HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

NATURAL LAW "MORALITY"

Absolutism is the doctrine that some acts are morally wrong no matter how much evil avoiding them does. It says the acts are bad in themselves and that they are not to be condemned because of their bad consequences but simply because they are bad. It says the reason evil acts have bad results is because they are evil acts and it denies that we should say that doing whatever has the best consequences matters.

 

The other side of this morality is that there are some acts that are morally good in all circumstances.  A typical example is making the choice to love and respect your neighbour. That is the nice side but the nice and not nice go together. 

 

Let us explore the doctrines of people in ivory towers who claim that morality is about actions that are always wrong regardless of the evil this “morality” results in. Or who hold that only some actions are always bad and forbidden. Morality is not a simple belief in good or bad but a belief in being good or else suffering punishment.

 

Catholics teach the notion of natural law - that God has written the rules about how to treat each other in our hearts. Some believe divine law is not imposed on people but flows out of them. In other words, God does not impose the rule that gay sex is wrong - nature does.  God by creating nature is indirectly responsible.  Protestants usually feel that natural law morality gives you a morality that cares more about nature than God or his grace.  Atheists sometimes follow natural law morality too.
 
It follows from this natural law teaching that Christians do not have a monopoly on working out right from wrong. Perhaps one religion has as good of an understanding as another. So it should not matter if you are a non-Christian or not a Catholic. But the Churches say you do need to be Christian. The Catholic Church says that there is no salvation for somebody that sees they should join the Catholic Church and who refuses. Perhaps Christianity is worse than many other religions for making mistakes in deciphering natural law morality? Natural law morality implies that it does not matter if you are religious or not as long as you work out the morality as accurately as possible and are open to correction. Religion is damned because it is NOT open to correction at least in some things. For example, Catholicism won't fix its ban on condoms to help women avoid AIDS.

 

Some say that what is unnatural must be absolutely forbidden.

 

Many religions and absolutists pontificate about unnatural acts being wrong under all circumstances. Some even say it is a sin to have a face-lift.

If something being unnatural means that it is evil then absolutism is true. Then what is unnatural is always or absolutely wrong.

 

We should not condemn things just because we think they are unnatural. Only harmful things must be denounced. Nature makes many supposed unnatural acts possible and enjoyable and harmless so they could be considered natural.

 

Nature puts sex organs on those she inclines to be celibate so what is natural is not necessarily sensible.

 

Nature puts sex organs on paedophiles and gives them a strong sex-drive so what is natural is not necessarily good.

 

We wear glasses and clothes and get operations. Those who fulminate against unnatural “crimes” like artificial birth control and homosexuality are often accused of being hypocrites for they do plenty of unnatural things themselves. It might be replied that it is different to wear glasses than to use a condom for you wear glasses because there is something wrong with you but the condom is not a health aid. Here it is being assumed that nature means you to see well so you may wear glasses. But nature made it possible for your sight to be marred and stay marred. Also, you don’t need glasses all the time so when you are allowed by the Church to put them down, the church is admitting that glasses are not just for health. You can cope a lot of the time in the house without glasses. To be consistent, the Church needs to forbid you having glasses on when you are asleep.

 

The Catholic Church says that birth-control is bad for the same reason that eating food for pleasure and vomiting it up would be bad. It means that you are after the pleasure and rejecting the purpose of the pleasure which is to keep you alive. So sex pleasure is to help and get you to make babies. But sex is not for the pleasure. If you have sex for recreation and don’t want babies, you are, in their view, putting the means before the end. You are not using the means for their proper purpose.

 

If having sex for pleasure not for babies is a sin then eating sweets when you have had a good meal must be a sin. You have nourished your body well and now you want to eat junk for pleasure not for nourishment. Drinking alcohol for pleasure must be a sin for it is certainly not taken for nourishment. Smoking cigarettes must be a sin for it is the unnatural use of the lungs and gives pleasure but serves no purpose.

 

Pleasure is not just about getting us to look after ourselves. Pleasure can be an end not a means and that is acceptable. You don’t laugh because it is good for you. You laugh because you desire pleasure.

 

The Church shows complete inconsistency. Its doctrine is really down to a deep suspicion of pleasure that can only tolerate it for some boring end. 

 

Sex without baby-making is acceptable and natural if eating a sweet is acceptable and natural.

 

The Catholic Church preaches pure hypocrisy.

 

We can’t accuse anyone of abnormal acts unless they are harmful. Normal is defined as what the majority do. But the majority do and approve of much evil and much of what can be categorised as unnatural. Just because most people say you should do something does not mean that something is to be considered automatically praiseworthy and honoured by being called normal as if dissenting from that is bad.

 

Fetishes are as normal as fancying only persons of a certain physical type. What is so great about what is natural when sexual love depends on firstly how a person looks and secondly talks than on that person being a really moral person? Teenagers would fall in love with kindly pensioners if natural and good were the same thing.

 

Nature is full of violence and hate so its laws merit little respect and should be broken for a greater good, such as human happiness. There is nothing wrong with breaking the laws of nature in itself though it may sometimes be wrong for consequentialist reasons. Is it good to want your throat cut? It is not bad because your throat is meant be in one piece. It is bad because of the consequences and you could die from it. Is it natural to put natural law before happiness?

 

All who condemn gay people or whatever as evil for doing what is supposedly unnatural are slandering them and hating them. They have no right to do so for it is never right to condemn what is harmless or could be made harmless. It is true that the abuse of gay sexuality has done a lot to spread AIDS but nothing can be legitimately condemned because of its misuse.

 

Be broad-minded.

 

To absolutely condemn homosexuality or anything that is allegedly unnatural implies that anything against nature is always wrong. It tells us to let a child who needs the unnatural act of a lung transplant die. To have somebody else’s body part inside you as part of you is more physically intimate than sex could ever hope to be. If homosexuality is wrong, so is the transplant. You cannot say it is more unnatural to let a child die when you say that homosexuality is immoral even if the gay person’s deprivation will lead to suicide.

 

Perhaps it is wrong to do what is unnatural without need? Who cares if it is harmless?

 

The Roman Catholic Church based its absolutism on natural law and it claimed that anybody who thought properly would come to the same conclusions as it did. The Natural Law theory says that God’s moral law is written in nature. For example, incest is wrong for nature is rigged to make it cause the babies to be unhealthy and handicapped. Nobody believes this theory anymore.

 

The theory of natural law morality accuses those who disobey the Church of wilfully sinning for it is based on the notion that what is sinful is plain to us from natural law.

 

If your value is to feed the poor that is good. If it won't become your value unless you believe in a God who commands it then there is something wrong. You shouldn't need a belief as a crutch to give you the value. It means you don't value it at all but have to find a way to imagine that you do. What happens when the scales fall off your eyes? The belief is made more important than the value. Yet reason says a belief cannot be more important than liking to help the poor. Natural Law Morality agrees with all this.

 

It makes God redundant for he does not create morality. He hinders it. If God wrote the law in nature, then he was only revealing it in nature. Natural Law would be more important then than God. God would not get a big head and set up a religion nor would he do miracles to get people to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Those things would be distractions from the truth assuming Natural Law is the truth!

 

Natural law is supposed to mean natural law that was given by God and devised by him. In reality then it is not natural law - it is just supernatural law behaving in a natural way.  Anyway that aside, when nature and humankind supposedly rebelled against God and ruined God's perfect creation it does not follow that natural law really is his will.

 

BOOKS CONSULTED

A HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, VOL 6, PART II, KANT, Frederick Copleston SJ, Doubleday/Image, New York, 1964
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Ed John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
ETHICS, A C Ewing, Teach Yourself Books, English Universities Press Ltd, London, 1964
ETHICS IN A PERMISSIVE SOCIETY, William Barclay, Collins and Fontana, Glasgow, 1971
FREE TO DO RIGHT, David Field, IVP, London, 1973
MORAL PHILOSOPHY, Joseph Rickaby SJ, Stonyhurst Philosophy Series, Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1912
MORALITY, Bernard Williams, Pelican/Penguin, Middlesex, 1972
MORTAL QUESTIONS Thomas Nagel, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, 1979
NEW CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Catholic University of America and the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, 1967
PRACTICAL ETHICS, Peter Singer, Cambridge University Press, England, 1994
RUNAWAY WORLD, Michael Green, IVP, London, 1974
SITUATION ETHICS, Joseph Fletcher, SCM Press, London, 1966
SUMMA THEOLOGICA OF ST THOMAS AQUINAS, Part II, Second Number, Thomas Baker, London, 1918
THE PROBLEM OF RIGHT CONDUCT, Peter Green MA, Longmans Green and Co, London, 1957
The WEB
Roman Catholic Ethics: Three Approaches by Brian Berry
www.mcgill.pvt.k12.al.us/jerryd/ligouri/berry.htm