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People look for God but they cannot comprehend the infinite. Nevertheless, some people presume to speak for God or even to give commands and condemnations in God's name. Many times what is spoken in the guise of a message about God's love is actually a symptom of the hatred felt by the speaker.

The limit cases are always instructive. Some people regard both the protection of any viable fertilized ovum and support for the death penalty as sacrosanct. Albert Schweitzer was correct to observe that we should have reverence for all life. Even the potential for life is precious. But, in the limit cases, can we consistently believe and act to actualize all potentials for life? Must every fertile woman govern her life so as to maximize the actualization of the potential lives represented by her viable ova? Must every fertile male preserve and donate sperm to contribute as needed to fertilizing those ova? I doubt that very many people would accept that extreme case.

On the other extreme of life, should the state have the right to terminate any life that it decides should end? Or, are there no circumstances when it is ethical to end a life?

A non-extremist position toward abortion, execution, and euthanasia says, again, that all life is precious, but that humans need to make decisions to shape their imperfect lives. When the environment does not permit everyone to procreate without limit, then something must be done to limit fecundity. What is the range of limits and what values may humans attach to those limits? If abstinence is the ideal (which may not be a universal judgment), when individuals fail to abstain is it better to provide contraceptive strategies or to bring a baby into life with statistically very low prospects personally and the additionally the sure promise of contributing to over-population and all its consequences for the welfare of all life?

Some people will make the decision to practice infanticide. Some people will make the decision to seek an abortion. All of these courses of action have bad consequences. The objective of good planning should be to minimize the damages. A late term abortion is better than infanticide. The earlier an abortion is performed, the better it is if all other circumstances are equal. A "morning after" pill that prevents an embryo from implanting is better than any procedure needed to deal with an implanted embryo. Prevention of the union of ovum and sperm would be preferable to that, and so on. We do not live in an ideal world, and reverence for life will move us to deal in a loving way with all eventualities.

The same reasoning applies to execution. How much better it would be if nobody ever became such a threat that authorities judge the safest course for the community is to end that person's life. Perhaps there are cases when it would be a mercy to end the lives of some individuals whose violent impulses cannot be remedied and who hate themselves because of what they are. But the ideal would be a society that values all life so highly that it is willing to pay in money and time what is necessary to minimize the possibility of the individual's going wrong, and to do everything possible to correct problems as soon as they are manifest. It makes no sense to me to protect the lives of all individuals from the time of their conception and then abandon them to an uncaring and even hostile environment as soon as they are born.

I also fail to see the logic behind an ideology that holds that it is permissible to end a human life as an act of vengeance, but it is not permissible to end a human life as an act of mercy. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord," but mercy is enjoined upon all of us. The realistic danger is euthanasia is that it becomes a disguise for ending the life of an individual whom others value negatively.