On Sin

The whole conception of Sin is one which I find very puzzling, doubtless owing to my sinful nature. If Sin consisted in causing needless suffering, I could understand; but on the contrary, sin often consists in avoiding needless suffering. Some years ago, in the English House of Lords, a bill was introduced to legalize euthanasia in cases of painful and incurable disease. The patient’s consent was to be necessary, as well as several medical certificates. To me, in my simplicity, it would seem natural to require the patient’s consent, but the late Archbishop of Canterbury, the English official expert on Sin, explained the erroneousness of such a view. The patient’s consent turns euthanasia into suicide and suicide is sin. Their Lordships listened to the voice of authority and rejected the bill. Consequently, to please the Archbishop — and his God, if reports truly — victims of cancer still have to endure months of wholly useless agony, unless their doctors or nurses are sufficiently humane to risk a charge of murder. I find difficulty in the conception of a God who gets pleasure from contemplating such tortures; and if there were a God capable of such wanton cruelty, I should certainly not think Him worthy of worship. But that only proves how sunk I am in moral depravity.

~ Bertrand Russell (born:1872-05-18 died:1970-02-02 at age:97) An Outline Of Intellectual Rubbish