Psychology 14

Application of Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development to Christians’ Actions in Emperor Nero’s Heavy Persecution Era Application of Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development to Christians’ Actions in Emperor Nero’s Heavy Persecution Era
In the first century, throw Christians faced heightened persecution from Emperor Nero, which mandated that any person caught practicing Christianity to the lions in Circus Maximus. However, many people did not heed to this order and continued to meet in homes and practice their faith in secret. Conflicting arguments rose on this issue point out that these Christians were making either the right or the wrong person. However, the application of Kohlberg’s six moral stages gives an affirmation as to whether the actions of these Christians were justified or required to be condemned.
Kohlbergs moral stages are applicable in different spheres of life. In explaining the situation facing the Christians, the six stages in all the three levels are used. According to Kohlberg (1984), the first level, known as Preconventional or the premoral is concerned with an individuals’ level of responsiveness to both rules their evaluative labels. It views them in terms of either their pleasant or unpleasant consequences of action. Characteristics of the first stage include obedience and punishment orientation, which major concern is on the objectiveness of the responsibility. With reference to this stage, the Christians disobeyed the law and therefore liable for punishment. The second stage, which Kohlberg described as naively egoistic orientation defines the right action as a parson’s means through which they can personally satisfy their needs as well as that of others. With personal satisfaction being essential in this stage, the actions taken by the Christians were justified.
The second level is defined by conventional or role conformity. In this level, it points out that the moral values guide a person in performing the right role in maintaining the conventional order as well as accomplishing the desire of other people but still maintaining his own right. In this level, the third stage defines the good boy or the good girl orientation, geared towards pleasing other people (Nisha, 2006). There was no need to intentions of the Christians in pleasing Nero and this meant that they were not wrong in their actions. Evaluation of the action taken by an individual is in terms of the personal orientations. The fourth stage, authority and social-order-maintaining orientation, means that the orientation of showing any form of respect to the people as a duty and maintain any form of social order did not justify the actions of these Christians in any way, and thus were supposed to be punished.
The third level, the postconventional or self-accepted moral principles, defines morality in terms of how people conform to its shared rights in addition to sharing the standards and duties of the supreme authority. The fifth stage, contractual or legalistic orientation, is characterized by norms of right and wrong on the face of the law. It gives directives in the event when a conflict arises between an individual and the law, and points out that the law prevails. Thus, in the case of the Christians, they were wrong legally and deserved punishment. The final step define the morality of individual principles of conscience pointing out that action is controlled by internal ideologies that generally put pressure on a person to take the most viable option without reference to the people in the environment (Gibbs, 2003). This justifies the Christians’ actions, and thus cannot be regarded as wrong.
Gibbs, J. C. (2003).nbsp.Moral development and reality: Beyond the theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman. Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Kohlberg, L. (1984).nbsp.Essays on moral development: The psychology of moral development. San Francisco, Calif: Harper amp. Row.
Nisha, M. (2006).nbsp.Milestones of child development. Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.