Sexual Morality: A Natural Law Approach to Intimate Relationships

By John J. Piderit | Go to book overview

PART TWO
Avoiding Corrosive Actions and Promoting
Friendship

IN PART I we articulated the primary ways in which natural law is expressed. Our claim is that all humans seek to realize seven fundamental values: life, friendship, beauty, knowledge, playfulness, religion, and practical reasonableness. We emphasized the myriad and diversity of satisfying ways to pursue these values. We also noted that some actions or activities do not lead to deeper participation in any particular value; on the contrary, some actions or practices either block participation in the value or blind a person to envision effective and attractive ways to pursue the values. Human beings acknowledge that certain activities are forbidden or wrong because they impede progress toward participating in the fundamental value. The actions are corrosive because they eat away at a person’s ability to participate in a particular fundamental value.

In part II we narrow our perspective and consider primarily the fundamental value of friendship, but with attention to the way it is pursued through actions also involving other fundamental values. As is the case for adults, young people pursue all the fundamental values, but friendship is especially significant for young adults. As older teenagers they make friends who are very important, because some of these friends will be good friends for the rest of their lives. Within the family, however, norms for natural law emerge long before children begin high school. Parents teach their very young sons and daughters how they are supposed to interact with one another. To a certain extent, rules for interaction between the sexes involve cultural values, but they also draw upon

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