I know I have harped on this issue one too many times in the past... but nothing seems to be enough... everyone seems to have such strong and uncompromising views on the issue, that it is difficult to explain your views....
But reading this article in Livemint really struck a cord... The underlying essence of each and every religion is the same... believe in yourself and have faith in the Almighty (irrespective of how you address your Almighty) and be an honest person... the rest will just follow.... However, more than half the battles in the world seem to be fought over who the true Almighty is. People tend to associate religion with identity, and hence the lack of a firm choice on the first seems to affect the other.
The author Natasha Badhwar rightly points out
"Often a question about identity is spoken as if it is a judgement in itself. Sometimes a question sounds like an accusation. It is fired to prove that any answer you give will be deemed wrong. Others are not necessarily curious about your version of your self. The question is more like an intangible boundary they draw around their own set of beliefs. They are threatened by realities beyond the ones they have allowed themselves to imagine."
I wonder when we will grow up enough to understand that whether I choose to fast during Navratras or Ramzan or Lent will not change the person I am. If only we teach our children just the core values, and leave the rest to their intelligence and choices as they grow up, I am sure this world will be a better place.