The Right to Die, Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia by Mark Blocher

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Blocher’s goal in The Right to Die is to give “sound biblical, moral, and practical reasons for rejecting assisted suicide and euthanasia” (p. 10). In this, I believe he has done well. On the biblical front, he presents what Scripture he can on this subject, which is sparse. There simply are not volumes of biblical texts that deal directly with some of the modern issues facing society today. Principles, such as the sanctity of human life since man is created in the image of God, the condemnation of murder in any form, the sovereignty of God, and so forth are clearly presented.

It remains for Blocher to build upon this biblical foundation a case, which includes the study of history, philosophical reasoning and theological deductions. He realizes that, even in the Christian community convictions will differ, but he clearly states his and gives reasons for them.

Toward the end of the book the author handles some of the more thorny problems facing a society in which technological ability has outstripped its moral understanding. End of life decisions, withholding food or water from the dying, and living wills are all addressed. Blocher also offers the alternative of hospice. But he goes beyond that to describe a program he has designed called LIFT (Loving Individuals in Final Transition). This is a program of Christian Hospice that can be utilized by the local church to provide its members with skills needed to provide high-quality care to terminally ill individuals and their families.

I found this a very helpful book, one which those facing end of life decisions -for themselves or a loved-one – would do well to read.

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