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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/ummwhy-not-give-up-the-deception-you-are-not-30294584.aspx

Subject:  Re: Cardinal Carlo Martini Date:  10/2/2012  9:42 AM
Author:  Wradical Number:  183106 of 196368

(Umm:)Why not give up the deception? You are not fooling anyone. Everyone sees through it. Stop calling it Natural Law and call it what it really is: Norm's Law. After all, it applies only when you want it to and only in the manner you want it to.

Once you call it by it's proper name you will realize just how subjective it really is.

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Well, I'm Catholic, too, and I DO believe that there is such a thing as natural law, and that the Catholic Church bases its moral teachings, at least in part, on it. But that only works in terms of broad concepts. Prohibitions against killing or harming others, stealing, lying, etc. - these are found in all cultures, and in all religions. That's natural law, in its essence. Some here have said that's just morality based on common sense.
Fine. A rose by another name.

Where the Catholic Church has lost credibility is:
1. In setting itself up as the arbiter of what natural law really is. This worked better in pre-Reformation Europe, where it had no competing churches to keep it honest.
2. In claiming to apply the concepts to the most detailed, legalistic rules. Not just the broad concept stuff.
3. And by logical extension, by claiming that since natural law applies to everyone, not just Catholics, the Church's teaching were, therefore, binding on everyone.

And my recollection of Catholic teaching of morality (bad old days, Pre-Vatican II, Baltimore Catechism) was that it was EXTREMELY subjective, even back then. There exceptions to every rule, and exceptions to the exceptions. Every act, moral or immoral, depended on the circumstances and the context.

Now some would say that the Ten Commandments are a close approximation of natural law. And I'd agree. But the ancient Jews didn't see it that way. They thought of the commandments as divine revelation, and their law as superior to all other nations. After all, Plato and Aristotle weren't there yet.

And claiming that natural laws applies in terms of detailed situations just doesn't work very well. And other than rape and adultery, it isn't very useful in the area of sexuality. Birth control, for example. Most rational, logical people would agree that practicing birth control is the responsible thing to do, at least some of the time. And so the Church's teaching fails the test of natural law by its own definition.
In past centuries the risk of pointing this out was being burned at the stake.

Today, the Church's risk is that Catholics do think for themselves, whether allowed to or not. And when they see the Church's teachings as absurd, they'll just ignore it. And the Church itself becomes less relevant.

Bill
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