Identical twin brothers in Belgium were euthanized by doctors in what has sparked an international debate, because unlike most cases of assisted suicide, the brothers were not terminally ill. Both were deaf and recently learned they were going blind as well. So distraught that they would not be able to hear or see one another, they chose to end their lives together by assisted suicide, which is legal in Belgium.
Here in America, Montana, Oregon and Washington are the only states that permit some form of assisted suicide. Deliberately killing someone, even if done humanely and by a medical professional, has divided the population largely in part because of religious reasons.
When faced with terminal illness and significant suffering, we don't have the legal right to end our pain. For animals, it's humane; for humans, it's a capital offense. Heroes like the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian were villainized and thrown in jail for helping people escape their suffering. The delusion is we don't own our own bodies and lives. Critical thinking says that people should have 100 percent control over their own decisions as long as those decisions don't violate the rights of others. This is fourth grade logic our elected officials are apparently incapable of comprehending.
In the Roman Catholic Church, suicide is a sin, because only God has the authority to end a human life. No evidence exists to support this claim, yet it's the undercurrent of the laws banning assisted suicide. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) says this: "God is the sovereign Lord who determines the day we die. Therefore, we are not to undermine God's authority."
Once again, we have religious leaders and organizations telling us what God wants with no proof to support their statements. Make no mistake: This is not about what God wants. This is religious zealotry masquerading as morality. This is about controlling society, and it works on the masses. The problem is once critical thinking is injected into the equation, this mass manipulation becomes obvious.
Here's my critical thinking question on this bold statement from the Catholic Church: "How do they know?" The Church, Catholic or any other, has no more information than you or I do. Years ago they did, and that's where the manipulation began. People didn't have access to information and were largely ignorant and terrified to challenge the church. Those days are gone. Today, Americans are armed with more information and education at their fingertips than all the generations that preceded us combined. It's easy to scare an uneducated, ignorant populous, but once the playing field of education, knowledge and awareness is leveled, everything changes.
Educated people cannot be bullied or brainwashed. In the information age, you better have extraordinary evidence to support extraordinary claims, and religion offers no such evidence. The case made by the religious right against assisted suicide is based on a book written by relatively ignorant men. Today, a 12-year-old knows more about the world than the greatest scholars of the Iron Age and the authors of the Bible. The leap of faith that Christianity demands is that the Bible was inspired, and therefore written, by God himself. Again, not a shred of evidence exists to prove this claim, yet it has convinced 2 billion otherwise intelligent people that their book was written by a supernatural, omniscient being, even though it is filled with 1st century ignorance. The idea that a merciful God is against ending human suffering is a prime example. It defies even a child's logic, yet it's ferociously observed and defiantly defended by most Americans.
It's time for thinking people to stand up and start pushing back on issues that involve human suffering. If someone chooses to believe that God wants her to suffer through a terminal illness that's her decision, but when you force the rest of us to obey laws based on evidence-less beliefs, it's wrong and needs to be stopped. You're welcome to believe in Santa Claus, but when you outlaw burning wood in my fireplace so he can slide down the chimney you're going to have to prove he actually exists. Your faith is yours, not anyone else's. Forcing critical thinkers to adhere to laws based on fairy tales is wrong.
Unfortunately, the church isn't the only powerful group of people protesting assisted suicide. There are many physicians who are banding together to fight physician-assisted suicide as well. Once again, here's another powerful group of people who used to have far more clout in society than they have now, due to education and information available to the masses. Critical thinking on this is simple: If a physician-assisted suicide violates the individual physician's belief system, he shouldn't be forced to perform this service. For physicians who believe it's the right thing to do, they should be able to do it.
This whole argument boils down to a simple premise: Who is in charge of our lives? Doctors? Politicians? Religious leaders? Or us? Are we so feeble-minded that we cannot be trusted to be responsible for our own existence? The answer is obviously no, yet that's exactly what the people in power would have us believe. They brainwash us to believe we need their laws, dogma and leadership to live our lives so they can exert their control.
When will Americans grow up emotionally and accept the fact that this is the one and only life we have evidence of that exists, and we should be allowed to live it on our own terms? The states have the power to allow and regulate assisted suicide or to prohibit it, and with enough pressure from critical thinkers we will someday have the freedom to end our lives with dignity. If enough critical thinkers band together, someday we'll be able to live and die on our own terms.