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Death & Dying Ethics in Buddhism and Christianity


The concept of cultural competence empowers nurse practitioners (NPs) to develop personalized care delivery models. They should also take their patients’ needs, expectations, and religious backgrounds seriously. The selected case study reveals that George is suffering from a condition called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The paper presented below describes the ethical challenge George is facing and the best approaches to support him using religious values or ideas.

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George’s Condition: Christianity

Christian Worldview

The Bible indicates that God is the creator of the universe. He is the prime reality and controls everything in the world. The autonomous nature of the universe is a sign of God’s power and ingenuity. Humans should, therefore, have a positive relationship with the world and everything in it. People are complex and superior machines created in God’s image. Those who die become God’s kingdom and achieve immortality. However, they should always put God first and follow His teachings. Christians are empowered to understand the true nature of the world (Rumun, 2014). They can also use their wisdom to differentiate what is right from the wrong. This means that they will do what is permitted and eventually become part of God’s kingdom.

Ethical Analysis

From a Christian’s perspective, George can achieve his health goals by improving his relationship with God. Believers indicate that any disease is a form of suffering that should bring them closer to their creator. A practitioner providing care to George will guide, empower, and encourage him to focus on his religious goals (Inbadas, Zaman, Whitelaw, & Clark, 2017). If he strengthens his faith, he will become aware of his purpose on earth. As a Christian, he will respect and value his own life. The presence of a terminal condition in his body will not discourage him from pursuing his religious goals. Those around him will respect, counsel, and empower him to lead a good life.

Since ALS is a neurodegenerative condition that is capable of affecting brain cells and the spinal cord, it would be appropriate for George’s relatives and family members to pray for him. They can also encourage him to focus on his experiences and relationship with God. Caregivers will consider the idea of cultural competence to support George and offer the right resources and ideas (Rumun, 2014). The ultimate goal should be to guide him while at the same time supporting his religious values.

Christianity will challenge the idea of euthanasia since it results in the loss of human life. Human beings, according to this religion, should respect God’s creation. They should also embrace the principles of dignity and autonomy. The notion of justice will guide Christian believers to avoid euthanasia. The other important issue is for Christians and George’s relatives to take good care of him. The provision of adequate resources will empower him and support the healing process (Hande, Williams, Robbins, Kennedy, & Christenbery, 2017). Those providing care will guide him to accept his situation until he dies a natural or peaceful death. Torture is also inappropriate since it is not permitted in accordance with Christ’s teachings.

George’s Condition: Buddhism

Buddhism Worldview

Buddhists believe that every object has a special place on earth. This means that it can be considered as part of the prime reality. These believers acknowledge that the world around them fantastical or unreal (Inbadas et al., 2017). Human beings are, therefore, an integral part of the prime reality. Death is something unreal since it eventually results in reincarnation. The final stage of this process is called oneness (or nirvana).

Human force, according to Buddhists, is eternal. People should distance themselves from the world around them in order to achieve enlightenment. This process will make it possible for them to know what is wrong or right (Rumun, 2014). They should avoid the idea of ignorance because it can make it hard for them to pursue what is good. Members of this faith argue that human history does not have meaning. Instead, they believe in the continuous process of rebirth and birth (or reincarnation).

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Ethical Analysis

A Buddhist will present various insights to support George who has ALS. Such a believer will indicate that his condition is something all human beings can control. Following the teachings of Buddha, the patient can embrace the idea of enlightenment to overcome his pain or suffering. Buddhists believe that the decision to ignore the true nature of reality is what causes diseases. Those who have a terminal condition can embrace the concept of nirvana and eventually record positive health goals (Rumun, 2014).

Members of this religion will argue that George’s life is intact. This means that terminal conditions should not discourage people from pursuing their goals. The teachings of Buddha can empower George to reexamine his purpose on earth and focus on the true nature of reality. The fear of death is worth ignoring since all Buddhists will eventually be reincarnated.

Buddhism can present meaningful insights for addressing the ethical question of euthanasia. Followers of this religion would encourage George to consider what is right to him since he is part of the prime reality (Inbadas et al., 2017). He should also be responsible for his actions and decisions. These ideas will empower and guide him to embrace this medical procedure. When he dies, George will be reincarnated and avoid pain. This is the case since Buddhists believe that their lives follow these stages: birth, reincarnation, and rebirth (Rumun, 2014). It will be appropriate for his relatives to support the same idea. This means that George will have to develop the best plan in an attempt to attain nirvana.

Personal Views

From a personal perspective, I believe that human life is precious and people should treat it with dignity. I possess powerful principles and values that can empower many people to achieve their potential. This means that it will be my duty to support George using adequate resources. I will consider the metaparadigms of nursing to provide evidence-based care and ensure that my patient leads a quality life. I will also encourage George’s relatives and friends to take good care of him.

They should be aware of the importance of supporting and protecting God’s creation. This kind of empowerment will encourage George to develop a better relationship with God and eventually become part of His kingdom (Hande et al., 2017). As a practitioner, it is appropriate to provide holistic care and encourage more caregivers to be part of the healing process.


The above discussion has revealed that Buddhists and Christians would propose diverse ideas to meet George’s needs. However, it is necessary to do what is ethical and ensure that he achieves his objectives in life. Practitioners should be ready to answer the question of euthanasia effectively in an attempt to empower more patients with terminal conditions and make it possible for them to achieve their health goals.


Hande, K., Williams, C. T., Robbins, H. M., Kennedy, B. B., & Christenbery, T. (2017). Leveling evidence-based practice across the nursing curriculum. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 13(1), e17-e22.

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Inbadas, H., Zaman, S., Whitelaw, S., & Clark, D. (2017). Declarations on euthanasia and assisted dying. Death Studies, 41(9), 574-584. Web.

Rumun, A. J. (2014). Influence of religious beliefs on healthcare practice. International Journal of Education and Research, 2(4), 37-48.

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