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Suicide -- A Christian Response: Considerations for Choosing Life
edited by Timothy J Demy, Th.D. and Gary P. Stewart, D.Min.
© 1998
(Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, MI) [490 pages]

[Answer 25 of 35 questions correctly to receive
27 hours of Continuing Education credit]

PART 1: LEGAL AND MEDICAL REFLECTIONS
Chapter 1: Shaping Euthanasia Rights (p. 25-38)
1. The New York State Force on Life and the Law in 1995 found a high correlation between requests for suicide assistance by terminally ill patients and ________.
a. unmanageable pain
b. incompetent medical care
c. clinical depression
d. poverty

Chapter 2: Roe v.Wade and the Euthanasia Debate (p 41-50)
2. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that suicide had been widely decriminalized because
a. of the sharply rising costs of pain medications, making them less accessible.
b. most suicides were due to competence-impairing ailments such as depression.
c. of the vast number of requests for suicide assistance.
d. of a softening in the medical profession toward euthanasia.

Chapter 3: Brick Walls on the Slippery Slope (p 53-59)
3. _____ fear that by legalizing assisted suicide for the seriously ill, society will stigmatize an entire class of persons as having lives unworthy of living.
a. Persons with disabilities
b. Alcoholics and drug addicts
c. Parents of Down Syndrome children
d. The unemployed

Chapter 4: The Physician-Assisted Suicide (p 61-72)
4. Christian tradition has taught that suicide is
a. merciful, when a person’s suffering reaches high levels.
b. altruistic, when a person realizes they have become a terrible burden to others.
c. rational, when a terminally ill person can no longer recognize their usefulness to others.
d. wrong, where human will should never violate the intention of a sovereign God.

5. Which is TRUE about pain and suffering?
a. God always has a purpose for our suffering even though that purpose is not always evident.
b. Christians have a great moral responsibility to ease the pain and suffering of others.
c. More than 95% of cancer patients can be kept virtually pain free if they are given adequate doses of pain medication at appropriate levels.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 5: The Management of Cancer Pain (p 75-100)
6. Which of the following strategies is considered effective pain management? (p 76-78)
a. When switching from an injected drug to an oral dose of that same drug, a much higher dose is required since opiates are poorly absorbed by the stomach.
b. Opiates should be given at fixed and predetermined intervals, with additional doses allowed for any breakthrough pain.
c. It is safe to give opiates in increasing doses, so long as the dose is increased only to the point at which the pain is obliterated.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 6: Suicide and The Right to Die (p 101-108)
7. Apparently, Sigmund Freud died from the long-term effects of head and neck carcinoma (cancer). If he had died as a result of the morphine that Dr. Schur had given him, and the doctor had only intended to control Freud’s pain, this would have been an example of
a. physician-assisted suicide.
b. medical malpractice.
c. double effect.
d. active euthanasia.

Chapter 7: A Nurse’s Perspective on Euthanasia (p 111-125)
8. The author is in favor of which of the following? (see Endnote #21)
a. a living will
b. an advance directive
c. a Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD)
d. withdrawing a feeding tube

PART 2: PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS
Chapter 8: Physician-Assisted Suicide (p 129-139)
9. The author argues for
a. choosing death when suffering becomes too great.
b. never forsaking life, no matter how great the suffering.
c. maximizing one’s happiness and personal fulfillment.
d. avoiding suffering at all costs.

Chapter 9: The Price of Life (p 141-144)
10. Western society has been perplexed by its inability to
a. eliminate poverty.
b. control suffering.
c. reduce racism.
d. increase kindness and civility.

Chapter 10: Euthanasia (p 147-180)

11. When a person is suffering terribly with a terminal illness, the author recommends
a. using painkillers only with the intent of relieving pain, even if they hasten death.
b. using painkillers for the purpose of hastening death.
c. doing nothing -- letting nature take its course.
d. allowing the person to live in a vegetative state indefinitely.

Chapter 11: The Morality of Suicide (p 183-197)

12. Which of the following is an act of suicide?
a. A truck driver drives off a bridge in order to avoid hitting children playing in the road.
b. A terminally ill patient requests that she not be resuscitated again if another heart failure occurs.
c. A sick but non-terminal person dies as a result of refusing to eat or take medication.
d. A soldier captured in war takes a capsule to hide secrets from the enemy, which, if found out, would lead to the death of many others.

13. Stanley Hauerwas believes that a person who commits suicide
a. is hurting the community by failing to live well in the face of pain, boredom, and suffering.
b. may do so when trying to avoid catastrophic financial losses.
c. is simply being a self-determining, autonomous decision-maker.
d. is justified when the person no longer is making a contribution to society.

Chapter 12: Suicide and the Problem of Evil (p 199-207)
14. The Bible teaches that
a. human beings are basically good and do not deserve to suffer.
b. fate, not God, causes suffering.
c. there is no purpose in tragic events.
d. we live in a fallen world where no one is exempt from suffering, yet God is sovereign and benevolent.

Chapter 13: Christians and a Culture of Death (p 209-220)
15. The author is
a. an optimist.
b. a pessimist.
c. a perfectionist.
d. a moral realist.

Chapter 14: Absolute Autonomy and Physician-Assisted Suicide
(p 223-233)
16. The author disagrees with absolute autonomy because
a. it is counterintuitive to assert that absolute autonomy is more important than an individual’s obligations to family, friends, and the community.
b. the Supreme Court (in Planned Parenthood v. Casey) violated its own neutral position regarding ultimate philosophical questions about personhood when it affirmed absolute autonomy, even though the Court itself claimed that such beliefs could not be “formed under compulsion by the State”.
c. the supporters of suicide may not be ending the suffering of others if there is indeed an afterlife which includes a place of eternal torment.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 15: Homicidal Medicine (p 235-253)
17. When supporters of assisted suicide and euthanasia believe that their destruction of others is simply what they would want for themselves if they became severely disabled, they are mistakenly applying the principle of
a. reciprocity.
b. contrafactum interruption.
c. double vandalism.
d. egalitarianism.

PART 3: THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS
Chapter 16: A Theology of Death (p 257-267)

18. In the Bible, when the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and
to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), he was expressing
a. a death wish.
b. a longing to see his Lord.
c. approval for suicide under certain conditions (i.e. persecutions).
d. despair.

Chapter 17: The Masada Suicides (p 269-283)
19. At Masada, 960 men, women, and children chose to end their lives rather than be captured and enslaved by the Romans. Concerning Masada as a broken icon, the Israeli sociologist Nachman Ben-Yehuda concluded that Masada and its “collective suicide”
a. was justified because of the rules of war.
b. should serve as an example of non-surrender for new military recruits.
c. is a dangerous model for Israel society.
d. did not really happen.

Chapter 18: Did Early Christians “Lust after Death”? (p 285-295)

20. The author discovered from his research
a. not one example of a Christian during the first five centuries of Christianity who took his own life to escape from the suffering of terminal illness.
b. other church fathers before Augustine had already condemned suicide, including Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Lactantius, Ambrose, Jerome and John Chrysostom (see footnote #45).
c. martyrdom is the ultimate act of sacrifice whereas suicide is the ultimate act of escape from suffering.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 19: Some Reservations about Suicide (p 297-310)
21. Alasdair MacIntyre asserts that neutral rights
a. cannot be found in any moral philosophy or theology written in any language, including classical or medieval Latin or Greek until circa A.D.1400.
b. are clearly taught within the primary texts of Judaism and Christianity.
c. are a major subject of Aristotle’s ethical views and Plato’s dialogues.
d. include the right to terminate one’s life under certain conditions.

PART 4: BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS
Chapter 20: Suicide and the Concept of Death in the Old Testament
(p 315-326)

22. Which is TRUE concerning the four suicides in the Old Testament (Abimelech, Saul, Ahithophel, and Zimri)?
a. None are viewed in a favorable light.
b. All were done impulsively without planning.
c. All were done in private.
d. All were done by the same means.

Chapter 21: Death, an Impetus for Life (p 329-347)
23. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon discovered that the meaning of life can be found
a. through the reduction or elimination of suffering.
b. in having a long life with many descendants.
c. in turning to God and facing the inevitable reality of death.
d. by being generous with one’s wealth.

Chapter 22: But the Bible Doesn’t Say They Were Wrong to Commit Suicide, Does It? (p. 349-366)

24. We know that the biblical story of Saul and David in First and Second Samuel does condemn suicide because
a. the storyteller makes a direct comment against Saul’s behavior of taking his own life.
b. the biblical account makes it clear that Saul could have recovered from the wound he received on the battlefield but he chose not to.
c. it parallels other classic Greek and Roman stories which frown upon suicide.
d. the story uses a narrative literary method of comparing the character qualities of David, a godly king. with Saul, a disobedient king.

Chapter 23: A “Wisdom” Perspective on Advocacy for the Suicidal (p 369-384)
25. How should health caregivers respond to those who are suffering greatly?
a. Pursue the sole purpose of relieving suffering at all costs.
b. Give reassurance by promoting rational explanations for suffering.
c. Help defeat the sufferer’s overwhelming sense of victimization.
d. Validate the sufferer’s self-determined disposition & autonomy.

Chapter 24: Did Paul Condone Suicide? (p 387-397)
26. When Paul said “I desire to depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23), the word
depart means
a. a wrongful desire (epithymia) in 36 of its 38 occurrences in the New Testament.
b. a praiseworthy desire (epipotheo).
c. a lust after death.
d. a better choice.

Chapter 25: The Good Samaritan and the Euthanasia Debate (p 399-420)
27. During the horrors of Nazi Germany, the most ringing Catholic protest against euthanasia was the famous sermon of Clemens Count von Galen, then Bishop of Munster, given on August 3, 1941. In it, Bishop Galen declared a formal protest against the deportation of
a. elderly citizens.
b. patients from a nearby institution.
c. unwed mothers.
d. persons with mixed ancestry.

PART 5: PASTORAL AND PERSONAL REFLECTIONS
Chapter 26: Suicide’s Companion (p 425-435)

28. What effect did Mark’s suicide have on his family? (see Rachel’s letter)
a. Mark’s son had to give his oldest sister away on her wedding day.
b. Marks’ youngest daughter graduated Magnum Cum Laude from college with a double-major but without her father’s attendance.
c. Mark’s son gave up his job as a basketball coach.
d. Mark’s wife called him “the love of my life as well as the greatest disappointment in my life”.
e. All of the above.

Chapter 27: Pastoral Reflections on Adolescent Suicide (p 437-440)
29. ___ percent of Americans report that they have thought about taking their own life at least once.
a. 20
b. 40
c. 60
d. 80

Chapter 29: Pastoral Reflections on the Suicide of a Family Member (p 451-455)
30. When a person’s family member commits suicide, their most immediate need is
a. someone to be with them.
b. someone to remind them of God’s sovereignty.
c. someone with the right words at the right time.
d. someone who won’t let them blame themselves.

31. When the author counsels a suicidal person, he initially focuses on
a. the consequences that suicide will have in the lives of others.
b. identifying the mental and emotional pain that is prompting suicidal thinking.
c. encouraging the person to express anger at the source of their suffering in order to strengthen their determination to live.
d. normalizing their suffering in order to reduce a sense of isolation.

Chapter 30: Bringing the Grace of God to Victims of Suicide (p 457-464)
32. When a victim of suicide expresses anger toward God, the author
a. carefully discourages such expression with a reminder of God’s goodness.
b. lets it run its course without immediate argument.
c. gently encourages private prayer for confession of anger toward God.
d. skillfully directs the person to read the Book of Job.

Chapter 31: Pastoral Reflections on Suicide Intervention (p 467-471)
33. After a lifetime of horrible abuse, rejection, and loss, Helga
concluded that
a. people would certainly understand her hopelessness.
b. life was terribly unfair and tragic.
c. God had never deserted her nor forgotten her.
d. God should have let her die.

Chapter 32: Decision Making and Dad (p 473-477)
34. The author would agree with which motive for disconnecting a feeding tube?
a. To not prolong the act of dying.
b. To relieve the suffering of the rest of the family.
c. To preserve the family finances.
d. To spare any family members from further caregiving.

Chapter 34: Confidence Betrayed (p 483-486)
35. The author’s friend and mentor, who took his own life, had inspired him to be
a. a devout Christian.
b. a loving husband and father.
c. courageous in the midst of illness.
d. a caring teacher.