Was There Just One Religion?

My origins in religious training came from my birth. My parents had been raised Catholic, and so then, was I. I was baptized and went to a Catholic school for the first five years of my life. I was part of the church all my young life and was even nominated the church "youth" leader my Jr. and Senior year of High School. I was a practicing Catholic until the age of 32 years old, and then I stopped going to church.  
Why did I stop going to church, you may ask? Why would I have spent the majority of my life with one religion and then stop? Well, I can share with you that it was not a decision I was planning to make. I was always a curious person, and I have lots of questions about things I'm interested in or things that I'm a participant of. If you read my blogs, you'll see, I question everything and everyone. I do this not because I enjoy being provocative, but because I've found that most people don't have all the information or only choose to share a small amount of it. So, I look at this as an opportunity to investigate and determine for myself if I want to continue being a part of something or not.  
In this case, I'm talking about the Catholic religion and the rules I grew up with to be a part of this group. The first rule I learned was that I was born a sinner. I needed to be Baptized, to get into heaven. As I got older, I was able to participate in social activities at the church, and my parents were responsible for creating and directing a summer festival play and fundraiser. My family was very active and supportive of fundraising and church events. That was until my parents decided to divorce, and I found out that this was another rule that you could not break. At the time of the divorce, my father talked to the Monsenior and asked that he still be able to participate in the church. The rule was you needed an annulment — or a church decree that their first marriage was invalid (see this article on Henery VIII). If you don't get this done, you are considered an adulterer and cannot receive Communion or be a part of the church community. The annulment came at a monetary cost too. My father was struggling financially at the time and couldn't come up with the funds required and asked the Monsenior for an opportunity to work off the costs of doing things for the church. The Monsenior declined my father's request, and he was no longer welcome to be part of the church. That was the last time my father went to or talked about the Catholic church after 55 years of service.
I was twenty years old at the time, and that news surprised me, especially given all the work and support my family had provided over the years. It still didn't deter me from my faith, but it did give me a sour taste about the state of the church rules. I also started to ask why these rules existed. Again see the real reason behind annulments/divorce.  
As I got older, I saw more and more restrictions on people and how they fit or don't fit into this religion. Simultaneously, I was learning about other groups that separated from the church and started creating their churches based on their ideas of Christianity. I also learned about other religions, like Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam. I was beginning to see that all religions have their rules and specific guidelines like one God, the only God, no God, prayer, meditation, and repenting of your sins. I began to notice that the idea of compassion was the one common sentiment they all shared. As I started to read more, I saw that compassion and acceptance were part of all the religion's core beliefs.
As I continued to learn about these different religions, I saw a shift toward spirituality. I was finding out about more ancient teachings of the earth's natural healing properties, crystals, and reiki energy. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to connecting to one's idea of a higher source or God. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. I was interested in understanding who started this movement, and where did this information originate?  
Enter Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian channel, who was born in 1831 and created the spiritual movement of the next century. She and  Henry Steel Olcott co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875, in New York City. the term, Theosophical came from the Greek Theos ("god(s)") and Sophia ("wisdom"), thus meaning "god-wisdom," "divine wisdom," or "wisdom of God."  
Many believe that all religions came from a focal point of theology, and based on human instinct and preference, multiple religions developed from this core belief. Again, look at the number of different religions in the world today. The theosophical society picks up and supports this theme. Their contention is your beliefs should be the result of your own individual study, experience, and insight, rather than reliance on dogma. They see individual religions as an expression of Divine Wisdom, adapted to the needs of a particular time and place. Theosophy regards the universe as alive and interrelated, with a form of intelligent order guiding the cyclical evolution of all life. They support the right of individual freedom of thought for every person, and no doctrine is in any way binding on any member of the Society. Its development is there to support the individual's free will to achieve oneness with the universal energy (God) or whatever name you want to identify your higher power.
I offer you this insight for one reason, to know that there may be more to search for in your pursuit of the truth. It is now up to you to find the information that resonates with you most. There is no such thing as absolute truth. Each one of us is, endowed with individual perceptions
of what is real. You have the power to create that which you want. Don't be afraid to find out what it is you most desire.

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