Sometime we are so blind inside our ‘exclusivity’ attitude (my way is the only way) that we forget some very basic truth of our reality of human existence.
First. we didn’t decide to be born as how we are. (those who wish to argue on this point, coming up with some theological / mystical concept, saying that ‘no, according to X tradition or Y teaching, its believed that we consciously chose to be born how we are born’ – no matter how pleasing its to hear, lets say to them, ‘show me a person who remember choosing that’, and they will fail that test). At least I have not come across a human being who could remember from pre-eternity that he or she decided to be born as human being having so and so as parents, choosing the land and religion and was sent according to that desire.’ Even if we did, some kind of strange amnesia has made us oblivious to that.
The naked truth is that we didn’t chose our being male or female, we didn’t chose our parents, our geography where we were born, our skin color, nor do we choose our faith. For majority of humanity, its the religion of our parents or the land that we adopt, or take as our ‘own’ religion / faith / beliefs. Understanding this wisdom can help us greatly in preventing religious bigotry which is such a huge problem of our time. While its true that majority follow the faith of their land or parents, lets not forget that there is also a very rare band of sincere seekers of truth would leave that comfort zone of parental belief (and also self created idol of beliefs in personal space that make one very rigid and unaccepting) in search of essential and higher truth (that number is growing though, but still compared to the mass its still a very very insignificant number).
At any moment when we boast of our religious identity, our faith, God smiles at our vanity of trying to establish our right about something which is not even our making. God smiles at our ignorant arrogance because for it was His choosing in the first place and secondly by becoming arrogant of the appointed destiny we create further separation between us and our true nature. God Who’s all Encompassing knowledge stop not at our outer appearances but sees through our inner heart’s sincerity in any devotion we do, whether we bow down on the prayer mat as a muslim or offer a flower in the early dawn to an icon who bring remembrance of the divine, like a daoist. Yes certain religions are losing its essence, the actual teachings are long lost and have lost their pure capacity to guide humanity, still we can not condemn a single sincere devotee, because only the One who sent him or her in that tradition has the right to judge the sincerity of their devotion, rituals and worshipful sacrifice.