‘Natural law theory is the best approach to moral decision making’. Discuss

Hope it helps.

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: mabel
  • Created on: 18-11-10 11:51
Preview of ‘Natural law theory is the best approach to moral decision making’. Discuss

First 752 words of the document:

`Natural law theory is the best approach to moral decision making'. Discuss
The natural law theory is approach from an absolutist point of view which expresses that morality is
innate from birth. What is `right and `wrong', `good' or `evil' can be perceived almost instantly by
everyone because morality is universal. Also, natural law does not adjust to public opinion; it is an
invisible measure which never changes. It can be seen as a good approach to morality as it does not
allow people from different denominations or in different situation they may find themselves to build
their own moral rules. Religious people also share natural law ideas as they argue that there is an
eternal unchanging part of morality which remains unchanged regardless of personal opinions and
preferences. Christianity has a great deal of support for the view that there is a natural law of
morality. The Christian understanding of this concept is based largely upon the work of Thomas
Aquinas as he explained that faith and reason are closely related.
Natural law has strengths and weaknesses of it own; its strengths include the fact that it is applicable
to all. It is not flexible like the relative approach to morality; it is an objective idea so therefore is
eternal and unchanging. Its law are innate (within us). It also combines faith with reasoning which
together can provide people with the best tools for living. Natural law attempts to show how faith
and reason can be brought together to form a system which is both reasonable, appealing to
rational, intelligent people and faithful to God all in one. Another benefit is that it is part of human
nature; it is said to be innate as even when we are toddlers we have a sense of injustice and what is
`right' or `wrong'.
On the other hand, It also has its disadvantages which weaken the argument, they include: the
purpose that is assumed in natural law is not in anyway self evident. As the idea that humanity has a
purpose is not without its problems as a concept, as we are unsure if there is one universal purpose
for humanity and if therefore this means that we must adopt the same kind of behaviour. Even if
humanity was created for a purpose it is not self-evident what the purpose is. Also, ideas about what
is and is not natural changes between generations, and are different in different cultures. It can
sometimes be difficult to separate what is truly natural from what is culturally acceptable. So it can be
supposed that absolute morality can be influence by society own beliefs and ideas of what is right
and wrong. As things that where accepted previously in societies are now perceived as morally
wrong. Therefore, if we cannot agree upon a definition of what is natural, then it becomes very
difficult to appeal to nature in the making of moral decisions.
So also, the concept of actuality being better than potentiality is difficult to understand and apply to
practical ethics. There are many things we have the potential to become but would not necessarily
see them as good. Besides that natural law principles of natural law are strictly applied, some of the
rules however have results that are unacceptable to common sense.
All things considered natural law is a fairly plausible argument but its lack of flexibility means we are
unsure in some situation what is right or wrong. Society forms an opinion of their own idea of what is
`right' or `wrong' and it may not always agree with `natural law morality'. Also one of few problems
with the natural law theory is that it suggests that every human adult should marry and aim to have
children. Which means that mother Theresa and above all Thomas Aquinas who was a priest were
wrong to decide to be celibate. Aquinas recognised this difficulty and answered by saying that as
long as humanity as a whole fulfilled its purpose by producing the next generation it was acceptable
for some individuals to choose other ways of life- This creates a loophole for critics of the idea.
Darwin's theory also challenges natural law as according to Darwin living things are motivated by a

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Natural laws overall weaknesses outweigh the strengths however it is a plausible argument
and can be assigned as a guideline as to those who support other religion. It may not be regarded as
the best approach to moral decision making but it is a credible argument in the area of moral
decision.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all resources »