[Again, apologies it's been so long since my last entry. I'll try to ramp it up! :) But please know that the more comments you guys leave here, the more motivation it will be for me to get my next entry out soon.]
Chantal Sebire used to look like you and me, but facial tumors (esthesioneuroblastoma) rendered her face disfigured. Over time, they will destroy her brain and kill her. Sebire speaks heart-breakingly of what she has had to go through:
In 2000, I lost the sense of smell and taste ... and I lost my sight in October 2007. One would not allow an animal to go through what I have endured.Sebire recently appealed to a high court in Dijon, France, to be given the right to end her own life but was turned down. She's now appealing to President Sarkozy for a change in France's euthanasia laws.
Sebire's case presents one of the most troubling right-to-die cases in recent memory. Her disfigurement and pain is obvious to anyone who sees her photographs, and a restriction against killing herself is equivalent to a sentence of lifelong suffering.
In evaluating these cases from a Christian perspective in contemporary society, there are many conflicting values and norms that come into play. The first is the prohibition against suicide. Most often, people cite 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to demonstrate unequivocally that God is against suicide:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodyIt's clear that God values life in the Bible, but the Bible is strikingly unclear as to what level of existence qualifies as life. Would God prefer someone resigned to the abject pain and horrifying struggles of a daily struggle with only a future of slow and torturous death ahead of them, or would he prefer someone that celebrated their life for what it was shortly before taking it? This is the choice I think is offered by Sebire's situation.
One other thing to consider is the advancement of medical technology, which has made suicide an easy and painless procedure, but has also brought into existence life-prolonging drugs and equipment that might benefit the body but not the soul. People live longer today than they were meant to live according to "nature." A pastor who I recently spoke with opined to me that as a result of all this technology, people live longer than they're "supposed to." Maybe we're not supposed to live so far past the time when we still have the ability to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, and use the bathroom ourselves. But society has deemed that because we can, we should.
But maybe in Sebire's case, keeping someone alive just for the sake of it says a lot more negative things about us as a human society than it does positive.