If you draw several timelines covering five thousand years or so, one each for each region of the world, and then map onto them when religions started up, when they were popular, and when they declined, some details become noticeable.
First off, religions start off very small. Initially, there would be a strong spiritual basis, sparked by one person, who provides the Divine love, the energy and any teachings. Matters are kept very simple.
When that person dies or drops their body, that is when others set themselves up above others as the holders of the true message or faith. This when ceremonies are created, ceremonial dress is given importance, and those who set themselves up as priests and priestesses produce their own additions and interpretations to any initial message. They “lead” the followers and often give out rules for living. They become the middlemen that followers have to go through, and the followers no longer have to think for themselves. A religion has been created.
People like ceremonies and routine as it helps them feel safe and comfortable. They are easy to do, and a participant doesn’t have to think to hard. Plus there is a sense of involvement and of being part of something and belonging.
So a group goes from being a small group of people who will have had to change their lives to be part of something new, something that seems radical to the old way, and which will probably be seen as a challenge to that old way. The group members will be made to break habits, to think, to love more, and face challenges.
In fairness, while a religion is active, it is living off the energy provided by the initial progenitor, who is usually an Avatar or Perfect Master, and the energy they provide can last for thousands of years. This means that a person with a spiritual disposition can still make spiritual headway even amidst the ceremonies and trappings, and any dark twists that get added by negative individuals.
The point at the beginning of a religion is spirituality, of increasing the connection with the Divine and soaking up that Divine energy to create growth spiritually in that lifetime and future lifetimes.
I’ve blogged before about dropsouls, about how these are Divine, on the Divine Journeys, and yet unconscious. These come down into the very bottom of creation, develop and move up the planes of consciousness, to become God Realized, and this time, conscious of their Divinity.
These dropsouls are us, and all our younger brothers and sisters in creation. It is Divine energy that gives us a push up (and right thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions).
The last Avatar said he had come to awaken, not teach. That means an opening of the heart, amongst other things, and a direct connection. It makes life a fresh, vital experience, rather than following old, historic rules. Essentially it’s about learning about God by living the life in front of you, rather than looking back in time for rules to feel safe in.
A person doesn’t need middlemen, just the direct connection with the Divine. That and willingness, putting out a request to the Divine, then receiving the input and energy.
Meditation could be a way to do this.