Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fundamentalism and End of Life Decisions

I mentioned a few posts back about my foray into the highly convoluted world of Christian radio. I listened for several hours on the day previously discussed but eventually had to stop. I was just getting too angry by the whole conversation being played-out on the radio waves. It seemed impossible that anybody could really believe all of the c_ _ p that was going down that day.

Like I said previously, the main topic was why we SHOULD NOT have any type of national health care, as that was a socialist plot. But, intermixed with all of that were many comments concerning "end of life" decisions. The short story seemed to be that the fundies are opposed to ANY discontinuation of life-prolongation measures NO MATTER WHAT THE CASE. I found this especially odd, since such measures are typically quite expensive, and the fundie world opposes any type of national health insurance. Seemed to make more sense for them to agitate for womb-to-tomb care and demand that it include all extraordinary measure to prolong life that are currently possible.

Mostly though, I wondered about the basic idea that life support measures should NEVER be withdrawn. I tried to go at it from several angles. What if I was the recipient of said measures, or my sons, or my wife, or grandchildren? A sticky question, I must admit. Still, I don't think I can be as absolute as our fundamentalist friends are. There comes a point where, to the best of our knowledge, one is keeping a corpse alive.

The problem is twofold. First, our technology has out-distanced our wisdom. We can do things without really knowing exactly what we are doing. Second, our technology has out-distanced our ethical knowledge. Fundamentalists are so confused, I really don't think we can adopt their ethics. Society's ethical capacity simply falls short here. Such decisions didn't even face us 50 years ago.

In short, fundamentalists are too judgmental, know-it-ll, and self-righteous to be of much use in this debate. Until they begin to think rationally, they aren't going to be much help to the rest of us.

1 comment:

  1. Dear James, I just had the good fortune of running across your blog and book.I read that you are studying fundamentalism and domestic violence. I am a survivor of both. I'd be happy to help you out in any way I can. kristen