Failure to Understand

by | February 19, 2016

Lately, I have been seething with frustration about religious people’s failure to accept simple concepts or grasp the idea of individual rights when their religion tells them those concepts and those rights are against their religion.

In his article, “Religious Opponents of Assisted Dying Ignore Earthly Realities,” Dr. David Amies, a member of Dying with Dignity Canada’s (DWD) Physicians Advisory Council, appears to share my frustration. However, he doesn’t appear to be as intolerant of intolerance as I am.

Earlier this month, Dr. Amies attended a forum organized by St Andrew’s Church in Calgary, Alberta on the subject of physician-assisted dying. Dr. Amies sat through a “passionate theological dissertation from the minister on the panel concerning the new law” without screaming out loud in frustration:

She claimed, among many other things, that Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate who had suffered grievously on the cross. She implied that if God could suffer unendurable grief and pain then his creation, namely humanity, could do the same. Consequently, the use of human-devised law to escape possible end-of-life suffering was quite unacceptable, nay, even blasphemous. So vehemently did she make her points that she was weeping openly by the time she sat down.

Dr. Amies provides a thoughtful and accurate response to this example of religious hysteria:

Apparently, it did not occur to her that her words made no sense to many in the audience who have no truck with concepts such as God.

Dr. Amies goes on to discuss

one rather poignant moment involving the last questioner, an elderly woman, who asked what was the purpose of her church any longer. After all, it now sanctioned gay marriage, it no longer railed against therapeutic abortion, it ordained women and now seemed likely to support the deliberate shortening of life for suitably qualified individuals by their physicians. She revealed that she had been a devout Christian for all of her adult life and had watched as pillars of doctrine been slowly dismantled. I found the tone of her question, and the way in which she asked it, rather moving.

Yes, the woman has every right to be disappointed; after all, her church has failed to deliver what it promised to do: prevent gay marriage, women on the altar and abortion. Her church has failed her. It’s too bad she didn’t get disillusioned with her church earlier; she would have been able to accept what Dr. Amies calls “earthly realities.”

Dr. Amies ends his column by saying,

Both my wife and I enjoyed our trip for the most part. We found the theological experience a little hard to take.

I’m sure “a little hard to take” is an understatement.

Note: You can leave a comment to Dr. Amies’ column posted on the DWD website and on the BC Humanist website.

3 thoughts on “Failure to Understand

  1. AtheistsMeow

    As one of my favourite comedians has said, “keep thy religion to thyself”.

    I don’t feel anyone has any business telling me whether I must suffer at the end of my lifetime. Why prolong the inevitable anyway?

    I’ve mentioned sending me to a veterinarian to be put to sleep if that’s the only way to have my wishes met, & I sometimes think I am not entirely joking with the way these religions seem to worm their way into everyone’s life, death, marriages, & child rearing, atheists or not!

    Angry at this nonsense?……oh yeah!

    1. Tim Underwood

      There are at lest two categories of opinion on assisted dying. The secular and the religious. We have to keep reminding our elected officials to keep these categories separate. The religious opinions must never have any standing.

      Since anyone can end up being a member of parliament, it is necessary to keep a close watch on elected members. The same sort of logic applies to our media. Religious opinion has to be weeded out from all serious political decision making.

      Ok, back to the real world, let’s continue the struggle.

  2. Sokolowski Wlodzimierz

    Canadian Medical Association 1867 Alta Vista Dr, Ottawa, ON K1G 5W8 (613) 731-9331

    RE “Mds group disappointed by recommendation to require referrals for assisted death” by Sheryl
    Uberlacker, The Canadian Press, Telegraph-Journal, February 27, 2016 A7
    Doctors urge Ottawa to provide more clarity on assisted dying law LAURA STONE OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 9:00PM EST Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 01, 2016 6:16AM EST
    Hon. Senator Kelvin Ogilvie,
    Dear Sir,

    The right of a practicing physician to refuse a referral to another doctor ready to help to die arose in few different countries of the Western World and was solved in a tactful way. Physicians who are disapproving the practice of helping to die when death is requested and justified, do not have to bother to bend their own convictions but diplomatically sent away client requesting this type of service. These doctors neither have to explain themselves nor apologize, and that is it. Because the interested patient or his/her family would easily find another doctor who would be willing to render such a service. This way no one has to surrender his/her ethical and moral convictions.

    Completely different issues create some Canadian doctors torturing and murdering innocent Canadian citizens due to different reasons and in my case murdering on my account, an immigrant physician targeted for annihilation and staining my descendants generations to come.
    If neither leaders of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) nor New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) and College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick (CPSNB) could tackle my accusations openly and professionally it would mean that all of you mentioned leaders on a Canadian medical profession are hypocrites practicing a double standard and are premeditated murders cover up accomplices.
    With respect,

    Wlodzimierz Sokolowski MD CMA 35018 NBMS # 702 CFPC 40477


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