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Law and Moral Development

Following the work of Jean Piaget, Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg developed his theory of moral development in the 1960s and 70s. In his basic pre-conventional stage, children are mostly concerned with their own ego needs. Those moving forward into the conventional stage are concerned with rules, laws, and other social conventions. In the third stage, post-conventional, people move past self-interest and even beyond social acceptance to become autonomous, principled moral actors. All of which suggests that fixation on codified rules and regulations belies a lesser level of moral development. Rules and laws are proxy measures for good, Godly behavior.
 
And didn’t Jesus suggest as much? He boils the whole Decalogue and the entirety of the Levitical system into an enigmatic one-two punch: loving God and neighbor. 
 
- Mike Tavlund, "The Law of Love: The Ten Commandments As a Way-Station," TheHardestQuestion.com for 3/11/12

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