“Natural law is the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships.” Discuss. (35 marks)
When either evaluating or disusing this statement we must first consider the main teachings of natural law. For instance; natural law focuses very much on the purpose the potential and the actuality of things and events. It also talks of and attributes these three things to human beings in particular natural looks at the purpose of human beings. Natural contains two types of precepts, one being primary precepts, these are in natural law precepts in which are always true and they are the fundamental principles of natural law and there are five primary precepts including; the preservation of life, reproduction, education of the young, living peacefully in society and worship god. The second type of precepts are the secondary precepts these are worked out from the primary precepts and are hence dependent of our own judgements and therefore clearly differ from the primary precepts.
Natural law is an absolute law, in which is true on all situations and times. Natural law is a deontological, in other words a ethical system in which considers that the moral act itself has moral value, for instance telling the truth is always right even when it might cause pain or harm. Although Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is given the name as the founder of natural law, natural law owes lots of its existence to Aristotle (384-BCE). As for it was Aristotle who originally had the idea that people like every other natural objects have specific nature purpose and function and then later Aquinas linked these ideas with that of the teachings of the Catholic church. Even still to this day natural law is a basic for Roman Catholic teachings and beliefs.
When dealing with the idea of judgements relating to sex and relationships there is many points which need to be given consideration. For instance sexual morality, so here we shall consider how we should all show concern to good and bad in relation to sexual relations. For instance we must consider the following; sex as procreative, sex within marriage and premarital sex, homosexuality and contraception. All of which are ideas and elements in which have to be taken account for, especially when making judgements about sex and relationships.
Sex as procreation, is something in which is a very historical view of sex. Sex as procreation is the exact feeling in which natural law has towards sex and relationships as; the purpose of sex according to natural law is to procreate.
Natural law believes very strongly also in the idea of sex before marriage, as natural law states that in order for a couple to have sex with one another they must first be married this is also what is believed in the terms of the catholic church. As we can see here again how natural law is in fact the bases for so many of the catholic churches ideas beliefs and teachings.
As natural agrees and states that people should be in a marriage before having sex, this forms the idea that natural law does not agree with the suggestion or the act of premarital sex.
Homosexuality is another issue in which is nearly always raised within the topic of sex and relationships. As natural law’s perspectives are very similar to that of the Roman Catholic churches, we can state that the view in which these both hold is that one in which states that to have sexual inclinations towards someone of your sex is not a sin but to act on these inclinations would be wrong. Within natural there is also the main statement in which says that sex has to be done in order to create a child. So although sex is said to be allowed to be for pleasurable, the main purpose always has to be an intention to have a baby from it. Hence homosexual couples will not follow this rule when having sex with one another as for this impossible for them and hence natural law is against same couple sex as this can never result in the birth of a baby.
Contraception is a very controversial topic. Natural law is against the fundamental principle of contraception (stopping a child being conceived). Contraception quite simply goes against one of natural law’s five principles; reproduction, therefore natural law is against any form of contraception, so too is the Catholic Church. Natural law believes that we should not have the power as humans to interfere with Gods work and as child and babies are his work for us to use contraception we would be interfering with his work, hence why contraception is not something in which natural law agrees with.
There are many reasons and examples as to why some may see natural law as the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships. For instance it is universal, so applies in all situations and there can be no misunderstandings or wrong interpretations along the way as this is a universal clear cut approach.
Some will also argue that this is a god given approach as the statements in which have become the rule and teachings/beliefs of natural law often come from the bible also not forgetting that natural law has very strong religious ties with the catholic church and hence many will argue that the fact that natural law is a god given approach, in many people’s eyes, will mean that for many this makes it the best approach. Another reason as to why natural law is the best approach is because it does have very strong beliefs as to when it comes to relationships and these strong views in some people’s minds mean that it is a reliable and good approach to use when in the dilemma of relationship questions.
However this may not be the case for everyone, as some will see natural law as out of date in general and this aspect of being out of date shines through for lots of people in the views in which natural law shows towards sex and relationships. For example; of sex before marriage being one of these views. For some this idea in which natural law is out of date will mean that for them natural law really isn’t the best approach especially when making judgements about sex and relationships. Also, we must consider here that natural may also for many seem inflexible.
Back to the point made earlier which is that natural law is absolute law, in which is true on all situations and times. Although for many this is the exact reason or one of them for why the like natural law this is also for many a negative point of natural law. As it means that natural law is inflexible, and hence some might argue that natural law being inflexible means that it is not the best approach to use, especially in this situation when we are dealing with a the sensitive topic of sex and relationships.
In a question like this one we must make sure that we have a clear cut idea of what all the words mean to make sure that everyone is really making the best judgements about whether or not natural law is the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships. In this question the word in which we need to make sure we have to know what we mean by it is, reliable. To me reliable means that we can trust it, for an approach to be seemed as reliable, to me that means that we can trust all of what the approach has to say on the topic in which it has been said to have been reliable when making judgements on. Reliable in this context I think can also be associated with being fair and a view in which we can all take and all be happy taking.
This theory may seem reliable I believe from the perspective of someone who is religious and especially catholic and the views are very similar. This approach may also seem reliable to a person with the perspective that there should be set rules in life and that life is very clean cut and black and white. Someone with the perspective that life needs set rules and regulations and that these rules and regulations should be fixed and set and little of any flexibility.
However, this theory may seem not reliable to those who believe that there can’t be absolutes in terms of personal relationships. For instance these people who think like this may argue, are there really absolutes when it comes to personal relationships? As we all know that no relationship is ever the same as no person is ever the same and hence these people may well argue that for such reasons like these that there just can’t be absolutes in situations really involving people and emotions, in which are both a big part of the topic situation e.g. relationships. However, some who believe strongly in natural law will disagree, no doubt and will argue that there can be absolutes in terms of personal relationships and they may argue that everything in life can have and should have absolutes. And one rule in which applies in one aspect of life and surely then be applied to all aspects of life.
Those who argue that there can’t really be absolutes in terms of personal relationships might say that other theories due to this are more reliable. For instance, they might put forward Kant or utilitarianism as being more reliable. This could be because they are seen as being more flexible theories. Especially utilitarianism, as utilitarianism is a teleological theory, one in which argues that moral actions are right or wrong depending on their out as opposed to natural law which is not a teleological theory and is a deontological theory instead therefore is a theory in which is not very flexible and is a theory which is based on moral rules and whether action itself is right or wrong.
To conclude, “Natural law is the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships”, is a statement in which really depends on your personal views.