WHAT IS THE POSITION OF DIFFERENT RELIGIONS TOWARDS DONATION?
All major religions support organ, eye and tissue donation and consider donation the greatest gift one can give. Transplantation is consistent with the life-preserving traditions of these faiths.
According to the director of the Religion and Society Department of the Eastern Orthodox Church for North and South America, who is also a doctor of theology, “the Eastern Orthodox Church does not oppose the idea of donation and considers it completely pleasing to God, as long as it aims to save of human life, treatment or medical assistance.
Catholic Church views donation as a supreme act of charity and compassion. Transplants are not only morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican, but also desirable as a godly activity. According to Father Leroy Wichkowski, director of medical affairs at the Archbishop of Chicago, “Donation is a good thing, albeit from the tragedy of the loss of a loved one and brings comfort to loved ones through the opportunity to help others.” Pope John Paul II says, “The Church must educate society about the need for donation, which is a call to the charity and brotherly love of every Christian in accordance with ethical and moral principles.”
Islam as a religion believes in the principle of saving human life. In a series of religious research articles on “Islam on donation and transplantation” in 1999, Islamic author and researcher of the Islamic religion Sachedina wrote: “The majority of Islamic authors and scholars belonging to a wide range of Islamic religious schools give priority to the principle of salvation of human life and healing and allow donation as an action directed precisely in this noble direction”. The published Islamic Fatwas (Decisions No. 99 and No. 5-E) define donation as a deed pleasing to God and affirm principles similar to the Harvard criteria for brain death and organ donation.
Buddhism praises the humane act of donation as an expression of compassion, which is a particularly revered quality in Buddhism. His Eminence Masao, of a Buddhist temple in Chicago, said: “We especially honor people who donate a part of their body to help develop medicine and help others, and it is especially important to inform loved ones about the desire to donate after death.“.
Hindu mythology describes how a part of the body of the deceased can help heal the living and points out that this is a noble decision that every believer must make for himself, according to his own conscience and nobility.
The Jewish religion, with all its 4 directions (orthodox, conservative, reformist and reconstructionist), also supports and encourages donation. In 1991, the Rabbinical Council declared that donation was not only permissible but also imperative for every believer.
Seventh-day Adventists (known in Bulgaria as Sabbath-keepers) also support donation. Many hospital transplant centers in the United States were built by the Adventist Church. For example, one of Loma Linda’s world-renowned pediatric heart transplant hospitals in California, USA, was built by the Adventist Hospital Chain.
The Protestant community , the Baptists also support donation as a deeply humane act but believe that each individual must make this decision for himself. As early as 1988, the Baptist Convention, which is the most influential Protestant community in the United States, encouraged physicians to inform relatives of potential donors about the possibility of transplantation.