Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why Mothers Abort: Moral Development & Reasoning

Where do human beings get moral reasoning? How do they learn to care for people beyond themselves and the individuals in their family or other loved ones? Where does empathy for others come from and how can it be developed in selfish individuals? Even secular psychologists are trying to figure this out.

Over four abortion sessions at Orlando Women's Center we meet 80-100 aborting women and men each week. This means we speak to 4000-5000 people who are aborting babies every year. We have been ministering faithfully for almost two decades. We do not weed out the ones who have gone to a pregnancy center for counseling. We do not discriminate and only speak to the women who will experience 'regret' after murdering their baby. We simply meet ALL aborting women and men on any given day of ministry. Since half of the mothers who are murdering their babies have killed a baby before, we engage thousands of post-abortive women every year as well. Our experience with the people who are actually committing abortions allows us to study the actual group of human beings who are willing to murder babies. This is very significant because our base of information is not a skewed group (such as those with whom post-abortion 'healing' ministries are interacting). We are simply meeting women and men who have pre-arranged to kill babies.

As Christians our presupposition of why women murder their infants comes from an objective source of truth: The Holy Bible. God inspired men to put pen to paper and write the scriptures. God is the One who created human beings, including the women (and men) who murder babies. The Word of God teaches us that the primary reason that mothers murder their babies is because their “heart is deceitful above all things & desperately wicked ..." (Jeremiah 17:9) In spite of the fact that each of the abortion-bound women are offered our personal help through pregnancy and given information on how they can personally choose a loving adoptive couple to raise their baby, the vast majority of mothers will still murder their baby. We provide compelling information regarding adoption to every single abortion-bound mom. While abortion costs the aborting mother anywhere from $300-$12,000 ( at Orlando Women’s Center, adoption is FREE for the birth mother. Adoption-minded mothers may even qualify to receive financial assistance with their living and medical expenses.

We understand, through the teachings of the Bible, that it is the sin nature of the mother (an evil heart) that is the most powerful and noxious influence in her decision to have her baby murdered. The woman’s immorality and lack of compassion and empathy for her innocent son or daughter is the driving force & primary cause of the abortion. God reveals to us that an abortive mother’s greatest problem is the problem of her heart: “For out of the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications ..." Matthew 15:19

Secular psychologists have been trying to understand how human beings develop moral reasoning. Having specialized in research on moral education and reasoning, Lawrence Kohlberg created a new field within psychology called: "moral development". His theory on the stages of moral development are so interesting that I have posted excerpts from Wikipedia below. Even the humanistic, man-centered social scientists are baffled by the self-centered wickedness of the human heart.

As you read Kohlberg’s outline, I would like you to consider the role of the church and the Christian in helping to develop biblical morality (which is TRUE morality) and a sense of compassion and empathy for infants in the womb. Only the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ can remedy the awful reality of the aborting mother’s internal corruption that leads her to deny the very right for her own baby to live in order that she may do what most pleases her own selfish, sinful interests. How are we to help aborting and post-abortive women (and men) to get beyond acting out of self-interest and to go beyond a child’s self-centered, self-indulgent, egocentric morality? What does God teach us to do to address the conscience (the seat of the knowledge of right and wrong) within the individual aborting and post-abortive mother? It is my contention that modern Christendom and much of crisis pregnancy and post-abortion ministry promotes a shallow, childish, selfish, self-interest driven, ‘me and mine’ mentality and witholds the ONE THING that can free sinful women and men from the tyranny of SELF: the Law of God and the gospel call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This intentional failure to share a biblical gospel, from the pulpit and beyond, is what the Bible identifies as ‘suppressing the truth in unrighteousness’ and it began in the Garden when the serpent questioned God’s holy right to rule Adam and Eve. The result? SIN and subsequent MURDER in the very first human family!

For a biblical teaching on sharing the gospel of life & eternity (evangelism) please listen to:
I highly recommend that you print up the study sheets that go with these teachings. Fill them out as you listen to the messages.

Patte Smith
Sanctuary Ministries

Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development/moral reasoning

Kohlberg's six stages can be more generally grouped into three levels of two stages each: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional. Following Piaget's constructivist requirements for a stage model, as described in his theory of cognitive development, it is extremely rare to regress backward in stages—to lose the use of higher stage abilities. Stages cannot be skipped; each provides a new and necessary perspective, more comprehensive and differentiated than its predecessors but integrated with them.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)
1. Obedience and punishment orientation
(How can I avoid punishment?)
2. Self-interest orientation
(What's in it for me?)

Level 2 (Conventional)
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
(Social norms)
(The good boy/good girl attitude)
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
(Law and order morality)

Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles
(Principled conscience)

The pre-conventional level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development, and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner.

In Stage one (obedience and punishment driven), individuals focus on the direct consequences of their actions on themselves. For example, an action is perceived as morally wrong because the perpetrator is punished. "The last time I did that I got spanked so I will not do it again." The worse the punishment for the act is, the more "bad" the act is perceived to be. This can give rise to an inference that even innocent victims are guilty in proportion to their suffering. It is "egocentric", lacking recognition that others' points of view are different from one's own. There is "deference to superior power or prestige".

Stage two (self-interest driven) espouses the "what's in it for me" position, in which right behavior is defined by whatever is in the individual's best interest. Stage two reasoning shows a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to a point where it might further the individual's own interests. As a result, concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect, but rather a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" mentality.The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual's own needs or interests. For the stage two theorist, the world's perspective is often seen as morally relative.

The conventional level of moral reasoning is typical of adolescents and adults. Those who reason in a conventional way judge the morality of actions by comparing them to society's views and expectations. The conventional level consists of the third and fourth stages of moral development.

In Stage three (interpersonal accord and conformity driven), the self enters society by filling social roles. Individuals are receptive to approval or disapproval from others as it reflects society's accordance with the perceived role. They try to be a "good boy" or "good girl" to live up to these expectations, having learned that there is inherent value in doing so. Stage three reasoning may judge the morality of an action by evaluating its consequences in terms of a person's relationships, which now begin to include things like respect, gratitude and the "golden rule". "I want to be liked and thought well of; apparently, not being naughty makes people like me." Desire to maintain rules and authority exists only to further support these social roles. The intentions of actions play a more significant role in reasoning at this stage; "they mean well ...".

In Stage four (authority and social order obedience driven), it is important to obey laws, dictums and social conventions because of their importance in maintaining a functioning society. Moral reasoning in stage four is thus beyond the need for individual approval exhibited in stage three; society must learn to transcend individual needs. A central ideal or ideals often prescribe what is right and wrong, such as in the case of fundamentalism. If one person violates a law, perhaps everyone would—thus there is an obligation and a duty to uphold laws and rules. When someone does violate a law, it is morally wrong; culpability is thus a significant factor in this stage as it separates the bad domains from the good ones. Most active members of society remain at stage four, where morality is still predominantly dictated by an outside force.

The post-conventional level, also known as the principled level, consists of stages five and six of moral development. There is a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individual's own perspective may take precedence over society's view. Because of this level's "nature of self before others", the behavior of post-conventional individuals, especially those at stage 6, can be confused with that of those at the pre-conventional level.[

In Stage five (social contract driven), individuals are viewed as holding different opinions and values. Similarly, laws are regarded as social contracts rather than rigid dictums. Those which do not promote the general welfare should be changed when necessary to meet "the greatest good for the greatest number of people". This is achieved through majority decision, and inevitable compromise. Thus democratic government is ostensibly based on stage five reasoning.

In Stage six (universal ethical principles driven), moral reasoning is based on abstract reasoning using universal ethical principles. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice, and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. Rights are unnecessary, as social contracts are not essential for deontic moral action. Decisions are not reached hypothetically in a conditional way but rather categorically in an absolute way, as in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This involves an individual imagining what they would do in another's shoes, if they believed what that other person imagines to be true. The resulting consensus is the action taken. In this way action is never a means but always an end in itself; the individual acts because it is right, and not because it is instrumental, expected, legal, or previously agreed upon. Although Kohlberg insisted that stage six exists, he found it difficult to identify individuals who consistently operated at that level.

Further stages
In Kohlberg's empirical studies of individuals throughout their life Kohlberg observed that some had apparently undergone moral stage regression. Faced with the option of either conceding that moral regression could occur or revising his theory, Kohlberg chose the latter, postulating the existence of sub-stages in which the emerging stage has not yet been fully integrated into the personality. In particular Kohlberg noted a stage 4½ or 4+, a transition from stage four to stage five, that shared characteristics of both. In this stage the individual is disaffected with the arbitrary nature of law and order reasoning; culpability is frequently turned from being defined by society to viewing society itself as culpable. This stage is often mistaken for the moral relativism of stage two, as the individual views those interests of society which conflict with their own as being relatively and morally wrong.Kohlberg noted that this was often observed in students entering college.

Kohlberg suggested that there may be a seventh stage—Transcendental Morality, or Morality of Cosmic Orientation—which linked religion with moral reasoning. Kohlberg's difficulties in obtaining empirical evidence for even a sixth stage, however, led him to emphasize the speculative nature of his seventh stage.'s_stages_of_moral_development

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