I may be ranting, but let me give you an example to make my point clearer. I believe in God, but not in the insane and illogical separation of the castes that some of my co-religionists like to label as shaastra (religious edict). I believe in the power of the almighty to give me the strength to overcome problems but not in going to a temple on a specified day of the week to prove my faith in Him. I frankly think that rituals and rites make religion more difficult to practise for the common man and that we would all be better off without them. Does that make me a heretic? If it does, then why am I never asked to prove my faith in the religion before I enter the temple premises? Does my brown skin and typical "Brahmin looks" (Don't ask me what that is; I have no idea) guarantee my religion? Why do temple authorities insist on getting a certificate from random official if I want to take a white foreigner into the temple? What if the said foreigner is not related to me but still is a Hindu? How exactly does one prove one is a Hindu? Are we going to hold a exam to determine his/her religion? If so, I can guarantee most brown-skinned "Hindus" would fail the test. I find this attitude appalling. Just who is a temple official, appointed to ensure maintenance of the temple premises, to determine my religion? What gives him/her the authority to pronounce a judgement on my religious beliefs? To be brutally honest, it is none of his business. He doesn't have the right to say whether person X or Y is a Hindu or not.
To go back to the basics, no Hindu religious text worth its salt prescribes the rituals that must be carried out to become a "good Hindu". In other words, there is no such thing as a good Hindu. I spent 14 years of my life in a Hindu religious school and I retained only this. In verse 66 of the 18th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says,
"Sarva Dharmaan Parityajya maamekam sharanam vraja,Translated, this means,
aham tvaa sarvaa paapebhyaha mokshayishyaami maa shuchaha."
"Relinquishing all ideas of righteousness, surrender unto Me,If a person decides to surrender unto that God almighty and decides to visit a temple for whatever reason, who is a random officer to deny him/her that right? Why do we assume we know what God wants and needs? If he is really omnipotent and omniscient, is he not capable of deciding who is a true believer and who is a mere tourist? We are not the custodians of Hinduism. Nor are the temple authorities. It is time they stopped throwing their weight around and harassing people who really want to learn something from visiting a temple. It is true that I find myself unable to defend my thesis that Hinduism is all-embracing when faced with such behaviour. But, I stand by my thesis. After all, we only believe what we choose to believe.
I will deliver you from all sinful reactions, do not despair."
(Taken from http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-18-62.html)