“Those who received MAID tended to be white and relatively affluent and indicated that loss of autonomy was the primary reason for their request,” the report states. “Other common reasons included the wish to avoid burdening others or losing dignity and the intolerability of not being able to enjoy one’s life. Few patients cited inadequate control of pain or other symptoms.”This was unexpected since most of the campaigns for euthanasia, PAD, or PAS that I have seen emphasize the relief of uncontrolled pain and suffering as their primary goals. I have yet to hear a pro-euthanasia proposal that puts autonomy at the top of the list of factors as to why people should support legalization of these procedures.
Autonomy (per Wikipedia) is derived from the ancient Greek word: αὐτονομία autonomia from αὐτόνομος autonomos from αὐτο- auto- "self" and νόμος nomos, "law", and means "one who gives oneself one's own law". I believe it originally used to refer to the autonomous rule of the city-states of ancient Greece.
"Autonomy" to the modern Canadian and American probably means something similar to "one who gives oneself one's own law". It is somewhat akin to social relativism and moral relativism in that each individual makes his or her own rules and the rest of us are supposed to be supportive no matter what the end result might be. In practice, it means that "I am in control of every part of my life including my death even if it means you (the doctor or nurse) must insert the needle and/or prescribe the drugs". Autonomy has become a modern virtue, and the loss of it is felt by those seeking euthanasia to be a fate worse than death.
As Christians, autonomy may mean something completely different. We have accepted Jesus as Lord, and we recognize that we are no longer in control,
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?" 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NRSV)See also,
"and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NRSV)
"But in the biblical and spiritual sense, autonomy means something quite different: it is not a virtue at all, but a horrendous sin. The biblical worldview posits a God who is there, who has created all things, and expects of his moral creatures a loyalty, dependency, and obedience at all times.It would have been helpful if the Canadian researchers had included a spiritual assessment in their study so that we could see if there was any association between religious affiliation, church attendance, or faith in God and the fear of loss of autonomy.
The essence of the Fall, and of all sin, is personal autonomy – the idea that we do not need God, that we can pretend we can live a life totally apart from God, and that we in fact are the centre of the universe. That rejection of reliance upon and complete dependency on God is the height of what sin means – a radical independence of God and his standards."
The growing acceptance of euthanasia (no matter what the euphemistic acronym) is evidence that the world is in desperate need of the Good News that God is always with us, and He is in control, not us.
And yes, we will die, but we have nothing to fear as long as we have given our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our souls to Him.