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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Palatka51, Feb 2, 2009.
Is an Alzheimer's patient human?
What kind of question is this???
Is a cancer patient human? What about an amputee? How about a child born premature? Are any of these human?
Is the patient in later stages of Alzheimer's human?
A fair question to ask in light of those that take the right to life ideology to task for standing for human life that can not speak for themselves.
In the stages of Alzheimer's one goes from forgetting simple things like misplacing common things and forgetting names to forgetting close relatives and associates to familiar places and surroundings. At the last they are totally dependent upon their care takers for getting clothed, bathing and feedings. Brain activity is so diminished that they even forget to swallow or how to chew. Death, in most cases, comes from chocking or pneumonia as food in the lung causes infections.
Through the course of progression, the Alzheimer's patient will even experience changes in personalities. The passive patient may become violent and vice versa. The patient seems to be leaving any resemblance to humanity to that of an empty shell.
Now I ask again is this human life?
Do you think the advanced stages of this disease has caused the Human's spirit to leave reducing the body to than of an animal? Is that the question? How would you determine at what point the person ceased to be human and is entirely animal?
Is this human life is a very different question from is this human. It seems to me there is no quality of life in the very late stages of Alzheimer's Disease.
Is a baby human? The elderly too often revert back to that stage--so does that make them any less human?
It was suggested (by a respected personal acquaintance) that when a patient is in this stage, he believed that God has already taken the soul. If that is the case, would it then be prudent to put that "thing"*** down?
***Now I use that term not because I think that it isn't human, I personally feel that regardless of quality of life (as is posted by Crabby) an illness regardless of how severe does not determine what is or isn't human. Neither does the lack of brain activity.
I always vote for life. I know there are quality of life issues but I don't buy into it. For instance Marriage is for better or worse. Often at the time of marriage people don't thing it'll be worse but when it does is their a sequiter to quit the marriage? I don't think so. What is life but to attack the challenges that come our way in a pleasing manner for God?
I agree on your quality of life statement. I was not using that as a reason to "put them down." Since we cannot communicate with the late stage Alzheimers patient we really do not know what they are or are not aware of or what their feel, if anything, about themself.
I have never heard the idea that God takes a person's soul before they physically die. That seems a slippery slope to me. What about the person in a coma? What about the mentally ill person who seems completely out of touch with reality. This could be a long list if we thought about it for a bit of time.
We do know that Alzheimers can be delayed if we exercise our brain. The brain is like any other muscle, if we do not use it then it becomes flabby.
I have also heard this from someone I respected very much. This was a gentlemen in a church I attended that was a deacon and had been instrumental in planting several churches in his lifetime (he was about 78 at the time). This was a man of God and was very sound on his doctrine. Then, one day, he was discussing his mother and what she went through with Alzheimers. He said that he believed that at some point God took her soul out of her body. He also believed that a demonic spirit then inhabited her body. According to him, his mother was a completely different person. She did not know anybody and would curse at people and act completely belligerent. Obviously this was totally out of character for his mother.
Anyway, his statements (about the soul and demonic possession) really shocked me. Glad this thread has been started, I'm interested to hear what everyone has to say.
I would say that is dangerous theology.
Look what it could lead to if you could convince someone that the soul was gone.. Euthanasia would get a foothold.
It is the same on the opposite end of the lifespan... those convinced that the newly conceived human doesn't have a soul, so then they can justify abortion.
The only proper biblical perspective that values human life above animal life is to acknowledge life begins at conception and ends at death. And where there is life, there is a soul.
Just the thought of an Alzheimer's patient not being human is sickening to me. No human has more value than another, whether one is healthy or one is sick. Whatever God does with the soul is up to Him and not something we should question. Only God can give life and only God can take it away.
This is the only proper stance that we can take. Thank you Tim.
I agree as well. I was very shocked when this well respected man gave his beliefs on this topic.
Maybe by convincing himself of this, he was able to handle how this disease had taken effect on his mother. I am sure it was hard on him and it sounds like the more he loved her the greater the toll on him.
People respond under pressure in different ways. Even more surprising is how they mentally compromise themselves to overcome the mental abuse the stress is causing
your friend has no idea what he is talking about
As my father lay dying of complications to Alzheimer's, his eyes cleared and he recognized us....so, no, a person is not dead before he dies.
The change in the woman's personality is quite common...this can be traced to the degeneration of specific parts of the brain. As plaques form, and brain tissue necroses, there is a consequent behavioral change. Very simply, this is physiology affecting the personality, reasoning skills, etc....if your friend understood this, he might have more peace about it. It is a very difficult process, really hard on the family, and it sounds like he is trying to sort out in his mind.
I can imagine the heartache and sorrow the old gentleman carried while daily caring for his partner.
I've entertained similar thoughts when caring for critically ill patients; for months they display no sign of awareness, their bodies slowly decay despite all our efforts.
Do you think God doesn't see that? Does He not care?
I certainly seems that way at the time.
God has apponted the time for us to die, whether it be quick and sudden or long and drawn out.
Those that suffer though the agony of living through the slow death of a beloved must rest on that fact and take comfort in the God who knows, cares and loves.
Although it's a terrible burden to carry, we can't speed things along.
‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’
1 Samuel 24:10 NRSV
Now that is a great response. Saul was in essence rejected by God and God's Spirit was removed from him. Even Saul's actions might have been symptoms of Alzheimer's. Fits of anger and soothing of spirit by song. He was killed in battle before the illness could take him. Yes, speculative I know but David did the honorable thing by not slaying him even though he had opportunity.
I most certainly think they are human.
I like Ronald Reagan's response to having Alzheimer's: He said the best part of having Alzheimer's is you get to meet new people everyday.
Its just a shame that he had to be one of those that was stricken by that disease.