Friday, November 4, 2016
On Natural Law
1. The idea of the Natural law is that we, humans, were created with a nature specific to us. We have a human nature. We are not stones, not mushrooms, not dogs not cats. We are humans. God created us, humans, with a natural moral law. As humans we act in human ways. The Natural Law is a moral law. In other words, we decide and act for the good which is in line with our nature as human beings. 2. We are obliged to act according to our human nature. Nobody obliges us--no government and no policeman. Our human nature simply makes us act as humans, we have to act in such a human way. So we can give moral norms and rules to our actions. We believe that we can follow and obey certain moral norms based on our human nature. These norms and rules can direct our personal and social lives.
3. We can make many legal, political, economic and cultural rules. Every country has its own rules and regulations. They are, however, to be based on natural law. All the rules we make are based on our moral inclination to do good. It is in our human nature.
Now, how does natural law work then? We have our feature of being rational-- we think, we reflect, we discern. It is in our human nature. So in natural law we regulate ourselves, using reason, to adjust to ourselves, our actions. With our reason we discern and manage our actions so that we do what is humanly innate in us. We use our head-- we reason-- to see where we connect with what is natural in us.
4. What exactly do we want to do which is natural in us? We want to do good and avoid evil. Natural law is, in general, this law: do good and avoid evil. It is natural in us, as humans, to reason out well a life in which we do good and avoid evil. But how do we know that we do good and avoid evil?
a. Just like all creatures, the human does good and avoids evil by conserving being/existence/life. Self-destruction is never the option of creatures.
b. Now if conservation of being is natural and a “should”, corollary to this is the promotion of being. All creatures, including humans, promote life. We see this in the propagation of the species and the formation of the offspring. We educate and form and train our kids.
c. But then, there is something proper to the human. This is the capacity to seek and to know the truth. We humans are capable of having insight into the workings of the reality around us. This allows us to live socially with one another. We are not just pushed and pulled by genetic forces and instincts. We are capable of thinking, reflecting and deciphering the world around us. Hence our social lives are characterized by this capacity for insight. We can—and should—live with each other in truth.
5. We can do many things and create many laws in our societies. We can do many cultural practices. But are they all "natural"? Do they all respect the natural law? Crime, oppressing others, corruption, they are against the natural in us because they do not preserve life. They harm and destroy life. Do we promote lying? Do we form people--like our children--to opt for cheating and breaking laws? In doing these we do not propagate our species. We do not promote our humanity. Do we create social structures that protect inequality and the monopoly of a few elite? This violates natural law because it is not in the promotion of social life.