The kidneys play a significant role in keeping our body system toxin free. Sometimes, however, kidney failure may occur. Whenever this happens, a patient can either be on dialysis or undergo a kidney transplant. Dialysis is an expensive and time-consuming procedure. However, patients on dialysis have a chance to live longer, productive lives. But what if the challenges of putting a patient on dialysis outweigh the benefits? Is stopping dialysis a sin?
There is no specific answer to this question. The Bible does encourage Christians to seek medical intervention when sick. In Matthew 9:12, Jesus says that those who are sick require a physician. However, the issue of dialysis poses a dilemma. According to the Catholic Church, a patient may undergo dialysis if it will help improve their quality of life and make them more productive. There are cases, however, where patients are experiencing multiple organ failure, and dialysis is unlikely to bring any significant improvement in their lives. In such cases, stopping dialysis would not be considered a sin. However, they should be given proper palliative care.
So what does the Bible say about refusing medical treatment? What did Jesus say about medical treatment? What does the Catholic Church say about dialysis? Is stopping dialysis considered suicide? Will God forgive you if you stop dialysis? Can you go to heaven if you stopped dialysis? How can Christians decide when to stop dialysis? Is refusing dialysis a mortal sin in the Catholic Church? Read on to learn the answers to these and more.
What Does The Bible Say About Refusing Medical Treatment?
While there are no scriptures on refusing medical treatment, the Bible encourages seeking medical intervention when sick. Revelations 22:2 describes the tree of life as one that yielded fruit and whose leaves were to be used for healing. There are several incidences in the Bible where medicine was used to heal the ailing.
According to Luke 10:34, the Good Samaritan poured oil and wine on the stranger’s wounds before taking him to the inn. The oil and wine, in this case, are medicine.
The scripture also explains that God is the ultimate healer. Psalms 103:3 says, ‘Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.‘ However, some Christians misinterpret this scripture. They expect miraculous healing from their ailments.
Although God does work miracles, including the healing of diseases, He has also given us the wisdom to discover the treatment for various illnesses. Seeking the doctor’s intervention when sick does not weaken your faith in God.
What Did Jesus Say About Medical Treatment?
According to Matthew 9:12, Jesus clearly stated that it is not healthy who needed to see a doctor, but the sick. This scripture shows that Jesus was aware of the presence of doctors in Jewish society.
Throughout the scriptures, Jesus never preached against seeking medical intervention. He understood that the sick needed to see the doctors. However, He performed many miracles to heal the sick. The scriptures imply that He performed these miracles to prove to the nations that He, indeed, was the son of God.
What Does the Catholic Church Say About Dialysis?
The Catholic Church supports medical intervention for ailing individuals, including dialysis. The ‘Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services’ compiled by Catholic Bishops of the U.S Conference gives further directives. It states that a patient can forego any extraordinary or disproportionate means of life preservation. Sometimes, dialysis may be categorized under extraordinary treatment.
According to the Catholic Church, it is acceptable to withdraw extraordinary medical interventions where the only benefit is a prolonged life with an extremely low quality of life. However, requesting a family to let their patient die is morally unacceptable. The family should make the decision. The doctors can only provide them with necessary information on consequences and alternatives.
When the cost of dialysis and the complications outweigh the life-prolonging benefits to a patient, the Catholic Church favors its withdrawal.
Is Stopping Dialysis Considered Suicide?
Throughout history, people have considered stopping dialysis as a form of suicide. However, the issue can be discussed under two scenarios. Human dignity and life must be preserved in whatever state or stage. When one stops dialysis with the sole intention of ending a life, it is considered suicide. For instance, stopping dialysis on a young patient whose productivity is improving would be considered suicide.
However, if treatment by dialysis is foreseen to be futile and overweighing to an individual, stopping dialysis would not be considered suicide. The patient may be put under palliative care, with close monitoring to ensure maximum comfort.
Will God Forgive You If You Stop Dialysis?
According to 1 John 1:9, God will forgive all our sins if we confess. But we need to ask ourselves whether stopping dialysis is a sin. There is a lot of debate surrounding this issue. Some Christians believe it is a sin to stop dialysis, while others believe it may be a sin, depending on the circumstances.
Regardless of the difference in belief, the Bible portrays God as all-forgiving. Christians believe that God will forgive them of all sins.
Can You Go To Heaven If You Stopped Dialysis?
If an individual dies as a result of stopping dialysis on a faith basis, they may go to heaven. However, they will miss a chance to live with their families and impact the church and community.
Therefore, individuals should undergo medical interventions where the benefits involve prolonging their lives while enhancing their productivity.
How Can Christians Decide When to Stop Dialysis?
Making decisions on issues surrounding the loss or maintenance of life is challenging. During such discussions, Christians should be informed by religious values and set guidelines. When continuing dialysis has been judged futile based on clinical assessments, Christians can decide to stop it.
Human life is sacred. Decisions surrounding life must be made with dignity, care, and compassion. If a decision to stop dialysis is made, the patient must continue to receive all necessary alternative care.
Is Refusing Dialysis a Mortal Sin in the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church does not provide any directives on refusing dialysis. However, if the patient’s refusal is informed by the sole purpose of ending a life, it may be considered a mortal sin. Dialysis is a painful procedure that often leaves the patient tired. It also takes a lot of time, and it is costly. Patients who go through the procedure for a long time may become frustrated and refuse to continue with the treatment.
The Catholic Church encourages conversations between the patient, family, and caregivers in such situations. The purpose of the discussion is to determine the patient’s reason for refusing dialysis. The Catholic Church encourages therapy and increased support for patients whose lives have significantly improved.
However, if the patient is extremely sick, and dialysis only worsens the situation, the Catholic Church would rule in favor of the patient. The Catholic Catechism states that discontinuing dangerous treatment, a burden, or extraordinary is acceptable.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.