Sexual Morality: A Natural Law Approach to Intimate Relationships

By John J. Piderit | Go to book overview

24
Why Doesn’t Everyone Agree with Natural Law?

IF THE NATURAL law appeals to all people of good will, why don’t more people get with the program? Many people have never heard of natural law, and many who know something about it either find it confusing or disagree with the norms that flow from a natural law approach. With respect to contested norms, consider the following instances, all of which have been addressed in previous chapters. Many young people do not consider it wrong to have sexual relations prior to marriage, whether or not they are committed to the person with whom they are having sexual relations. At least in Western society, both the morality and legality of abortion are widely contested. Many young people do not consider drugs and getting drunk corrosive or against their conscience. Some young people may choose not to indulge in these things, but many of them do not hold it against those who do. That is, although personally opposed, they do not believe the activities diminish the moral stature of the person who does indulge.

The main reason why natural law does not prompt spontaneous agreement by most in a modern community is that moral codes are not just theoretical norms that can be perceived objectively by any person. They are norms lived in actual communities and the experience of abiding by the norms provides insight into the reasonableness of the norms. As we have pointed out many times in previous chapters, many people live in societies that endorse practices contrary to natural law. However, for people living in such societies these practices, although contrary to the norms of natural law, seem plausible and reasonable to them. In most instances

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