Protestant Parishioners, Their Pastors, and Euthanasia

Wim Graafland, Stef Groenewoud, T. Theo J. Pleizier, Theo A. Boer

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In the past, research was done in the Netherlands among pastors to study their attitudes and experiences regarding euthanasia. Also, the attitudes of protestant believers have been studied, however very superficially. This paper presents the results of a survey among 736 parishioners of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands about their experiences, views, and understanding of euthanasia and about what they expect from their pastor. Two-thirds of the respondents are positive about euthanasia being permissible in the Netherlands, and half of them consider euthanasia a possibility for themselves. A parishioner's theological subdenomination (orthodox, evangelical, middle-orthodox, liberal) is related significantly to their views about euthanasia and pastoral care. Most parishioners value a central role for their pastor at the end of their lives, including those who would possibly consider euthanasia. The relevance of this survey is that a better insight in the parishioners' wishes about euthanasia can improve the practice of pastoral care at the end of life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Empirical Theology
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Euthanasia
  • pastoral care
  • ethics

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