Issue 82 / July - August 2011
A documentary released in June depicted an assisted suicide. The man on the show was a millionaire, and sitting next to him was his wife as he drank the poison given to him by a doctor. Although the man signed a document beforehand proving his agreement with the suicide, the doctor asked him one more time whether he was sure of his decision. “Yes, I am sure,” the man replied, with a blank expression on his face, similar to that of his wife, who appeared cool, with her legs crossed and a smile on her face that looked rather forcedâ€”giving her support to the fatal decision of her dear husband, fulfilling her last duty. After drinking the poison, the doctor gave him some chocolate. His head fell on his shoulder after a while, sleeping, and a short time later, his heart stopped.
A man is willing to die (why?), his family seems to have no objections (how come?), there is an institution assisting this family (how come?), it is being recorded and broadcast (what?!).
The controversial documentary stirred up a reaction in some religious circles and pro-life charities, as viewers discussed the ethics of broadcasting euthanasia in the days following this program. But what is so chilly about this video is not whether a network should broadcast it, but a man’s willingness to end his own life. If life had any meaning for this person, he would not be willing to cause his own death. If he meant anything to his family, they would never allow him to do it. This story is so desperate, so heartbreaking, that it leaves us without words.
Mary Lahaj of Boston shares with us a story in this issue that would counterbalance the hopelessness and dispel the dark clouds the above-mentioned documentary caused. “At God’s Door” is the story of a woman who was able to stand up on her own feet after a traumatic youth. Hers is a source of inspiration for many of us who have failed, or feel on the edge of a cliff at times, to rise up in belief for a new life.
Professor Anwar Alam from India reviews a book on a global movement of education and dialogue: The Gulen Movement, Civic Service Without Borders is one of a handful of must-read books that authoritatively deals with this social phenomenonâ€”called the Hizmet movementâ€”affiliated with successful schools, dialogue activities, and relief organizations around the world.
An interview with Paul Davies lays down some of the “Great Questions of Existence” and shares with us how science can contribute to our making sense of them.
The Lead Article expounds on the rights of God and human rights, and how they are related. “Life” is one such right, and the Giver of Life certainly has something to say about this.