The Christian Difference
CHRISTIAN BELIEF AND practice do not change the natural law approach. That is, the fundamental values remain the same, as do the corrosive activities. However, Christian belief and practice do add three components to the natural law approach: revelation in the Old and New Testaments, enhanced moral skills, and the selection of exemplary goals.
In all Christian churches, the Old and New Testaments are normative for belief and practice. These sacred writings, however, confirm the basic framework of natural law. It is true that the Catholic Church as well as some other Christian groups have traditions of authoritative teachings concerning faith and morals. The religious teachings on matters of faith are rooted in the Old and New Testaments. Similarly, the ethical or moral teachings of the Catholic Church and many other Christian churches are influenced by the Old and New Testaments. However, the Catholic Church justifies its moral norms primarily by invoking natural law. In particular, when questions arise whether a certain practice is “corrosive” or “acceptable,” the Catholic Church uses natural law reasoning.
In the previous chapter, we pointed out that the plausibility of natural law is influenced by the practices of the community. Christians are not perfect in their practices and this can result in wrongly classifying certain activities. Nonetheless, the leadership in the Catholic Church always calls its members to correct practice, since practices are so important in perceiving whether actions are corrosive, acceptable, or exemplary. With respect to religious doctrines of the Catholic Church, the teaching