Moral Skills and Religious Practice
THE PREVIOUS Two parts outlined the natural law approach. Although natural law speaks to the minds and hearts of many, to put it gently, not everyone is convinced. There are many intellectual and social reasons why natural law is not as convincing as it is intended to be. So, we first explore them and then in the following chapters we give a glimpse of what Christianity adds to the natural law approach.
The three important elements that Christianity add to the natural law approach are affirmation, enhancement, and motivation. First, the Bible as interpreted in a tradition offers assurance that natural law does unveil moral truths. Second, Christian belief and practice enhance moral skills that make it more likely that people will be able to follow consistently the natural law approach. Third, because baptism and the other Christian sacraments offer a share in divine life, they motivate Christians to strive for exemplary actions in their lives.
Parts I and II identified and justified the fundamental values as truly universal human values. Part II considered particular actions in pursuit of marriage, one of the highest expressions of friendship. Actions related to sexual intimacy were shown to be corrosive i f they did not attend to and respect the four central characteristics of the sexual act: the physical act itself, an openness to new life, an expression of lasting commitment, and the engagement of memory and i magination. If this is not the context of acts of sexual intimacy,