My work at Valley Hope (an addiction treatment center) re-emphasized for me the importance that just about every spiritual practice has in the lives of some people. One goal of religion is to help people experience transcendence in a way that the rational mind can explain. Different rituals trigger that transcendent awareness for different individuals. It’s also true that, as individuals evolve and their awareness changes, their perspective on rituals evolves as well.
Stage 3 – “Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to religious authority and the development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies. (Wikipedia)
Stage 4 – “Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.(Wikipedia)
Stage 5 – “Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.(Wikipedia)