We were off the net for a week. A combination of personal disasters plus an extra heavy workload was the cause. But we’re back just in time for a comment on Pope Benedict’s pronouncement on natural law. He said last week that natural law must be the foundation of democracy, so that those in power are not given the chance to determine what is good or evil. What he means is that natural law spells out what is good and evil and that governments should just accept that.
We basically agree. But, and there is a big but. It cannot be left to the Church alone to set out the contents of natural law. When the Pope says that natural law is written in the hearts of men, we agree. However, the hearts of men come in various shapes and sizes. They have a great number of features in common, but they also differ. That’s why the Pope should not start believing that natural law is only written in Catholic hearts as interpreted by the Pope himself.
Nevertheless, the Pope has a very valid point
Natural law is indeed written in the human heart. And it does indeed supersede the law as written on paper. However, as this heart-law is difficult to interpret and as there should be some consistency in interpreting it, people began to write down what they believed heart-law entailed. Thus the Ten Commandments were set out in writing. Christ replaced these with his only one commandment that we should love another as he had loved us.
Other religions did the same thing. The Koran, the Vedas, the Gita, the Buddhist writings, all codify the law of the heart. Undoubtedly these codices were inspired by the super-consciousness, ordinarily known as God. And indeed the conclusions in all these religious texts are very similar. As said, the hearts of people have a great many features in common. Nevertheless, there are differences. So natural law does differ from country to country and from religion to religion.
A conference of all religions on natural law
So, what the Pope should do, is call a conference. Call up expert representatives of all religions and debate the issue, until everybody goes home satisfied that they have codified the universal law of the hearts of all mankind. This should be compared to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and any differences or hiatuses should be pointed out. This is the only way the world will be able to know what the law of the human heart really entails.
We predict that it will be found that the law of the heart (the natural law) has been pretty accurately codified already in the Universal Declaration. However, this declaration has been found lacking in that the universal obligations are not mentioned therein. These were codified in 1997 (on an interfaith basis) in the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities. (We have posted this document on this site under the button ‘Crucial Documents’; please review).
Therefore, we believe that a combination of these two declarations expresses the law of the human heart pretty accurately. Nevertheless, a renewed interfaith conference on the issue of natural law could be very revealing. Assuming that the declarations would be basically endorsed, it would stimulate and strengthen the awareness of a global ethic underlying all religions as codified in these declarations.
Today’s video is a clip of a fiery speaker on the topic mentioned in this article.