Human beings undeniably discuss engage in discussions about ethics and morality on a daily basis, often without even realising it. From something trivial, like whether or not it’s ‘right’ to borrow your friend’s pen without asking, to passing moral judgement on those we see accused of horrific crimes like murder or assault, we cannot avoid the topic of morality. It does however beg the question: do these conversations have any real meaning behind them? Or are we simply expressing emotion that adds absolutely nothing to the objective narrative of events? Is it at all possible for something to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?
Natural Moral Law is an ethical theory established by Aristotle and further developed by St Thomas Aquinas. Natural Law essentially states humans are able to deduce what is right and wrong by looking at nature, this being the one moral code universally applicable. This theory is absolutist, unchanging and deontological. While natural law is consistent with Christian schools of thought and teachings found in scripture, it is fundamentally a theory rooted in the belief that morality comes from human reasoning and is not therefore inherently Christian.
Nihilism, according to the oxford dictionary is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless, which, strictly speaking, does sound quite despairing. Yet however hopeless the Oxford dictionary would have us think it is, nihilism can allow, perhaps surprisingly, room for personal, moral and spiritual growth.
When discussing a topic such as life after death and the nature of the soul (or whether it even exists), it is important to consider and question the nature of the relationship between body and soul: whether they are two completely separate entities, which we call the theory of substance dualism, intrinsically linked but still different (monism) or one entity (materialism). The qualities a soul possesses in relation to the body leads philosophers to come to various different conclusions about whether or not it can be considered immortal, as well as how that could be justified using scripture or logic.
“My generation was shaped by change and uncertainty. I do not have much memory of a sustained time of stability… We take nothing for granted.” – Kelsy Hillesheim, 22