death therefore deprives us of the good that is being alive. Nagel states that "If death is an evil at all, it cannot be because of it positive features, but only because of what it deprives us of". Although there are various instances that make life difficult (conditions of misery) Nagel also notes that there are those that bring about happiness. However, even in the event that all conditions are set aside, being alive is worth it. He notes that "The situation is roughly this: There are elements which, if added to one's experience, make life worse. But what remains when these are set aside is not merely neutral: it is emphatically positive. Therefore, it is worth living even when the bad elements of experience are plentiful"