Death and Dying in Christianity and Buddhism


The presented case study indicates that George has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This condition progresses gradually and eventually results in motor neuron deterioration and complete loss of coordination and muscle control. Terminal conditions such as ALS call for appropriate care delivery from competent health professionals. That being the case, healthcare specialists should exhibit culturally competent and sensitive dexterities whenever providing medical attention to patients with such conditions (Hasheesh, AboZeid, El-Said, & Alhujaili, 2013). Cultural competence is a concept that guides nurses and medical practitioners to provide unbiased and quality services to their clients. The case of George is quite complicated thereby requiring him to consider a number of options such as euthanasia. Using Christianity and Buddhism as two diverse religious perspectives, this discussion explores how George’s health demands can be met by healthcare practitioners.

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Christian Perspective

Christians’ Worldview

Christians believe in a Supreme God. According to them, He is the prime reality. God also created the universe and the world in an orderly manner. This explains why the world is autonomous. Human beings (or Christians) were created by God and should, therefore, be ready to live harmoniously with the world. Humans are complex in nature since they were created in the image of a Supreme Being. In death, a process of transformation takes place whereby humans acquire a higher state (Theofanidis & Mecek, 2016). Christians are guided to live a holy life in order to see God who dwells in heaven. Human beings are also endowed with great abilities. This is the reason why they are able to understand the world and everything around them. They are also capable of differentiating between what ought to be wrong or right. People must do what is righteous and pleasing if their ultimate goal is to be part of God’s kingdom. The purpose and meaning of history are for humans to be able to understand why God created them and the universe in the first place (Hasheesh et al., 2013). With this kind of understanding, human beings can lead a better life and eventually enter His kingdom.

Detailed Ethical Analysis

Christian ethics dictates that human beings should support, love, and take care of each other. This kind of maxim can be used to analyze the unique issues arising from the presented case study. According to Christians, God allows heartaches and diseases in order to prepare men for a better life after death. As a Christian, George will understand that his disease is not the end of life. He should acknowledge that God allows similar conditions so that men can remember their creator, repent, and transform their ways (Monteverde, 2017). Additionally, his friends and family members can pray for him in order to be healed. This is a clear indication that the cultural belief can guide George to strengthen his faith and eventually lead a better life.

From a Christian point of view, the health condition can be a wakeup call to guide George and those around him to strengthen their religious foundations. They will also be willing to guide him to reexamine and analyze his role on earth. Although the disease might be a major obstacle, George can focus on the best practices to make his life meaningful. The people around him will also be willing to support and take good care of him (Nunes & Rego, 2016).

Christianity teaches its followers to be mindful of others including the sick and troubled. Although George’s life might be doomed, Christians will go a step further to encourage him to remain prayerful and always thank God for his good doings. Christians will fast and pray in order to be healed. Additionally, believers will support and offer exemplary services to him (Monteverde, 2017). They will respect his condition and provide adequate care. Caregivers providing medical support should consider this religious perspective in order to ensure quality and culturally sensitive care is available to George.

As indicated earlier, euthanasia is one of the options under consideration in George’s case. It is acknowledgeable that euthanasia remains a widely publicized and controversial subject in the world of medicine. Consequently, a wide range of viewpoints and ethical issues have emerged from the subject. Christians have gone further to explain why human life is worth respecting (Theofanidis & Mecek, 2016). This is the case because life is not given by man but by God. Christian values such as dignity, respect for the autonomous nature of life, love, and care guide Christians to take good care of their fellow believers even when they are sick. Since God gives life, Christians will not be willing to embrace the practice. Consequently, Christianity will encourage George to remain prayerful and empower his relatives to take good care of him. This is the true sign of faith and respect for God’s creation.

From this analysis, it is quite clear that George should not be allowed to think of euthanasia. He should be ready to take good care of himself, pray, and thank God for everything (Monteverde, 2017). His relatives and family members should be on the frontline to support and take good care of him until he dies peacefully.

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Buddhists’ Worldview

Buddhism is one of the religious groups that encourage their followers to treat all things as supreme in nature. According to the faith, God is usually impersonal. He is like a force that is ubiquitous in nature. Believers in this faith argue that the surrounding world is fantastical or nonexistent (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014). This means that it is more or less unreal. They go further to indicate that God is everywhere and unites all people. As a result, the reality of humans on earth is meaningful. People, according to this faith, will never die. The believers acknowledge that death is a process characterized by reincarnation. This is a process characterized by a number of stages. The process eventually results in something known as nirvana or oneness (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014).

The forces within the human body are eternal and live forever. In order to know whatever happens around them, humans must detach themselves from their physical bodies and world. By so doing, they can be able to understand the kind of divinity residing in them. A sense of enlightenment is what is usually needed in order to differentiate the wrong from the good or right. Another requirement is that people should overcome ignorance. Such kind of practice will make them good and demystify the meaning of what ought to be right or unacceptable. Buddhists believe that human history does not have any relevance since they are all caught up in a constant process characterized by re-embodiment (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014).

Ethical Analysis

The uniqueness of this religious faith explains why George’s condition will definitely be treated differently. The presence of a degrading health condition in the body is something normal according to Buddhists. George will be required to consider a new kind of enlightenment in an attempt to overcome the disease. According to members of the faith, diseases can arise when people ignore the true nature or meaning of what is believed to be the reality (Monteverde, 2017). Although the disease is causing a lot of suffering, Buddhists will encourage George to reexamine his situation in order to realize the needed enlightenment. This approach will eventually present new strategies that can be used to deal with the condition.

Despite the presence of ALS in his body, the religion will indicate clearly that George is capable of leading a normal life and eventually achieve his objectives. In order to do this, religious faith encourages him to refocus on the idea of enlightenment. This idea can guide the sick to re-pattern their lives and experiences. This ultimate goal should be to create a new meaning characterized by something known as true unity (Theofanidis & Mecek, 2016).

The worldview presented by this religion can offer a number of considerations when focusing on the issue of euthanasia. To begin with, the idea of enlightenment can be used to address the issue because Buddhists are allowed to embrace the most appropriate or preferable goals. This happens to be the case because human beings are integral parts of the universe. Additionally, Buddhism indicates clearly that humans are immortal and live eternally. They can interpret the surrounding world the way they want in order to understand it clearly. Every person will have his or her unique experiences. The past should be ignored since it can offer very little to support the present (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014). With such values, it is agreeable that George will be in a position to embrace the idea of euthanasia. Although the process results in death, Buddhism teaches its followers that death is nothing but a form of rebirth. The ultimate goal is for people to consider what can bring them closer to happiness, enlightenment, and contentment.

The Buddhism perspective indicates that people can overcome sin by considering keenly the nature of reality (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014). This consideration can be applied by followers who want to take good care of their lives. George, therefore, can be empowered by this kind of faith to take control of his life and make the most desirable decisions. Opting for euthanasia will result in some kind of enlightenment. The approach will make it easier for him to withdraw from the physical world and connect with the divinity residing in his soul. The decision will make it possible for George to control his life and attain nirvana.


Hasheesh, M., AboZeid, A., El-Said, S., & Alhujaili, A. (2013). Nurses’ characteristics and their attitudes toward death and caring for dying patients in a public hospital in Jordan. Health Science Journal, 7(1), 384-394. Web.

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Monteverde, S. (2017). Nursing and assisted dying: Understanding the sounds of silence. Nursing Ethics, 24(1), 1-14. Web.

Nunes, R., & Rego, G. (2016). Euthanasia: A challenge to medical ethics. Journal of Clinical Research and Bioethics, 7(4), 1-5. Web.

Theofanidis, D., & Mecek, F. (2016). Euthanasia: A healthcare debate for a Greek-Turkish perspective. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 9(1), 321-329. Web.

Watts, J., & Tomatsu, Y. (2014). Buddhist care for the dying and bereaved. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Death and Dying in Christianity and Buddhism'. 27 October.

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