I have a question concerning natural law. Many of the church’s most controversial teachings, especially those concerning sexual morality, hinge on the idea of natural law. In some cases the logic is easy enough to follow. Regarding the teachings on abortion, for instance, once the personhood of the unborn is accepted, a right to life is a natural consequence. The prohibitions against murder is a universally accepted moral principle (the trick is usually getting “personhood” established, whether the issue is murder or tribal warfare or other violent act).
Other concepts, though, such as the idea that the sexual act must be unitive and procreative, are harder to swallow based on reason alone. Yet if this is derived from natural law, why should this be so? Natural law, as I understand it, is not like the Trinity or Eucharist, something that must be accepted on faith alone. In discussions of issues such as contraception, though, I always see natural law cited. Also troubling is that natural law has in the past been cited in defense of what now seems indefensible, such as in denying women or racial minorities equal treatment, for instance.
I’m not currently married, or even in a serious relationship at this point, but it’d be nice to have these sorts of questions resolved by the time I get to that point. Certainly the argument that NFP is healthier is very appealing, but I’m not sure that quite makes it a moral argument. After all, organic beef is much healthier than the hormone and anti-biotic laden mainstream beef, but I don’t see anyone arguing that eating hormone-injected beef is immoral, just unhealthy.
The validity of natural law has wider implications beyond contraception, of course. If homosexuality is not chosen, for instance (and the verdict still sees to be out on this), then the argument against it relies entirely on natural law. I also fail to see how issues such as contraception and homosexuality are even on the same moral plane as abortion and other acts that target human life.
Anyway, thoughts on this would be much appreciated. It’s not so much that I’m opposed to church teaching in this area so much as that I can’t truthfully say I completely accept them as long as these objections remain.