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  #1  
Old Jan 29, '13, 12:25 am
Tyrion Tyrion is offline
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Default Natural moral law?

Many people insist that there is a "natural moral law" inscribed on the human heart. Apart from the fact that this is just a poetic utterance, I wonder just what are the paragraphs of those alleged laws? Do they include the ten commandments? Or that fornication is "evil"?

I would appreciate if you would simply enumerate those "laws", even if not in any specific order. How many are there?
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  #2  
Old Jan 29, '13, 4:12 am
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anruari anruari is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

To say that Natural Moral Law is inscribed on the hearts of all mankind, is unfortunately pure wishfull thinking. As you said it is a poetic utterance.
Without Saving Grace, Man is corrupted and a slave to sin and to breaking Natural Law as he is drawn by his passions which rules the intellect and reason instead of the reverse.

My understanding of Natural Law is that it is an understanding of Morality which can be directly derived from looking at the world and nature around us. Divine Revelation clarifies and highlights His pre-existing Natural Law and helps us to understand it.
e.g.

Stealing is wrong. you do not need the 10 commandments to see that.

Society is built from the family up. The from families, to Clans then Tribes then Nations, and now huge trans-continental federations and alliances....
But loosing sight of the fact that society builds up from the Family not down from the Government we to grave damage to the whole concept and it goes from a force for Good to a totalitarian force for evil.
One does not need Divine Revelation to see that.

Life is Precious. Human Life especially so. All Human's have a Right to Life. You become Human at the moment of Conception.
you do not need recourse to Divine revelation to make these points.

That which is Evil is that which directly harms or damages the individual, the Family, the Society
That which is Good protects the dignity and holistic welfare of the individual, the family the Society, without destroying the dignity or welfare of the weaker members for the benefit of the stronger.
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  #3  
Old Jan 29, '13, 4:13 am
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anruari anruari is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

I am not (yet) a moral theologian, but I hope to better study this area, as I believe it is key in modern apologetics and politics, and essential in arguing for a moral society in a world where recourse to faith and Divine Revelation gets rejected by many of our opponents. So if we can argue our point from Natural Law and Reason, we stand a far better chance of being listened to.


Here's an example:
An understanding of Natural Marriage as a essential foundation to society is almost universal through history and across societies (although marital models vary).

Divine Revelation elevated Natural Marriage, from a very important civil contract to a Sacrament. This further highlights its importance, and promises sacramental Grace for those spouses who will accept that grace: but does not change the underlying moral importance of the Natural Marriage.

The understanding of Natural Law may feel like it is written on our hearts but that is only because we are raised in a family within a society which allows us to learn about Good, and reject Evil. It is essential to further educate our conscience by study of both Natural and revealed Morality and Law. the nature and intensity of that study is relative to the calling and capability of the individual - but it is a universal call.

So many of the campaigners for Societal Change are campaigning based on a seeing real injustices in our societies. all too often they become miss-guided and press past undoing an injustice, and replace it with other injustices in the opposite direction.
e.g. Womens Liberation moving past rejecting the degradation of women in post industrialized society and developing into an "arch feminism" which does so much damage.
A "Gay Rights" movement which has moved past rejecting the unjust punishment and discrimination against homosexual people, and are now pressing hard to totally redefine what "marriage" and "Family" mean with no understanding of the true role of marriage and family in society.
Adoption laws which are more interested in the rights of the people asking to adopt a child then in the rights of the child to have the best possible parents. Making changes to those laws when the scientific studies carried out support traditional moral values which are being rejected out of hand as they don't fit the current political rhetoric.

Politicians who will implement policy changes knowing that they cannot possibly work, just based on their political ideology. (e.g. introducing means testing for benefits, when the administrative cost of the means testing far outweighs the potential savings)
Other political movements that create poverty traps in social welfare schemes, that make it impossible to get back off the benefits - which were intended to be a safety net, not a trap.

We see these misguided and failed attempts at moral behaviour everywhere from within individual families right up to entire nations:

Communism and other totalitarian government regimes have put the "common good" of society so far above the rights of the individual that they have used concentration camps to murder many many times the numbers that died under the Nazis in the USSR, North Korea, and many other places.

Arch Capitalism - especially in the USA - does the opposite from an economic ideology - but it's implementation puts the "rights" of big business far above the rights of the individuals, and casts such suspicion on the "red under the bed" that any and all forms of social security get treated with great suspicion.
The result in Health-care is the most expensive and financially inefficient healthcare system in the world, and is the leading cause of bankruptcy in that country. This leaves the most vulnerable and needful members of society totally unable to access good quality healthcare, in what is among the richest societies the world has ever seen.
Most European countries (and other wealthy countries) have healthcare models that provide a much fairer method of ensuring that everyone has access to healthcare.

That's not to say that European countries are any form of utopia. while they each try for a political middle ground in their own way, they all have problems with their systems.

Lastly the view that "Democracy" can define morality is probably one of the biggest failures to understand Natural Law. Moral Relativism is the biggest danger to western society by a very long way. We as a combined society have lost sight of the bigger picture that the concept of "Moral Relativism" simply doesn't hold water, and must urgently be rejected.
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  #4  
Old Jan 29, '13, 5:55 am
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Polycarp1 Polycarp1 is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

There was a show on CBC (Canada) called "The Nature of Things" this week which aired an episode entitled "Babies: Born to be Good?" that suggests scientific evidence that babies have an inate sense of justice and morality that from a very early age that is not learned behavior.

The promo reads "Where does our moral compass come from? Where do our notions of good and bad, our sense of justice and fairness originate? Do we come into the world as amoral creatures without any sense of right and wrong, without any conscience and only learn to be good?

In laboratories around the world psychologists are grappling with the age-old problem of morality. And strange as it may seem, they are posing these large philosophical questions to babies. As the answers emerge, the findings about babies’ moral notions tell us much about human nature.

BABIES: BORN TO BE GOOD? is a lively look at the moral trajectory of children from the first months of life onward. Blending scientific research and scenes of children playing in their own environments, the documentary reveals that children seem to have a moral sense from the very the get-go.

The last 30 years have brought about a revolution in our understanding of babies. New techniques have allowed psychologists to decipher what babies think and they’ve discovered more and more about the complexity of what is going on in even the youngest baby’s mind. The results of their research are startling. The evidence suggests that there are glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of a baby’s life.

BABIES: BORN TO BE GOOD? focuses on the latest cutting-edge research by developmental psychologists working in infant laboratories around the world. The most imaginative efforts go into designing experiments to study the development of moral understanding in children. Some are like mini-plays and magic shows designed to elicit a moral judgement even from babies as young as three months.

And so we witness 3-month olds demonstrating preference for “good guys” over “bad guys”. We see 6 month-olds proving they understand concepts of reward and punishment. And 9-month-olds -- justice and fairness?

We look at the influence of culture on lying and truthfulness,-- (and what is an acceptable white lie) -- as children try to navigate the fine line between the two, learning how to solve one of the big moral questions that adults face everyday.

Morality is absolutely fundamental to our life, it covers just about every span of human endeavour, every aspect of day to day interaction. And if we want to see where our moral instinct comes from studying babies gives us insight into human nature before it gets tainted & corrupted by culture .

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/epi...be-good-1.html
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  #5  
Old Jan 29, '13, 6:33 am
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Augusta1990 Augusta1990 is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

I think the clear points of natural law are considered "inscribed on the human heart," but not necessarily more minor violations of it. Since the line between obvious and not so obvious is partly a matter of opinion, you can't just enumerate all of them.
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  #6  
Old Jan 29, '13, 6:35 am
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Also, a fantastic read if you have the time: What We Can't Not Know by J. Budziszewski.
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  #7  
Old Jan 29, '13, 7:37 am
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Linusthe2nd Linusthe2nd is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrion View Post
Many people insist that there is a "natural moral law" inscribed on the human heart. Apart from the fact that this is just a poetic utterance, I wonder just what are the paragraphs of those alleged laws? Do they include the ten commandments? Or that fornication is "evil"?

I would appreciate if you would simply enumerate those "laws", even if not in any specific order. How many are there?
There is indeed a Natural Law inscribed on the human heart. But you will not find it accepted by " secular " world views. However you asked for a list. These are available to even those who have not been exposed to Christianity.

These are summed up in the Ten Commandments, with which I assume you are familiar. These are arrived at by observing how people interact with each other and concluding that there are certain behaviors that are condusive to the functioning of a well ordered and peaceful society. These commandments can be arrived at by reason as Plato and Aristotle showed, though they didn't have them down completely, nor did they understand their full implications, they did not understand that we had a responsibility to observe them - a moral obligation for which we would be held to account..

They all stem from the fundamental principle of " do good and avoid evil. " And since human nature is the same for all people, all people should be able to apply reason to life's varied situations and arrive at the law in some detail. But because evil has colouded our reason not all people are capable of arriving at a sufficient understanding of the law.

It is only after Faith in a Divine Revelation that the law became clear and accessible to all. So if you reject the validity of a Divine Revelation you will never arrive at a true understanding of the law. But once Faith has been accepted it is easy to see the validity of the Natural Law as Moses taught.

But it is only after the coming of Christ and the establishment of His Church that the Law became clear and fleshed out, so to speak.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this a bit. Also there is a wonderful book called " Right and Reason " by Austin Fogathy which deals with the Law from a rational point of view.

Also, here is a discussion of the Natural Law from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm


Hope this has helped.

Last edited by Linusthe2nd; Jan 29, '13 at 7:45 am. Reason: addition
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  #8  
Old Jan 29, '13, 7:53 am
Nimzovik Nimzovik is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

It is the Natural Law that was used by the world to convict the Nazis at the Nuremburg Trials. Research there.

I dare say one bright, sunny day the same Natural Law will be used to incarcerate the Planned Parenthood Provider perps, IMHO.
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  #9  
Old Jan 29, '13, 10:13 am
Tyrion Tyrion is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anruari View Post
My understanding of Natural Law is that it is an understanding of Morality which can be directly derived from looking at the world and nature around us.
That would be a very good idea as a starting point, but there is a serious problem spelled out below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anruari View Post
Stealing is wrong. you do not need the 10 commandments to see that.

Society is built from the family up. The from families, to Clans then Tribes then Nations, and now huge trans-continental federations and alliances....

Life is Precious. Human Life especially so. All Human's have a Right to Life. You become Human at the moment of Conception.

That which is Evil is that which directly harms or damages the individual, the Family, the Society
These are very premature.

It seems that people forget that humanity did not start a few thousand years ago. The cavemen were also humans, with a very different attitude and moral system. For them killing other people was a way of life, cannibalism was just fine, there was no concept of "property" therefore there was no "stealing", there was no prohibition against rape, etc... There was no marriage for ages, children were raised by the tribes, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Augusta1990 View Post
Since the line between obvious and not so obvious is partly a matter of opinion, you can't just enumerate all of them.
The conclusion is that without a separation of "obvious" and "not obvious", the whole idea simply collapses into subjective incoherence.
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  #10  
Old Jan 29, '13, 10:25 am
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrion View Post
That would be a very good idea as a starting point, but there is a serious problem spelled out below.


These are very premature.

It seems that people forget that humanity did not start a few thousand years ago. The cavemen were also humans, with a very different attitude and moral system. For them killing other people was a way of life, cannibalism was just fine, there was no concept of "property" therefore there was no "stealing", there was no prohibition against rape, etc... There was no marriage for ages, children were raised by the tribes, etc.


The conclusion is that without a separation of "obvious" and "not obvious", the whole idea simply collapses into subjective incoherence.
At the risk of derailing the thread it seems that there are some untenable assumption here. 1) How do you know that the cavemen were human? 2) How do you know what their attitude and moral system were? 3) How do you know that cannibalism was practiced? 4) What recorded history documents what there life and society were like?

Also, your last statement is a logical fallacy, a false dicotomy. Much of the obvious is objective and coherent.
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Old Jan 29, '13, 11:33 am
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrion View Post
That would be a very good idea as a starting point, but there is a serious problem spelled out below.


These are very premature.

It seems that people forget that humanity did not start a few thousand years ago. The cavemen were also humans, with a very different attitude and moral system. For them killing other people was a way of life, cannibalism was just fine, there was no concept of "property" therefore there was no "stealing", there was no prohibition against rape, etc... There was no marriage for ages, children were raised by the tribes, etc.


The conclusion is that without a separation of "obvious" and "not obvious", the whole idea simply collapses into subjective incoherence.
Really? based on what evidence?
even a Dog can show a keen sense of "Fairness" and understand the concept of theft. you are suggesting that early Homosapien did not?
"Killing other people was a way of life" based on what evidence and in what circumstances? Killing in self defence is considered morally justifiable even in today world. It is an advanced development of that that says that most wars or violent events to seek wealth for your family, tribe or nation are not Just or Justifiable. But no society can permit unrestricted murder. that is anarchy not society.

"There was no marriage for ages" what do yo base that on? where's your evidence?
"Children were raised by tribes?"
all this is nonsense. it simply dosn't hold water. even if you can find some primitive tribes in isolated areas where one or more of these can be shown to be true in restricted circumstances within a specific culture... they are not universal across such cultures, and I doubt you could find one tribe demonstrating many never mind all of these.

Humans have a strong instinct towards stable marital relationships. Almost very culture has had prohibitions against adultry. normaly with severe penalties. Even today adultry is a very common motive for murder.

Now:
Which "Cavemen" are you talking about? Homosapien or Neanderthal? they were 2 different species. There's evidence they interbred in some parts of Europe. so there's a 3rd class of "human" to consider.

Without stable monogamous bonds how do you suggest that "Tribes" could develop?
How could a man have any confidence he is feeding his own children or those of other men who are contributing to the clan?

In those primitive societies which have been studied where there is a lot of sharing of the meat between the families and not just the immediate family of the tribe member who succeeded in the hunt.... the offspring of dead tribesmen get shunned in this distribution!

Knowledge of parenthood is essential in forming tribes.
Without that all you have is rapist men or "Stag" men and "tribes" would be groups of related women grouping together for mutual support to raise their offspring.
this is seen in many other species where children need a lot of looking after.
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  #12  
Old Jan 29, '13, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

416. In what does the natural moral law consist?

1954-1960
1978-1979

The natural law which is inscribed by the Creator on the heart of every person consists in a participation in the wisdom and the goodness of God. It expresses that original moral sense which enables one to discern by reason the good and the bad. It is universal and immutable and determines the basis of the duties and fundamental rights of the person as well as those of the human community and civil law.

417. Is such a law perceived by everyone?

1960

Because of sin the natural law is not always perceived nor is it recognized by everyone with equal clarity and immediacy.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/compen...um-ccc_en.html
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Old Jan 29, '13, 3:39 pm
Charlemagne II Charlemagne II is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

tyrion

It seems that people forget that humanity did not start a few thousand years ago. The cavemen were also humans, with a very different attitude and moral system. For them killing other people was a way of life, cannibalism was just fine, there was no concept of "property" therefore there was no "stealing", there was no prohibition against rape, etc... There was no marriage for ages, children were raised by the tribes, etc.

There must have been monsters of immorality no matter how far back you go. Hitler was certainly not the first. To assume that ancient savagery was the norm rather than the exception is just that; an assumption.

Were you there?
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Old Jan 30, '13, 12:42 am
Tyrion Tyrion is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidv View Post
How do you know that the cavemen were human?
Quote:
Originally Posted by anruari View Post
Really? based on what evidence?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlemagne II View Post
Were you there?
Gotta love these demands for evidence. Well, the authority is impeccable. There is this gypsy woman with her crystal ball... which shows the past with incredible clarity...
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  #15  
Old Jan 30, '13, 12:43 am
Tyrion Tyrion is offline
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Default Re: Natural moral law?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookcat View Post
416. In what does the natural moral law consist?

1954-1960
1978-1979

The natural law which is inscribed by the Creator on the heart of every person consists in a participation in the wisdom and the goodness of God. It expresses that original moral sense which enables one to discern by reason the good and the bad. It is universal and immutable and determines the basis of the duties and fundamental rights of the person as well as those of the human community and civil law.

417. Is such a law perceived by everyone?

1960

Because of sin the natural law is not always perceived nor is it recognized by everyone with equal clarity and immediacy.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/compen...um-ccc_en.html
Very nice, but I was already aware of this. My question is about the DETAILS! For example, were the cavemen aware that masturbation is a "grave matter"? Or that fornication is against the natural order of things? Or that missing a mass without good reason is a serious "sin"? Or that killing the members of another tribe is "sinful"? What kind of "marriage" was inscribed onto their "heart"? What about cannibalism? Or having sexual relationship with close relatives? What about the taboo against displaying their "private parts"?

The devil is in the details. Just what are the paragraphs of this "natural moral law"? Even if you cannot provide an exhaustive list, but surely the church has at least a partial list, which is applicable to all societies across all times. An empty "law-book" is not much of a help, is it? Please provide the contents in it. I am eager to see those pesky details.
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