Denial of the Soul: Spiritual and Medical Perspectives on Euthanasia and Mortality

M. Scott Peck, Author Harmony $23 (242p) ISBN 978-0-517-70865-1
Defending traditional medical ethics in the face of what he sees as our contemporary morality of expediency, Peck (The Road Less Traveled and Beyond) forcefully argues against, with very few exceptions, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide on demand. Using his studies in medicine, psychiatry and theology to support his case, Peck sees euthanasia as a failure to fulfill our nature as human beings, which includes the experiences of suffering and loss. He perceives modern society as simplistically scoffing at notions of the sacred-in effect, denying the soul. Defining most disease as a sort of ""biopsychospiritual"" disorder, Peck analyzes the complexity of the situation confronting terminally ill patients, their families and their physicians. He criticizes medical professionals who fail to use every anti-pain medication available to relieve the suffering of patients, and he sees hospices as an underutilized, soul-satisfying alternative to the sterile and often lonely deaths too often experienced in our technological culture. Redemptive suffering offers deeper meaning, he believes, than do suicide and euthanasia. In this important book, in which he reveals much of his own psyche and experience, Peck camps firmly on biblical ground, enjoining us to keep sight of the sacred character of life. Readers may stand elsewhere, but few will deny the passion and conviction of his argument. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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