Natural Law: The Moral Foundation for Social and Political Civility

Natural Law: The Moral Foundation for Social and Political Civility by Jefrey D. Breshears

Title: Natural Law: The Moral Foundation for Social and Political Civility
Author: Jefrey D. Breshears
ISBN10: 098306802X
ISBN13: 978-0983068020
Publisher: Areopagus, The (August 8, 2012)
Language: English
Subcategory: Philosophy
Size PDF: 1870 kb
Size Fb2: 1687 kb
Rating: 3.5/5
Votes: 454
Pages: 54 pages
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Natural Law: The Moral Foundation for Social and Political Civility by Jefrey D. Breshears


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The America of the past is fading fast. A culture war that was simmering mostly beneath the surface for generations has erupted in the past several decades into a raging conflict that pits starkly contrasting (and often irreconcilable) worldviews, ideologies, and value systems against one another. The effects of the culture war are apparent as our society and institutions are becoming increasingly polarized and dysfunctional – which is why our political leaders seem so incapable of handling even the most obvious problems. There is political gridlock in Washington, D.C. because there is moral and cultural gridlock in American society in general. This being the case, is there any common ground between social conservatives and liberals when it comes to accepting a baseline for morality, ethics, and civility? In fact there is, and it derives from a universal truth that was generally acknowledged and accepted until recent times – the concept of Natural Law. All societies would be better if they were regulated by Biblical principles. But mainstream society is not Christian, and as Christians we cannot and should not attempt to impose specifically Christian values on nonbelievers. To do so, we would need to utilize the coercive power of the state to force compliance, which would be not only futile but generally counterproductive. It would also violate the spirit of the Gospel. The best that can be expected of any free society is a general recognition of the basic precepts of Natural Law. Anything else – whether it relates to Christian sexual morality, biblical principles of social justice, or any other explicitly Christian values and behavior – should be proclaimed and practiced by the community of Christ but cannot and should not be forced on others. A culture based on Natural Law would insist upon an elementary level of common decency and civility conducive to the flourishing of both individual civil liberties and the general welfare of society as a whole. It would be a social and political environment dedicated to cultivating harmony, fairness, equal opportunity, true social justice, and the rule of law for everyone. While it wouldn’t be utopia – no human society will ever approach perfection – it would be considerably more wholesome and healthy than our present society and culture. In addition to highlighting the historical development of Natural Law theory from Aristotle to Martin Luther King Jr. and Clarence Thomas, this study also includes an essay on Natural Law and Just War Theory.