Does My Religion Conflict with Donation?

           The “U.S. Government Information on Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation” website has a resourceful link regarding religious views on donation. Many religions don’t seem to conflict with the concept of donation upon death. For example, according to the website, Catholicism believes “Organ, eye, and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 86)” (“Religious Views on Donation” 1). Islam, according to the website, believes “The Fourth Conference of the Islamic Fiqh Council determined that transplantation offers “clear positive results” if practiced “ achieve the aims of sharee'ah which tries to achieve all that is good and in the best interests of individuals and societies and promotes cooperation, compassion and selflessness.” Provided that “shar'i guidelines and controls that protect human dignity” are met, “It is permissible to transplant an organ from a dead person to a living person whose life or basic essential functions depend on that organ, subject to the condition that permission be given by the deceased before his death, or by his heirs after his death….” Regarding living donation, it is permissible to transplant organs such as a kidney and or a lung “in order to keep the beneficiary alive or to keep some essential or basic function of his body working.” (Resolutions of Islamic Fiqh Council of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Fourth Conference, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 18-23 Safar 1408 AH/6-11 February 1988 CE)” (“Religious View on Donation” 1). So, Islam doesn’t prohibit donation upon dying, my initial belief was misguided. Judaism believes “In principal Judaism sanctions and encourages organ, eye, and tissue donation in order to save lives. Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff wrote that saving a life through organ donation supersedes the rules concerning treatment of a dead body. Transplantation does not desecrate a body or show lack of respect for the dead, and any delay in burial to facilitate organ donation is respectful of the decedent. Organ donation saves lives and honors the deceased. The Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards has stated that organ donations after death represent not only an act of kindness, but are also a “commanded obligation” which saves human lives. (On Educating Conservative Jews Regarding Organ Donations, May 1996)” (“Religious Views on Donation” 1). According to a BBC article on organ donations and religion, “No religious law prohibits Hindus from donating their organs and tissues. Life after death is a strong belief of Hindus and is an ongoing process of rebirth. This could be seen as reflecting positively on the concept of organ donation and transplantation. A minority argument, though, says that if someone donates an organ as intrinsic to the body as a heart, the principle of karma means the recipient will have to return the favour in the donor's next life - which means the donor will have to have a next life. Hindus hope to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth, so this would be a disadvantage. However, most Hindus would view this argument as selfish” (“Hinduism and Organ Donation” 1). Here, the top four most practiced religions in the world (not including Secular/Agnostic/Atheist) seemingly agree that donating an organ after death to help save lives is not only acceptable, but honorable (Juan 1). Among these religions, these two websites cover beliefs of Mormons, Presbyterians, United Methodists, and many more. So ask yourself, was it your religion that had you doubt the righteousness of donating? Maybe you choose not to associate with a religion, or maybe your faith is not your driving cause, then continue on and ask yourself, “What morals might be behind donating?”

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