If the person is a believer then obviously he will practice his religion as told. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense! We are created for a motive and we have to do as we are told. Live life with good deeds and win the afterlife paradise. But this doesn't explain some people's actions, religion shouldn't be blamed for man's flaws.
As a young kid, I was always told (mostly by public influence and such) that I had to be a certain way and do certain things and think in certain manners otherwise the eternity after my life would be spent burning in hell, and this petrified me. Me being male, it was always said to me that I was never to show emotion (what they referred to as "weakness"), and I felt so awful about myself for even thinking I deserved to have feelings back then. I remember vividly all the times I was yelled at for crying, even over something as grievous as the death of a family member. Over time, I became void of emotion, as well as slightly bitter and a bit hidebound, and that was all because I was forced into thinking that I had to please "God" unless I wanted to go to hell. It was especially rough when I started puberty, for then was the time I was told that being gay was weird and different from the norm (though I identify as heterosexual) and my emotions had also began to run rampant the way they do for all adolescents in the beginning phase.
A few years after I started puberty, I freed myself from all those thoughts of having to please a greater force and thought to myself "Why should I spend my time on earth pleasing something that may not even be there while I suffer in my own life being and doing what I'm not?" Luckily, my parents weren't and aren't all that religious, so when I told them I didn't want anything to do with Christianity, they were absolutely fine with it.
As of now, I live a life free of piety and try to make people understand that prejudice does us no good in this world. No matter what your deity or holy scripture dictates, human beings come first. Never should we turn on one another nor hide who we truly are just to fulfill a mere belief that may not have even existed (this isn't intended to insult those who are religious, but rather I am trying to get out there that we all, regardless of religious beliefs, need to treat each other equally with kindness and acceptance).
Religions gives people thousands of contradictory moralities so when they come together they cant get along because they dont know that they are in the wrong so they dont back down or apologize. But being that religion gives you a morality it most certainly makes you do things you would not have done without the religion. So yes it definitely dictates what we do. All christians do things that buddhist dont do and vice versa. It may not dictate all of what you do but a lot of it is dictated by religion.
You follow religon because you know that is the life style best for you. If this is the way you think, then yes, in a positive, and nicer way, it "dictates" your life. But, it is your own choice. I don't think dictate is the best word, but in a cerrain sense, it does.
I am an atheist, so religion does not dictate what I do or how I act. I still have morals and know right from wrong. I do not think that a person needs religion in order to be a good person. In some ways, people who behave on behalf of religion can do some truly terrible things.
In the Bible there is a man that meets three things on the road to Jericho that you will meet on the road of life. Number one, he met the robbers on the road and the robbers pulled him down. Number two, he met religion on the road, and religion passed him by. But then he met the redeemer on the road and the redeemer picked him up, healed his wounds, poured in the oil and wine, and restored his life.
Jesus saves people! :)
I do not follow religion, despite my entire family being devout Christians. Religion is altogether unnecessary. Many Christians I have spoken with have told me that without religion, I cannot have morals. Obviously, this isn't true, as I have the same morals as many people around the world. A God is not required for morals. Morals arise from sympathy, empathy, and the like.
Actions may not always reflect who we are, we will know what's right, but it doesn't feel like a dictatorship. I'm a born against Christian and I can tell you right now it feels more freeing than anything. Knowing that you won't always know the answers makes it okay, knowing that it's in God's hands takes the weight off your shoulders. Should we sin and not take responsibility for actions because we know God will forgive us? Of course not! But it's not about a moral code, and if it is, you're more in a cult. The word religion should be demolished because no one fully understands it and it has turned into an overly generalized word, you cannot generalize religion.