Muslims view man as an Abdulah – a slave of Allah – without a will of his own. This view relegates man to a tool of a great supernatural power, to be used by that power to extend its slavery over all mankind. The duty of man, therefore, is only to submit to the will of Allah.
Buddhists view man as a pilgrim, evolving through multiple lives toward some distant nirvana. In this view, man is a drifter, without any direct connection to God (if there even is one), and his duty is to renounce the pleasures of this world in order to advance his evolution and to escape from the suffering of this world.
The secular view of man is as a rather clever animal whose sky scrapers and space craft differ form the wasp's paper nest only in the degree of ingenuity endemic to the two species. In this view, God is non-existent or irrelevant, and man is the master of his own fate, free to do whatever he pleases within the constraints of nature and the other members of his own species.
As an engineer, I might be expected to adhere to the last viewpoint. Actually, however, that would not be consistent with the basic principles of engineering. The first thing an engineer asks himself when confronted with a problem is, "What do I know about this?" So, what do we know about the nature and condition of man?
There is no doubt that man is an animal and that he has achieved his present status through evolution from earlier species. The evidence, not only in the rocks, but in our DNA is irrefutable. But does man have another, transcendent nature?
This is what we know. We know that humans experience life after death. We know this because people have died and revived, and they have told us about their experiences. So-called "near death" experiences were probably the basis on which all religions were founded. The universal religious belief in life after death is substantiated by the inclusion in ancient burial sites of cooking utensils and weapons for the use of the diseased in the next life.
We know that we are born again into a new body after death. We know this because, very rarely, people have recalled indisputably accurate details from previous lives. There is further evidence from hypnotic age regression experiments to support reincarnation, e.g. Morey Bernstein's "The Search for Bridey Murphy.
As an engineer, I am eternally aware that my information about the immutable structure of reality is still evolving, but from what I know now, there is a part of man that survives the death of the body and that is reincarnated in another body. This process does not require an intelligence to direct it. And that's all I know.
Religions are an Aristotelian attempt to explain these two facts and a Machiavellian attempt to use those facts to mold a population into conformance with a given society. Hence their wide diversity.