Death, suffering and Terri Schiavo

Today, millions of Americans (and others overseas), regardless of their opinion on the “right-to-life, right-to-die” controversy, are grieving over the loss of Terri Schiavo, age 41, at a Florida USA hospice.

Her death has occurred about two weeks after a court had ordered the removal of a feeding tube from Schiavo (who suffered severe brain damage in 1990 after her heart stopped). Some doctors appointed by the courts had determined that she had been in a persistent “vegetative” state with no chance of recovery, an opinion which judges accepted. Meanwhile, a guardianship battle was occurring between Schiavo’s husband (who had been arguing that his wife would not have wanted to be kept alive in her condition) and her parents. The family squabble and the decisions of judges held America spellbound for weeks as this tragedy became a national, highly emotional controversy.

President George W. Bush declared earlier today: “The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak.” He added: “In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life.”1

At times such as these, many people may be pondering the question of why there is terrible suffering (like Terri Schiavo’s) in our world, and if there is a God, why does He allow tragedies like this? As we frequently proclaim on this website, the Bible gives us the only infallible guidelines for making difficult choices, including about pain and suffering. For example, from the Bible’s very beginning, we see that humans were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and that God strongly opposes the wanton taking of life.

We predict that because of Terri Schiavo’s death, the topic of euthanasia will become an even hotter one in America. Therefore, it is important for believers to be equipped with answers from the Bible on the relevant social issues of the day.

We strongly encourage you to read our booklet on this timely topic of suffering and death (and forward it to others, including your pastor, and also to non-Christians—this booklet is an excellent evangelistic tool).

Read frequently asked questions on death and suffering.

Published: 7 February 2006


  1. As quoted by MSNBC at www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7293186. Return to text.