Now I am an atheist. Which I like to think gives me a pretty neutral position when comparing religions, but may well mean they all hate me!
Archbishop Cranmer has this story about Christians and Muslims in Oxford. It seems a Christian group organised a prayer session in a church. Sounds ok. But the prayers seemed to be aimed at asking for Muslim’s to be converted, took place in Ramadan and were entitled ‘Call to Prayer’, words most commonly associated with Islam. So the Muslims complained and the Christians apologised (much to Cranmer’s annoyance).
Anyway it seems to me that it must be impossible to be a true religious believer and to be tolerant of another religion (except perhaps for the Bahai faith). Surely if you are a Christian you believe one can only be saved through Jesus (“no one comes to the Father, but through me”). And surely Muslims believe Christians as non-believers in Mohammed are in the wrong. The idea that somehow you should tolerate other people you think are going to hell seems slightly strange to me. I think there all wrong, but don’t think they will suffer too many eternal consequences as a result.
It seems in this case Christians were praying for Muslims as they believed their eternal souls were damned. How can you mix this extremity of belief with the modern PC notion of respect for faith? It simply makes it impossible for any religion to be evangelical. But if that is a fundamental part of someone’s belief how can we respect their religion and instruct them to respect other’s?
It all comes back to a strange notion of trying to tolerate intolerance. There are bound to be problems and inconsistencies in any approach. Religious views are by their nature opposed, as most believe there’s is the one true path to righteousness. The only way for a state to deal with this is to be completely secular and not make concessions to religion, any religion. As to how individuals deal with the inconsistencies, you’d have to ask them.