ETHICAL DILEMMA 1
Joni wasonly 17 years old when she went swimming with her friends at theChesapeake Bay. Joni dived into the way and fractured her vertebraeafter misjudging the depth. The accident left her a quadriplegic, andher body was paralyzed from the shoulders down. As it would have beenexpected, she became severely depressed to a point of having seriousthoughts of committing suicide. Joni’s life became severelydiminished and her future appeared bleak.
People gothrough complex situations, which is often associated with mentalconflict of interest between individuals’ moral imperatives. Aperson may opt to listen to and obey one moral imperative that wouldend up transgressing the other. People may sometimes term thesituation as ethical paradoxes within the moral philosophy (Walls &Baggett, 2011). Ethical dilemma is a characteristic of variedsituations, which are often triggered in an attempt to go against amoral code or an ethical system to solve the ethical paradox. Thepaper therefore, will examine the Euthanasia ethical dilemmainvolving Joni in accordance to my world view, while comparing it toother available options to resolve the dilemma.
The case isabout Joni, a 17 year old quadriplegic who is paralyzed from theshoulders down. She is contemplating suicide after going through asevere depression. Her future looks bleak or so she thinks and thequality of life she is living is diminishing by day. Life, accordingto Walls & Baggett (2011), is considered sacred and no one isallowed to temper with it. Joni contemplates committing suicide,which is ethically wrong. Joni will not be able to perform any othertasks because she is paralyzed. All her body parts are rendereduseless according to her.
Life is precious nomatter what. Joni’s situation is compromising. What could she everdream of accomplishing as a person in such a situation? In life, mostof the work is done with the use of hands however, she is paralyzedfrom the shoulders down. Human beings have a tendency of feelinguseless in front of their family, especially when they are not ableto perform normal chores. The dilemma in Joni’s case is that lifehas a lot of meaning when one is well and healthy however, her lifeis full of hardship. She is sees it has meaningless and might not beable to be with her friends again, remember it was during a swimmingsession. Her inability to enjoy life’s treasures is one of thedilemmas. Should she let go? Should she not? The many questions goingthrough her mind at that particular situation could be traumatizing.
Joni’s case isbased on one of the Ten Commandments: do not kill. The commandmentnot only refers to killing another human being, but also terminatingyour own. The essence of life is more of accomplishing tasks, givingback, and impacting on people’s life in whatever state one is in.To end one’s life is an unforgivable sin, and Joni should notcommit suicide by all means. One could be forced to ask: Why shouldshe endure life’s hardship and suffering, and be a huge burden forher family?
My corebeliefs are revolved around one of the Ten Commandments, especiallywith response to Joni’s case. The commandment emphasizes onrespecting life and not killing. Joni finds life meaninglesshowever, she should not end her life. My core beliefs are also basedon the essence of life. Joni should commit suicide because she willhave broken one of the commandments: Do not kill. Being a person offaith, my core beliefs are constantly on one’s thoughts and actionsin reference to teachings of the Bible.
The essence of life should be based on individual sense of attachmentwith the Creator. Joni, in respect to her inability to handle tasksis a burden to her family, but life is much more than that. Jonishould realize that the essence of life is life in itself. To be ableto breath and share with others bring meaning to life. Since she isparalyzed, she should focus her energy and thoughts to sharing withher family and friends, which I belief will gradually bring moremeaning to her than not able to go swimming with friends.
The noblestthing in Joni’s case is to discourage all the tendencies over thewhole idea of her ending her life. It is important that Joni is givenall the reasons to view life a Christian perspective. That life ismore important than any other thing. According to Lo (2000), life’smeaning as people perceive it from religious and philosophicalcontemplation of social ties, existence, happiness, and consciousnessperspective. The study over positive psychology factors, which resultin life’s satisfaction come as a result of a person’s strength totackle obstacles. Joni’s experiences resulted in depression anddiminishing essence of life however, it is important that sherealizes that her hardships and sufferings will result in fulfillmentand meaning, if at all she continue to master her challenges andaccept her situation.
Because ofJoni’s diminishing quality of life and her future looking horriblybleak, it is important that Joni finds a whole reason to stay alive.Should she wish to be euthanized? Certainly not, but her perspectiveshould be changed for the better. To avoid her having euthanizingthoughts, Christian doctrines should be imparted on her fickle lifeshe is living (Lo, 2000). Human hardship and suffering is part of aperson’s life regardless of whether it is complete of incompletely.The most important thing to do about Joni’s situation is that sheshould be aware that accidents are a normal things, and she can drawsolace from the fact that there are many people around that havesuffered the same fate, and are still living a full life.
Any otherworldview would emphasize on living a “meaningful” life, and bymeaning meaningful it means that one which without blemish. Thisworldview could also encourage getting rid of a life that has beeninterfered with, for instance, in Joni’s situation. One couldjustify that there is no point living without doing anything becauseof euthanasia.
The Christian worldview dictates that human life should be respected,and therefore, it goes against God’s interests and wishes to end alife that He created. The sixth commandment from the Bible says:“Thou shall not kill.” From the Christian worldview, the mainreason that God despises murder is that God created human beings inHis own image out of His entire creation (Lo, 2000). Christiansemphasizes that even before the codification in Mt. Sinai,termination of life was already considered a sin. In comparison toChristian worldview, my worldview over Joni’s euthanasia is thatshe should find all the reasons to be alive. The dilemma that Joni isin should be handled in a manner that will not jeopardize herwellbeing. The fact that her body is paralyzed from the shouldersdown should not be a reason to render it useless.
Joni’sdilemma stirred wrangles between looking at the situation from theChristian worldview and my core beliefs. There are a lot ofsimilarities may be drawn from both my core beliefs and Christianworldview. For a Christian, this is a total test. Should Joni stayfaithful to Christian doctrines or allow her selfishness thoughts getthe better of her? The dilemma could be solved if at all Joni viewher life from a different perspective.
Lo, B. (2000). Resolving ethical dilemmas: A guide for clinicians.Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Walls, J. L., & Baggett, David. (2011). Good God: The TheisticFoundations of Morality. Oxford Scholarship Online.