So, to Aristotle we turn — to the notion of human flourishing, to the alignment with God’s natural law which will enable the same, and to the virtues which characterise this alignment. So far, so Aquinas.
Reason, Vardy believes (again, invoking Kant), has largely shown us just what this human flourishing is. After all, people from diverse religions and cultures — “Florence Nightingale, Mahatma Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela” — have all discovered “what it is to be a human being at its best” (p.61). We also largely agree on what it means to stunt and oppose human flourishing, an agreement which gives the Nuremberg trials and the international criminal court in The Hague their moral legitimacy.
“Good religion” promotes human flourishing and can be seen “to help people to develop into individuals where compassion, patience, love, pity, the ability to forgive, and absence of anger and humility are all present” (p.68).
Quite what the difference is between “good religion” and secular humanism is not yet clear at this point in Vardy’s book. Next: the danger, according to Vardy, of authority and belonging.