Stages of Dependence

"Mind of his Own" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“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. It shapes our worldview.

2. Codependence: This comes at adolescence. We test our boundaries and our parents’ control. We’re stuck between needing our parents and not wanting to. They assume control, but our rebellion creates tension. Same with religion. It thinks it controls us, but we test it.

3. Independence: This came when we become adults. We leave home. We’re on our own, we like it, and presume life will look like this. It’s around this time we explore life and ideas outside of our religion. We discover we don’t need religion in the same way. It may assume 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 ourselves. 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 may have 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 can appreciate it for what it is, but now we’ll never let it control us again or negatively affect our lives because we’ve grown up.

We’re adults now.

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