The two controversial topics that have grasped people’s attention are euthanasia and death penalization. The subject itself has roots that have been developed from the beginning of humankind. It is interesting to learn about this subject of matter because it may be useful to know in certain situations. Also, learning if there is a right or wrong in such actions will provide more perspectives on this matter. The decision of whether a person should live or die depends on the state laws. There are both rivals and followers of the subject. However, no matter how different opinions are, the state holds the authority of making this decision. Death penalization and euthanasia are serious matters that have not been taken lightly throughout time. State laws have been created for reasons, whether valid to society or not, it holds power beyond human control.
The act of euthanasia was already known and conducted by people in the Roman Empire. Since it wasn’t in conflict with moral standards at the time, people were not condemning or judging those who performed it . Whether it is a sentence for a crime or an illness taking over, who has the right to decide if a person’s life should continue or end. Can anyone measure the pain that one goes through while lying in bed unable to move?
Only a few states in the USA legalized euthanasia, but many more states have the action of death penalization. Is it truly fair for people who did not commit any crimes to go through pain and suffering, and not being able to leave this world in peace? But people who committed a crime sentenced to death under “merciful” circumstances. The word “euthanasia” derived from the Greek words that translate as “easy death” and means helping terminally ill persons to die in a fairly painless way.
As in the case of a death penalization, euthanasia has its supporters and opponents. Whether it is one or the other depends on several facts, such as personal opinion, culture of the person that was brought up, religion that one practices, and circumstances surrounding the decision. Usually, if the decease causes the unbearable physical and mental pain, that person will ask to be killed, but if this factor is eliminated, then there is no reason to die. When a person asks to kill him or herself, it might be a cry for help in painful circumstances, whether it is mental or physical.
However, euthanasia is not just “easy death”, but it is mainly a decision about it. The dilemma is if a person should die naturally, but in pain, or perform or not to perform certain actions, which will help him die without causing much torments.
The main reason against euthanasia is that the medical professionals are under the oath to never do harm, particularly to kill anyone.
Supporters of death penalization have several arguments justifying the state-sanctioned murder of those who take lives away. There is an old law that states, “tooth for tooth, eye for eye”. Then there is the practical argument stating that the death sentence keeps many criminals from being murdered.
In addition, death penalization prevents recurrence in regards to murderers because if they are released from prison, there is a high chance that they will commit crimes again. Prison does not guarantee a mental fix for people who commit crimes such as man slaughter and or murder. The third argument is also pragmatic, and inferior because the state saves money by killing murderers. Instead of keeping them in prison for a lifetime expectancy, societies taxes and certain fees are contributed to subjects of this matter.
The rivals state two ethical arguments, which consist of the following. In modern democracy, punishment should not only be punitive but should also try to reeducate a criminal to enable him to live in a society with others. While this argument is unconditional, those who have heard about modern prisons recognize that many inmates are immune to re-education, which is a fact that cannot be explained solely by conditions of custody.
The second ethical argument is based on the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” which also warns states alongside to murder. The strength of this argument is undermined by the fact that the state may resort to the death penalization to prevent severe crimes, or to prevent rebellion.
Opponents of the death penalization also rely on utilitarian disagreements because it is irreversible. If the offender turns out to be innocent, it is no longer possible to abandon the punishment. In addition, objectors harshly criticize the preventive effect of the death penalty.
Criminologists have confirmed by statistics that in those US states where the death penalty is allowed, the number of serious crimes has not decreased. Other criminologists, however, argue that such a conclusion, if it has sufficient justification, should apply to all criminal law: offenses are committed every day; nevertheless, if we did not have such prohibiting norms, the number of crimes would be even greater. In their view, capital punishment serves, at least, to limit people’s even thinking of a murder.
Hence, from the point of view of consistent atheistic and materialistic consciousness, the death penalty is fundamentally permissible: imprisonment for life, as an alternative, is completely meaningless from this point of view. And in general: ” If there is no God, then everything is allowed, ‘and the matter is only a reasonable, balanced determination of the degree of social expediency of certain measures.’
From the viewpoint of a Christian religion, death penalization must be recognized as unconditionally unacceptable, since it signifies violence against a person and the audacity of the final sentence to a person in his metaphysical sense . Additionally, it is necessary to recognize the clear fact that the state has the right to use death penalty, as well as to dispose of the lives of its citizens in other forms (conscription for military service with the subsequent participation in hostilities).
At the same time, the state should not be thought of as irresponsible and alien force for citizens, but as the highest expression of the will and life of the people, as a political and legal realization of the country. The acknowledgement of lawful rights of the state to use death penalty means it is acceptable, but does not yet say anything in favor of its necessity . It is possible that the state, having the authority to death penalty, should nevertheless, refrain from using it. This arrangement should be used at least in peacetime: the death penalization, in accordance with this point of view, is acceptable, but it is better not use it.
The opinions in favor of such a refusal are: the unavoidable risk of judicial errors, the need for executioners, the doubtful effectiveness of the death penalty, humanistic considerations. At the same time, the first three arguments that have a rational sense and a clear rationale, as a rule, come to the fore, and ‘humanistic considerations’ play, at first glance, the role of some emotional reinforcement. In fact, they are the ones that determine the refusal of the “civilized world” from the death penalty. The risk of judicial errors, indeed, has always been, is and will be, the malice of the executioner’s ‘work’, and, could the death penalty truly ever reduce the crime. However, never in the whole history of mankind, these arguments were considered as a possible reason for refusing the death penalty.
If it was canceled at any time, it was only due to the impulse of the moral sentiments of individual rulers. Looking at history, it is necessary to recognize the legislative consolidation of the death penalty as a rule from which exceptions were extremely rare. Why is the modern ‘civilized world’ so stubbornly seeking to ban the death penalty? Perhaps crime has decreased, and social standards softened?
Or maybe it is quite the opposite. And even if that were so, there would be no need to legally stop the death penalty: after all, in a society of law-abiding people with a high legal conscience, it would be difficult for anyone that the death penalization is provided by law for those crimes which nobody commits? The real reason for the movement of the modern ‘civilized world’ to the elimination of the death penalization lies in its pacification and loss of the spiritual dimension, in materialism and the cult of bodily life, which have become both mass and state ideology.
On the one hand, indeed, materialism means that “There is no God and everything is allowed,” that is, since man is nothing more than a material bio-object reflecting on the bone skeleton and covered with natural leather on the outside, through brain impulses to the extent that other material objects of a similar device do not and cannot have any reasonable grounds to protest against the cessation of some specific physiological processes in this biosystem, especially since this does not mean ‘destruction’, nothing is destroyed (the soul is not there, and the ‘world’ does not ‘die’ together with man), but the matter passes into other forms of its eternal movement.
On the other hand, since this complex of specific physiological processes in the biomass that makes up the body, life for the materialist is exhausted, the physiological well-being and integrity of the body becomes for him a fundamental value. On the question of life and death, materialism demonstrates a very bad tension. It is materialism, which is not even able to raise (not just solve) the question of the meaning of life, materialism, which is not even able to distinguish life from death at the conceptual level (both of which are “movements of matter”), it is he who clings convulsively to life, and is afraid of panic to think about death, although there is no meaning for him either in life or in death.
A humanistic and kind-hearted materialist extends these instincts of his own and beyond his individual physiological process – according to the feeling of solidarity he is pleased with someone’s successful physiology and terrifies someone’s transition to other forms of the movement of matter. It is not the Christian love for one’s neighbor that repels him from the death penalization, but the irrational fear of approaching the topic of death itself – fear threatening the tranquility of his own physiological process.
A materialist, becoming humane and sympathetic, becomes completely powerless to decide anything in matters of life and death. And the more he clings to life — reduced to the physiology of his biomass, the more truly he lives his life. The religious-philosophical view, the prospect of eternity is open, and only in this perspective can fundamental solutions to human existence be obtained. The problem of the death penalty should also be comprehended, first of all, in these limiting grounds. There is no unity among believers regarding this problem. Also, we must not forget that even the death penalty does not guarantee a repentance.
The drawback is that people transformed by the expectation of the death penalty do not return to societies. However, this deficiency is more than offset by the acquisition: the saved soul of man. If, indeed, we execute a “completely different” person, if he repented and changed, becoming another, then eternity departs no longer a criminal, but a righteous person.
It would be absolutely wonderful if the condemned man, after going through the horror of inevitable death and being reborn in repentance, would have received pardon and would have returned to a different person after all, but this cannot be the rule. In order for the transformative potential of the death penalty to be revealed, the sentence should not be a joke, and death is not just probable, but it is inevitable. And even in this case, having pardoned the suicide bomber, we cannot know for sure who he had pardoned — another person who had changed in repentance, or a person who was simply frightened, capable, taking a breath, to new crimes, or even embittered by the more moral restraints.
It must be said about the imminent risk of judicial errors, which is always cited as the most serious argument against the use of the death penalty. Indeed, there is no guarantee against such errors; however, this argument has never, in the whole history of mankind, been considered as the reason for refusing the death penalty. But it is also so obvious that physical death is not the absolute evil that humanistic materialism sees in it. If everything ends with physical death, then nothing at all makes sense: neither life nor death, nor truth, nor suffering, nor love, nor punishment.
If death is a transition to eternity, if God will keep the world and His love does not leave anyone, even those who have renounced it, – then there is no reason to fall into catalepsy from contact with the theme of suffering and death of the innocent. At the same time, we are far from the irresponsible position that atheism ascribes to the believing consciousness: they say, we will write everything down to God, and no problems.
The theme of innocent suffering and death is a huge, deepest topic of religious thought. The presence in the law of capital punishment in the form of the death penalization is normal for a morally healthy society. The non-use of this measure as unnecessary is an indicator of the criminological well-being of society.