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This, indeed, follows as a necessary consequence from the Church's teaching as to the nature of morality.She admits that the moral law is knowable to reason : for the due regulation of our free actions, in which morality consists, is simply their right ordering with a view to the perfecting of our rational nature.But she insists that the law has its ultimate obligation in the will of the Creator by whom our nature was fashioned, and who imposes on us its right ordering as a duty ; and that its ultimate sanction is the loss of God which its violation must entail.Further, among the duties which the moral law prescribes are some which are directly concerned with God Himself, and as such are of supreme importance.It may be defined as human conduct in so far as it is freely subordinated to the ideal of what is right and fitting.
Moreover, in this connection the Church insists upon the doctrine of original sin.
Thus the Greeks of classical times were in moral questions influenced rather by non-religious conceptions such as that of aidos (natural shame) than by fear of the gods; while one great religious system, namely Buddhism, explicitly taught the entire independence of the moral code from any belief in God.
To these arguments we reply, first: that the savages of today are not primitives, but degenerates.
Though they may not have realized that the laws prescribed by natural shame were derived from a divine command, they most certainly believed that their violation would be punished by the gods.
As to Buddhist belief, a distinction must be drawn between the metaphysical teaching of the Buddha or of some of his disciples, and the practical interpretation of that teaching as expressed in the lives of the great mass of the adherents of the creed.