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“Stages of Dependence”
Here are the stages of my relationship with religion. I compare it to my relationship with my parents.
1. Dependence: As children we’re dependent on our parents. We need them. They provide everything. They shape our worldview. The same with religion. We’re dependent on it. It nurtures us and shapes our worldview.
2. Codependence: This is adolescence. We test our boundaries and our parents’ control. We’re stuck between needing our parents and wishing we didn’t. They assume control but our rebellion makes tension. Same with religion: it tries to control us but we test it.
3. Independence: This is adulthood. We leave home. We’re on our own. We like it. We presume this is our life now. We start to explore life and ideas outside of our religion. We discover we don’t need religion in the same way. It assumes we should do everything it says but we question it.
4. Interdependence: We are independent and separate from our parents, but now we learn how to be with them as peers. The relationship matures. It takes both sides for this to happen well. But if we work at it we can learn to be independent but in a mutually respectful relationship.
We struggled with our parents yet grow to not hate them. We may have had nasty experiences with religion but not hate it. We may see its value and its place in our lives. Or not! We appreciate it for what it is, but we’ll never again let it control us or negatively affect our lives because we’ve grown up.
We’re adults now.
We’re spiritually independent.