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Religious End-of-Life Values

In Isaiah 38:1-3, the prophet said “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Faith is an important part of life for many people. For some, it is the most important part. With that in mind, those who are caring for an elder, and those who serve communities where end-of-life values must be discussed or addressed, should know something about differing viewpoints. In An overview of the spiritual importances of end-of-life care among the five major faiths of the United Kingdom, by Mohsin Choudry Katharine G. Warburton, the differing views of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs are discussed as they relate to terminal illness, withdrawing ad withholding treatment, assisted suicide and death. The paper concludes that “the five faiths strive for a peaceful end-of-life experience, and all discourage acts which hasten death, and share a largely unanimous opinion on euthanasia. There is, however, a wide heterogeneity among communities; therefore, it is important to recognize each individual may follow a paradigm based not only on religion but also ethnicity and culture…. Knowledge of the unique characteristics, nuances and traditions of the five major faiths will serve to significantly enhance the end-of-life experience for the patient, family and their religious community.”

Other Resources:

The Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Palliative Care Conference – Selected Sessions
The Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Palliative Care Conference held on January 22 and 23, 2019, was jointly organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life and Georgetown University in Qatar with the aim of initiating a multidisciplinary exchange on the issues.

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