Death from Christian and Buddist Perspectives


Healthcare providers should possess culturally competent skills in order to support the diverse health needs of persons from diverse backgrounds. Patients from different faiths and religious affiliations will tend to possess specific values (Meehan, 2012). That being the case, caregivers should acknowledge this diversity and provide adequate care based on the faith expressions of such clients. George is a patient who has a terminal condition.

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Some terminal diseases result in death since they do not have treatment options. This is the case with George’s health condition. It is agreeable that George’s disease is hard to treat. This fact explains why euthanasia is a possible option. This discussion examines George’s case from two different religious perspectives. The analysis explains how the client might be supported in order to deal with the condition.

From a Christian Perspective

The Worldview of Christians

For Christians, God is the prime reality. The world around us is autonomous and orderly since it was created by God. That being the case, we should establish develop positive personal relationships with it. Human beings are complex machines created in the image and likeness of God. After death, human beings are usually transformed into a higher state. The Bible says that every holy person will go to heaven.

Since human beings are made in the likeness and image of God, they should possess the ability to understand the things around them. Since God is wise, human beings should use the knowledge given by God to differentiate the wrong from the right (Meehan, 2012). According to the Bible, the right thing should be pleasing in the eyes of God. The meaning of human history is to realize God’s intention of creating mankind, the earth, and the heavens. This knowledge will definitely prepare Christians for a better life in heaven.

Ethical Analysis

From the case of George, it is agreeable that the malady is making it hard to have a good lifestyle. From a Christian perspective, this kind of suffering is acceptable and prepares him to focus on his position in the universe. Although the disease might be making it hard for George to have a better life, the agreeable fact is that he has a way out. God allows diseases so that men can reflect and reconsider the position of the creator in their lives (Bednarz, Schim, & Doorenbos, 2010). With this cultural knowledge, George can be supported to lead a healthy life despite the presence of the disease in his body. George’s condition can be healed and eventually lead to a better life. This is possible for those who have a strong faith.

Many Christians will examine George’s disease from a Biblical perspective. As a person, George has been created in God’s image. He should understand his purpose on earth and be aware of the fortunes associated with the heavens. Christianity would think of George’s life as valuable and worth of respect. As a person, George is someone who can achieve his goals and eventually lead a good life (Kieman et al., 2011). Even when he is sick, George is a God’s child who should be respected and taken care of.

Similarly, Christians will respect the value of George’s life with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). It is agreeable that ALS is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord” (Kieman et al., 2011, p. 944). Despite this fact, many Christians will engage in prayers so that George might receive healing. This is the case because he is valuable in society. George should, therefore, be respected, taken care of, and respected. Cultural-competence health care should be available to George so that he can realize his personal goals. This should be the case even if he has the disease in the body.

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The other issue to consider is that of euthanasia. This kind of medical practice has gained much attention in the recent past (Meehan, 2012). Several values should be considered by Christians before deciding on euthanasia. For instance, respect for life is something taken seriously by Christians. Religion teaches people to respect life because it is God-given (Douglas et al., 2011). The second value is that of dignity. Since human beings are created by God, the concept of dignity should be practiced in each and every society.

God is the one who gives life. This Christian value supports the principles and issues associated with death. That being the case, Christianity does not support the idea of euthanasia. The best thing is to ensure George is provided with the most desirable support and attention. By so doing, he will die peacefully at the right time. This practice will definitely portray the best respect for humanity and life.

In accordance with Christian values, George should be supported until he dies peacefully. Christianity condones any form of torture or killing (Douglas et al., 2011). George is also obliged to take care of his own life. That being the case, George should be supported throughout his lifespan.

From a Buddhist Perspective

The Worldview of Buddhism

According to Buddhism, everything should be treated as God. This God is usually a force and impersonal in nature. The religion goes further to argue that the existing world is unreal or fantastical in nature. Buddhists believe that human beings are united with God. This fact explains why the reality of human beings is something critical. Religion indicates that people do not die. Death, according to religion, is nothing but a cycle of reincarnation. When people progress successfully in these stages, they eventually realize complete oneness or nirvana (McCaffrey, Raffin-Bouchal, & Moules, 2012).

Instead, their forces are eternal. In order to know anything, humans should withdraw themselves from the physical world and examine the divinity within them. In order to know what is wrong and right, Buddhists believe that people should acquire a sense of enlightenment. Without ignorance, people will be good since there is no specific thing like wrong or right. Finally, human history has very little meaning since “people are caught up in a constant cycle of rebirth” (McCaffrey et al., 2012, p. 89).

Ethical Analysis

Buddhism would interpret George’s suffering and malady from a critical perspective. The presence of his disease and suffering is not something beyond reality. Instead, George can engage in a new path towards enlightenment and overcome this kind of suffering. This kind of enlightenment can play a positive role in addressing his challenges. This disease might be caused by “the ignorance of the true nature of reality” (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014, p. 36).

The occurrence of a disease might be taken seriously by Buddhists. However, religious belief provides avenues through which individuals can look deeper into their souls and eventually become enlightened. This kind of enlightenment will make it easier for George and his relatives to find new ways of dealing with the condition.

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This religion would indicate that there is nothing wrong with George’s life. Despite having the condition, George is a complete human being capable of realizing his personal goals. He can do this by re-patterning his experience and focusing on the concept of enlightenment. His life as a person and his value with ALS are the same. The important thing is to focus on true unity with the existing reality (Bednarz et al., 2010).

Based on the teachings of this religion, issues such as enlightenment would be considered in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia. According to this religion, human beings are allowed to do whatever feels good. This value is supported by the fact that human beings are part of the wider universal system. They are immortal creatures responsible for their own interpretations and understandings of the world around them.

Their experiences are personal in nature and borrow every little from the past. These values associated with Buddhism explain why George will definitely find it easier to opt for euthanasia. Consequently, the process will not result in death in accordance with the beliefs associated with Buddhism (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014). This is the case because human beings are in constant cycles of birth, reincarnation, and rebirth. This understanding shows clearly that George will be free to do whatever might produce happiness and bring him closer to enlightenment.

According to Buddhism, sin arises from “ignorance of the nature of reality” (Bednarz et al., 2010, p. 257). Buddhism itself is a philosophical response to human suffering. That being the case, George will be free to make the most desirable decisions and take control of his life. By so doing, he will be able to re-pattern his life and eventually attain nirvana or enlightenment. The religious belief shows clearly that human beings will only learn by withdrawing themselves from the universe and look deeper into themselves (Watts & Tomatsu, 2014). By so doing, they will connect with their realities and the divinity inside their bodies. Since the ultimate is something unknown, George will eventually have total control of his own life.


Bednarz, H., Schim, S., & Doorenbos, A. (2010). Cultural diversity in nursing education: perils, pitfalls, and pearls. Journal of Nursing Educator, 49(5), 253-260.

Douglas, M., Pierce, J., Rosenkoetter, M., Pacquiao, D., Callister, L., Hattar-Pollara, M.,…Purnell, L. (2011). Standards of practice for culturally competent nursing care: 2011 update. Journal of Trans-cultural Nursing, 22(4), 317-333.

Kieman, M., Vucic, S., Cheah, B., Turner, M., Eisen, A., Hardiman, O.,…Zoing, M. (2011). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Lancet, 377(1), 942-955.

McCaffrey, G., Raffin-Bouchal, S., & Moules, N. (2012). Buddhist thought and nursing: a hermeneutic exploration. Nursing Philosophy , 13(2), 87-97.

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Meehan, T. (2012). Spirituality and spiritual care from a careful nursing perspective. Journal of Nursing Management, 1(1), 1-12.

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

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