Ethical morals are essential for healthy living. Natural law and virtue ethics are two forms of ethics that society follows in order for them to become better people. Natural law and virtue ethics differ in point of views, but both are successful in explaining the nature of ethics and the requirements of ethics. Natural law in most cases is considered the ethical way to live.
Natural law ethics and virtue ethics differ in point of view for the nature of ethics and the requirements of ethics. Natural law ethics is when rational creatures participate in eternal law. Eternal law is God's plan as only understood by God. The principal of natural law is when people ought to perform those actions that promote the values specified by the natural inclinations of human beings. The four natural inclinations of human beings are life, procreation, sociability, and knowledge. People have these natural inclinations because God put it there. With the inclinations, society is fulfilling the purpose of God. People ought to promote and preserve the value goods. Aristotle believed that virtue ethics were human nature. Virtue ethics is about living a good life, becoming a good person, and showing what kind of person someone is. Virtues lead people to happiness, and they are good traits of characters, and show good qualities of a person. A virtue is also the mean between two vices, the extreme vice and the deficiency vice. This concept is also called the principle of the golden mean. An example of this is the virtue fear. The excess vice is foolhardy while the deficiency vice is cowardly.
Natural law ethics and virtue ethics both are successful in explaining the nature of ethics and the requirements of ethics. Natural law ethics focal point is following what God's plan is. In following what God's plan is, in return everyone will become better people. To do the ethical thing, natural law could be more successful because people are following what God's intentions are rather than following what makes them happy based on the theory of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is about achieving happiness, and to do that a person must achieve the mean between two vices. Sometimes achieving happiness is not always an ethical way. This is why natural law becomes a more logical choice, because the way to achieve happiness is by following what God says. Virtue ethics is also about doing the right thing, but it is focused on becoming happy based on finding the mean of a virtue. Aristotle felt that having good qualities of character would lead people in doing well in life. Aristotle also felt everything in nature has a purpose, his views were respected by natural law followers, but they felt Aristotle was missing an important aspect and that was God. Aristotle denied that God was a necessary part of the picture, in his mind, the world was not religious; it was just a description of how things are.
Natural law ethics is the most successful ethic in explaining how people should live. Virtue ethics also successfully explains how people should live, but natural law followers feel God is the missing ingredient in the virtue ethic belief. People need a purpose to live, following what God says and living the ethical way, is a purpose to live. The big difference between the virtue ethic belief and natural law ethic belief is that in the end a person will be rewarded for living a good life in the natural law belief. Being a good person does indeed make someone live a good life. While living a good ethical life, a person does become happy. Virtue ethics has good reason when discussing the right way to live, but natural law demonstrates that living a life in which God intends us too, will benefit people in the long run.
Natural law and virtue ethics are two ethical ways of living. Natural law and virtue ethics both explain the nature of ethics and the requirements of ethics even though the concepts are discussed in different ways. God being the focus in the natural law philosophy makes natural law the more ethical way to live.