The dogma of most religions tries to create at least a buffer, if not a clear set of rules to follow to help us expediently reach their goals for us. Often rote memorization, promises of good things to come and "rules of engagement" create a predetermined framework for parishioners that allows them to act without any real understanding of why they are doing what they do.
This is all well and good, but I have always needed to know, intellectually, what my intentions are. When I don't really believe that there is a heaven I will go to, that doesn't really work as a goal. Where I do not really care about a bunch of virgins, that won't work either. Nirvana is a nice idea and I do think it can be found now and then in our temporal life, but you can't eat nirvana.
All the same, in the end, all religions--ALL religions--ALL life perhaps is really only about one thing.. Hidden amidst all the sermons, all the dogma, all do’s and don’ts, and all the preaching and metaphor of every great religion and of everyday living, is one very simple truth. There is only one simple reason for anyone to involve him/herself in any kind of community; only one reason for religion to exist, or for ministers to do what they do, or just for people to do what they do. I am not the first to say it, but here it is.
We have one simple goal, one we can all remember, always—only one reason for any of us to be here: to figure out how to become better people.