Found this great article by the NY Times recently on the value of religion. Although the use-case in this article is the country of Turkey, there are some important lessons for all religious people:
But trying to nurture moral virtues is one thing; assuming that you are already moral and virtuous simply because you identify with a particular religion is another. The latter turns religion into a tool for self-glorification. A religion’s adherents assume themselves to be moral by default, and so they never bother to question themselves. At the same time, they look down on other people as misguided souls, if not wicked infidels.
Even Buddhists are not immune to this, even when we profess the importance of concepts like “no-self” and so on, and it’s not limited to “traditional Buddhists” or “cultural Buddhists” in third-world cultures. People can (and sometimes do) use Buddhism and identity as a Buddhist to look down upon others as ignorant and backwards.
Dogen, the famous Zen master and founder of Soto Zen had the famous quote:
To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.
Either a person is diligently practicing Buddhism, or they’re not. And if they are, there’s no place for pride.