The donation of an organ is literally a visceral act, and it is therefore not surprising that it inspires a visceral reaction. It challenges our very sense of self, of the meaning we assign to our bodies, the meaning of life and the meaning of death. That meaning often has its roots in the religious traditions in which we have been raised. Religion is not merely a set of rituals, beliefs or moral practices. Religion is woven into and influences our culture, especially concerning life or death.
Personally, this is very important to me. I’m a baptized member of the Mennonite church, my education is largely theological, and for years I worked for my church in both Canada and Japan. My cross-cultural experience in Japan also developed in me a great interest in how religion and culture interact and how different cultures view and respond to the common human condition, such as illness, death and the possibility of organ donation. Here are a couple of videos to get you started on the subject.
The following video comes from India and provides perspectives from the following: Hinduism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, and Sikhism. A quotation: “We have two kidneys, one for ourselves and one to donate,” Dr. Yejasussin Ashrafi (Islam).
This video about religion and organ donation comes from the IDecide Project, geared toward youth in Hawaii:
As the second video recommends, if you have questions about how organ donation fits in with your beliefs, speak to someone you know who can offer some guidance on the subject. Very few religious groups ban organ donation. Indeed, for most groups organ donation is seen as an example of the calling to do good to others.
“So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all….” Galatians 6:10, New Revised Standard Version, The Bible