Christian man insists terminally-ill atheist ‘sinner’ will ‘go to hell’ for assisted suicide

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An atheist woman with an incurable brain disease took her own life on Thursday in spite of Christians who insisted that she was a “sinner” and would “go to hell” if she went through with the assisted suicide.


The Winnipeg Free Press‘ Lindor Reynolds reported that 72-year-old Susan Griffiths made the decision to travel to Europe for legal assisted suicide after being diagnosed with multiple system atrophy, which includes a loss of bodily functions and severe pain.

Griffiths passed away on Thursday at a Switzerland clinic after drinking a poisonous mixture of water and pentobarbital.

“I have to go to Switzerland because there’s no such service in Canada for Canadians who are drastically ill and want not to live anymore,” Griffiths told the Free Press earlier this month. “But it’s what I want because I do not want to live in the conditions that I have now.”

In a letter to Parliament before she died, she urged lawmakers to legalize assisted suicide.

Written By: David Edwards
continue to source article at rawstory.com

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  1. I have only admiration for Susan Griffiths and how she faced up to her situation, decided what was best for her to do and did it. She was clearly a woman of intelligence, moral integrity and, of course, courage. Not for her the vain hopes and fears of superstition. Christians should keep their fantasies to themselves. Susan Griffiths has lived, and well has she done so.

  2. Faced with the ultimate “rock and a hard place” position, Ms. Griffiths seems to have thought about it calmly, rationally and compassionately and made the choice that works for her. What a brave woman!

    Of course assisted suicide should be an option for those mentally capable of making that choice. And such a death is superior, in my opinion, to that of, say, Jesus Christ: a man supposedly sent out by his father on what many have described as the longest (33 years, allegedly) assisted suicide (by virtue of the Romans) mission ever undertaken.

  3. This is a classic example of the disgusting dogma drivel of religiously pathological prats!
    This poor lady is suffering from a terrible irreversible torturing disease.
    If I were in her position I would buy as much heroin as possible until I passed away!

  4. The “christian” man will go to hell, be severely taken aback when he’s told why he ended up there and will search in vain for Susan Griffiths’ company and forgiveness. God and Hell should exist explicitly for people like that, and the politicians and others who viscously insist on controlling the lives of others.

    Compounding the cruelty of her illness by the cruelty of the state is absolutely inhuman. To wish a similar fate on her persecutors would be unchristian of me? No, it would be perfectly normal for some, by no means all, who fancy themselves Christian but haven’t got the faintest idea of how to be one.

    Why aren’t humans afforded the same protections granted to our animals? They have the NSPCA. There is no NSPCH…and the christians are in control. Think about that.

    Watching her video is deeply touching. She seems like a person I would like to have had the opportunity to know.

  5. So rude! If the Christians have a beef, it is with Susan Griffiths for refusing to suffer sufficiently to placate their sadistic urges. This sort of rude sniping does nothing to hurt Ms. Griffiths, just her family.

    These critics are behaving as badly as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church. It is none of their business. It is not even as if Griffiths subscribed to their church. Her end of life decisions do not affect them in the least.

  6. I once had a Xian friend of mine make the rather rude comment that although he liked me, he felt sadness for me in that I was going to hell in the afterlife for my disbelief. I said, respectfully, the sadness is that he has wasted his life believing in fairy tales, for in truth, the shame is not that I, a good person, am going to hell, but rather that my friend, an equally good person, is not going to heaven, for no such afterlife awaits.

    In short, the only response to the rude remark “you’re going to hell” is the equally rude retort “oh yeah, well you’re NOT going to heaven.”

  7. Brave woman. But think of those who cannot take their own life because of physical inability. The pious deny these poor people the right to have what they desperately want – the right to a dignified death. For the gratification of their own selfish beliefs the religious zealots deny terminally ill people that basic human right. Such cruel bigoted arrogance is truly breathtaking.

    • In reply to #11 by sbooder:

      They shoot horses don’t they?

      That’s more of a financial thing. As the grandson of a vet who worked almost exclusively on horses, I saw many a lame one put down that could have lived… just not as a race horse. Some have been spared the bolt for the stud money.

  8. ……..Christians who insisted that she was a “sinner” and would “go to hell”……..

    In other news, landlubber warns sailors “It you sail too close to the edge of the earth, you will fall off.”

  9. This is tragic, but as tragedies do, it serves as a catharsis and inducement to think sub specie aeternitatis: I’m alive, healthy, surrounded by ones I love, and need to get on and make the most of it.

    It’s also heartening to learn of individuals who have the courage of their own convictions.

    As for humanity and humility, I’ll leave that to the Christians.

  10. There have been various earlier discussions on the right to die: -

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/637270-how-to-die-in-oregon

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation-articles/2012/8/17/no-precedent-then-set-one#

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2012/8/22/does-this-set-a-record-for-smug-nastiness#

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/638367-pro-suicide-propaganda

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/642360-assisted-dying-and-morality

    These topics clearly spell out the differences between the personal choice – (with safeguards) of the rational thinkers on the right to end terminal suffering, and the GODS BEFORE PEOPLE mindless dogmatists!

  11. When life becomes intolerable to step into oblivion by choice knowing that consciousness ceases is the bravest of actions. I hope she had a great life, experienced what she could and shared her consciousness with as many as she wanted in whatever manner she needed to.

  12. I have watched xtians die. For all their cant about how great afterlife is and the rewards of heaven the look of terror on their faces says it all. They are the real cowards debasing life by swapping it for an ideal but whimpering about the inevitability of having to give it up.

  13. It’s interesting how those against legalizing euthanasia have to resort to made-up ideas to justify their position, whether it’s the “afterlife” argument, the “slippery slope” argument, or the “god said no” argument. Yes, we should be cautious about how the “right to death” should be handled in case someone tries to commit suicide for trivial reasons, but it serves no real purpose to let people be tortured before they die other than to pander to the just-world fallacies and thanatophobia of deluded people who consider validating their own religious beliefs more important than being ethical to other humans.

    It’s also interesting how hypocritical the government’s attitude to suicide tourism is. “Oh, we won’t do anything to stop you from having assisted suicide somewhere else, but if you try it here, we’ll prosecute you.” That’s like saying “Oh, you can go abroad to murder someone, but you can’t do it here. If you really must murder someone, then travel to another country. We won’t stop you.” If they genuinely think assisted suicide is not just illegal but unethical, then they shouldn’t let suicide tourism occur. If they think it’s just a matter of legality with no ethical force behind it, then they should review and change the law. They’re being hypocrites as they are now.

    • In reply to #18 by Zeuglodon:

      If they genuinely think assisted suicide is not just illegal but unethical, then they shouldn’t let suicide tourism occur.

      Let’s not go there. Reminds me of the Irish girl who was detained so she couldn’t go to England for an abortion. I shudder to imagine this poor woman, or anyone in a similar plight, having their passport confiscated….

  14. Here is a brave lady who is prepered to die for her beliefs. on the other hand, there is a christian who is prepered to condem someone else to an eternity to torment for his beliefs.

    Shows the gulf of morality between atheists and theists.

    • In reply to #19 by old-toy-boy:

      Here is a brave lady who is prepered to die for her beliefs. on the other hand, there is a christian who is prepered to condem someone else to an eternity to torment for his beliefs.

      Shows the gulf of morality between atheists and theists.

      He’s not acting immorally. He’s not condemning her to an eternity of torment. He believes his all loving God will do that. If you really and truly believed her actions where condemning her to an eternity of torment wouldn’t you speak out ? Wouldn’t that be the only moral course of action ?

      There in lies the problem of living with these kinds of christians in a secular state. We can leave them alone. They are forced by their false beliefs to not leave us alone. And people keep trying to tell us belief is a private thing and it shouldn’t matter to us that other people’s beliefs are wrong!

      Michael

      • In reply to #20 by mmurray:

        He’s not acting immorally…

        Nor too the homophobes? Fred Phelps?

        The abused deserve our compassion and help but as they become abusers in turn should our attitude to them not change lest abusive behaviour mistakenly receive a pass? When and how do we upgrade a bronze age morality?

        In my book he is acting in an immoral way, he just doesn’t realise it yet.

      • In reply to #20 by mmurray:

        He’s not acting immorally…

        This is something I’ve always felt. There is an inherent problem in the idea of seperation of Church and State. If there really was a Yahweh, then whether you felt he should be worshipped or condemned, ignoring him would be foolish. We should no more allow someone to take a sure path to hell than we should allow a depressive man to take his life during a depressive attack.

        Seperation of Church and State is complicit in the idea that religion is ‘just’ a belief, and not a truth claim which would neccesarily impact decision making. If Judiasm were true, we’d all agree in the necessity of the Depart of Blood Sacrifices, in order to placate our petulant, BBQ-loving overlord. The idea that government should just pretend that people don’t fall into the earth or get turned to salt when they wear mixed fabrics is absurd.

        Ultimately, Seperation of Church and State only works because there is no deity for the government to take into consideration when making choices. SoCaS is basically an official declaration of the government that Atheism or Deism is true. That many theists agree to it is proof of it’s explanatory and practical power, but in order to get them to agree with it, we contribute to the fallacy that religious beliefs are ‘opinions’ or some other trivial thing that don’t contribute to decision making.

        Hence the Christians who actually realize that god being real would actually mean something feel trapped by this ‘pointless beauracratic obstruction’ so to speak.

        I’m against SoCaS in principle, for reasons mentioned above. But in practice… well, it seems to be the only way to get the majority of the populace to demand evidence for your beliefs before you make policy based on it, even if we had to trick them into accepting it. Unfortunately, it still leads to a lot of our religious freedom muck-ups, thanks to the fact that, philosophically speaking, it is a blatant declaration of ignoring facts about the real world. As I said, it only works because those facts aren’t there, but some Christians don’t see it that way, and they can make rational arguments from that point, even if their premises are irrationally held.

        • In reply to #22 by Sines:

          There is an inherent problem in the idea of seperation of Church and State.

          Didn’t Jesus himself duck the issue with “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s….” (sorry, can’t be bothered to hunt down chapter and verse). Perhaps he was spooked by all those crucifixions, and the Romans were closing in…

          But also, religions do tend to teach that duty to the god comes before duty to the state, but also, if you get caught in conflict you just gotta suck up whatever penalty the state imposes. Pray to your god for deliverance. That’s how they get their martyrs.

          The state, in this case, should play its side of the game fairly – no quarter for any religious excuse for committing offenses against the state. A spell in prison will strengthen the faith of the true believer, so no harm done there.

          The hypocrisy is in wanting to be able to claim “faith” as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

      • No, and we can see that by asking this question: speak out against whom though? Surely he can believe his God will condemn this woman to hell and that his God is wrong for doing so. If he does not explicitly acknowledge the immorality of his God’s intent we cannot be certain he does not approve. Therefore we can’t assume he is not acting immorally just because it would not be him casting her into hell.

        I really like this part of your comment though, (I especially liked the second part) because it raises some good and difficult questions.

        In reply to #20 by mmurray:

        He’s not acting immorally. He’s not condemning her to an eternity of torment. He believes his all loving God will do that. If you really and truly believed her actions where condemning her to an eternity of torment wouldn’t you speak out ? Wouldn’t that be the only moral course of action ?
        Michael

  15. @ Sines

    So which religions church do you reckon the the government should run with?

    If you think there should be no separation of church and state, take a look at the cluster fuck the UK has to deal with.

    • In reply to #23 by Ignorant Amos:

      @ Sines

      So which religions church do you reckon the the government should run with?

      I could have been clearer, but I am an atheist, and I like Seperation of Church and State from a practical standpoint. However, people defend it in a way that is generally dishonest. I consider it the lesser of two evils.

      Part of my point was that while SoCaS is effectively government endorsed Deism/Atheism, many religious people also accept it, and think it’s a good thing. However, the only reason we could get christians to agree to the idea, is because it WORKS. A society that acts as though there is no god running the show works better than one that does. If there WAS a god, then any government should take into account that god and his demands. To not do so would be foolish, if not suicidal.

      My problem with SoCaS is that it feels like lying to people for their own good. And it results in a lot of cognitive dissonance and illogical justification, because, well… it doesn’t make sense from a logical standpoint. However, if tricking Christians into not persecuting other religions is the only way to get them to stop, then it is an acceptable solution for now.

      • In reply to #28 by Sines:

        The problem you seem to be referring to has nothing to do with separation of church and state and everything to do with religious people’s intolerance of belief-systems other than their own. The separation of church and state ensures everyone’s freedom to believe as he or she sees fit, and it is for this reason that the more sensible Christian churches support this policy of government. There is no trickery. What does become apparent at times is the ignorance and intolerance and disrespect of some Christians for people of other persuasions. The man who said that Susan Griffiths would go to hell seems to have been, on account of his superstitious belief in immortal souls and the afterlife, more concerned about the ill effect of her euthanasia on her postmortem prospects than motivated by ill will against her. Given freedom of expression, he was entitled to say what he said, even if, in the circumstances, it was really none of his business and was in very bad taste. What else in any case can one expect from someone deluded by superstitions?

        • In reply to #29 by Cairsley:

          Except, just imagine that Yahweh (the Jewish version for sake of argument, it works the best) was real, and had adopted America as his new chosen people.

          This is a god not afraid of collateral damage. It would be in the best interest of the government to outlaw all of the petty things Yahweh is opposed to, and execute those who violate the law. If they didn’t, Yahweh would kill the perpetrators, AND whomever happened to be in the vicinity.

          In this case, the most sensible course of action is to adopt a state religion. Even if there were a more benevolent god, the government should still take him into consideration. Making a few small concessions for this gods desires, to gain his favor, would be a sound government position.

          That’s the point. Seperation of Church and State would require the government to ignore perfectly rational decisions IF a god existed and interacted with humanity. It’s such an absurd concept that it would be unimaginable. Instead, the government acts as though allowing gay marriage doesn’t cause hurricanes, and working on saturday doesn’t cause you to lose wars.

          I’m not talking about the tolerance here. I’m talking about how SoCaS forces the government to act as though there is no divine intervention to worry about. The tolerance is just one of many benefits of this (i.e. if Yahweh were around, there would be no religious tolerance, for self-preservation if nothing else). For all intents and purposes, the government is acting as though Atheism or Deism were true.

          I’m all for the tolerance and whatnot. I’m just saying that if certain religions were true, it would be impractical or immoral for the government to ignore the rammifications of that. As I said in my first post, a well-intentioned government should no more allow a person to send themselves to hell (if such a place existed) than it should allow a mentally-ill person to commit suicide. A government that does not make laws against suicide is implicitly saying that any religion, that believes suicide is punishable by infinite torture after death, is untrue.

          • In reply to #30 by Sines:

            “… just imagine that Yahweh (the Jewish version for sake of argument, it works the best) was real …”

            But why would one even suppose there were a god? You are proposing a counterfactual argument. You are troubling yourself, and apparently would have the government of the United States trouble itself, with fantasies.

  16. Christian man insists terminally-ill atheist ‘sinner’ will ‘go to pixieland and turn into a pink mushroom’ for assisted suicide

    Bullshit shouldn’t be a concern, just mock the fool for spouting silly things.

  17. Cairsley, I don’t understand why you’re having such trouble understanding Sines’ point. S/He’s not saying the US government should adopt a state religion or bow down to fantasies. The point is that by enforcing SoCaS the government is for all purposes accepting Atheism/Deism as true and implicitly condeming all other religous beliefs as false. Yet despite this Christians, Jews, etc. still believe their beliefs are true and that the government is also behind them. Cognitive Dissonance.

    The problem is there is no alternative. If the government were to explicitly declare all religious beliefs as false there would be an uproar of condemnation, declaring the government a facist Atheist regime, even the government themselves would not accept it. Yet nothing in the law would have effectively changed.

    Where this applies to this topic, is that according to the mans beliefs he is acting completely morally, in fact he is doing her a service, he’s trying to save her soul, but the state indorsed morallity, that being of atheist/deist beliefs, is clearly in contradition to this. And nobody seems to notice or care, they just let it slide and claim morality is subjective, despite it being obvious that one form is regarded as the overiding system of morality that takes precedent above all others.

  18. A very brave woman who had the courage to make the ultimate decision, as for the toe-rag who assumed he would be scaring her into doing what he wanted it is a reminder how twisted these people are who think that they can scare people with threats of things that do not exist.

  19. When I read Michael’s comment/reply, (#20) I initially agreed & wanted to clarify my statement about the “Shows the gulf of morality” to something like the understanding of morality, or the perception of morality. But then I did quick internet search about what the bible has to say about suicide. Guess what, There is nothing there.

    The bible makes a few general statements that killing anybody is wrong, and raises the idea that your body is not necessarily yours. Compare that with stealing, (a carrot for example). Eating or giving away your carrot is not considered stealing. If it was considered to be god’s carrot, you are still allowed to eat or give it away. Compare that with ‘thou shall not kill’, we should have the right to commit suicide if it is your body. If your body belongs to god, well god could not be bothered to look after it, & forfeited all rights when he gave us free will. Which leads me back to the christian idiot. Either does not know what the bible says about suicide, or he does not care enough to find out, both are immoral actions. Of course there may be other possibilities but I have yet to hear them.

    Just though of another argument, people commit suicide, because god’s handiwork is defective, which is an insult to any believer who thinks god cannot possibly make a mistake. Because If god can make mistakes, then the believer has wasted his/her life worshipping a flawed god. (… that sound a lot closer to the truth).

    • In reply to #38 by old-toy-boy:

      Either does not know what the bible says about suicide, or he does not care enough to find out, both are immoral actions.

      This is not true depending on definition and interpretation (as we know with the multitude of xtian faiths, there are an even larger multitude of “laws”). The old scripture that they cling to on the abortion issue that life is only for doG’s hands to give or take. If you consider suicide as taking a life, then suicide is a sin is doG’s eyes. There are however a few instances of suicide in the Bible…

      The thing about the Bad Book is that it can and is used to justify anything. I’m sure if you poked around hard enough in it and twisted it around you could find scripture promoting suicide.

      I just don’t find ignorance due to fear and indoctrination to be immoral, maybe stupid, but not immoral. The xtian was acting on what he was told and subsequently believed to be true which was the though that the lady was condemning herself to eternal damnation. imo the factual nature of his delusion does not speak to his personal morality, but to the morality of his branch of xtianity.

  20. Gotta take a similar position to Sines. It’s a great point that Penn Jillette makes; if someone truly believes that what you are doing will have dire consequences, it would be immoral for them to keep that to themselves. Whether the train heading towards you is real or not, if they believe there is a train coming, them not saying so would be immoral.

    We should be less offended by crackpot ideas and either shrug them off or speak out against their falsehoods, not speak out against the believer or their right to speak, but against the beliefs of the believer. Remember that the right to free speech cuts both ways, and if that right was tampered with it would more than likely be those groups that atheists and humanists support that would lose that right first.

    • I think that could be true. But there is something else to consider. Let’s back up and look at what people are being asked to do to avoid going to hell.

      I think it’s immoral to demand that people suffer from a terminal illness until they finally perish. Yet this is the requirement in this particular instance, according to this guy, to avoid going to hell.

      Does that have no impact on the claim that he is behaving morally given the information he believes he possesses? One way to see a possible impact is to consider that we would be claiming that he is acting morally by asking our government to put into law an immoral practice. Does he not understand the immorality of his or his God’s request? What else should we be required to do in order to avoid hell, and he be thought moral in requesting because of the awful terribleness that he believes would be our lives in hell? I’m sure some would say anything. If hell is as bad as he believes then he might reasonably request anything be done to avoid it. But I think that should be challenged.

      I gave an example of an acceptable response, given the same set of “facts”, speak out against your God. There is a precedent for that sort of thing.

      In reply to #39 by kathol:

      Gotta take a similar position to Sines. It’s a great point that Penn Jillette makes; if someone truly believes that what you are doing will have dire consequences, it would be immoral for them to keep that to themselves. Whether the train heading towards you is real or not, if they believe there is…

  21. The only way for a government to behave morally is on the basis of demonstrable fact and then only in a non partisan fashion. Government, anyway, is a fatuous concept if the precepts of fundamentalist religions were true. You would of course have only a church or mosque or temple.

    Fred Phelps is not moral despite his conviction. The human hurt he imagines does not demonstrably stack up against the enormous real hurt he causes. The kind intentions of the mad, misinformed or abused cannot be the final call on the morality of actions that flow from them. The little old ladies helping the unhappily loveless with a swirl of arsenic in the elderberry wine fall into this class.

    Freedom of speech demands that Phelps must be allowed to say whatever he will. Describing his actions as moral within his own terms, though, fails to deal with the problem of improving the balance of demonstrable harms. Disapproval, and only disapproval, is the only reasonable response.

    The little old ladies need to be actively stopped, however.

  22. That is nice, but for many people living with disabilities these laws give the go ahead to deny medical care because some able bodied persons thinks others lives are not worth living. This whole debate, especially in the US is hidden behind private healthcare dollar and not wanting to service people with long term disabling conditions or deal with quality of life. I have no moral problem, but this is not the way to frame the debate to protect the rights of people and families with disabilities to have a life. In a world where people, young people, are forced to live in institutions-prison like, all their lives, giving others the power of life or death is wrong. Assisted suicide seems so nice and clean as presented here without any disability policy background or context.

    • In reply to #46 by Vicar of Art on Earth:

      giving others the power of life or death is wrong.

      You have not delivered a complete argument. This comment needs some evidence and further explanation. Suicide is suicide assisted or not.

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