Whoops, I think I accidentally said it all in the title, there isn't really a pay off from this point on, but I guess I'll elaborate since I'm here.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but people get offended when one person criticizes another person’s religion. At family reunions you have to do a scan for the Mormon cousin, or the Jevhovah's Witness brother-in-law before you start saying what you really feel. From time to time a religious leader will get in trouble for criticizing another religion. For instance, Louis Farrakhan caught hell for saying that Judaism is a “gutter religion.”
With some partially due respect, I think that us Americans have missed the point: I want you to know that I would be offended if you were of another religion and you didn’t think that Christianity was a false religion. I would say, what’s wrong with you? I'm inclined not to take you and your religion seriously if you see no problem with contradiction. I have the common decency to say that Islam is based upon lies—the Muslim (the regular kind, not the extremists) would tell you that, you know, Christians are cool and Jesus was a good teacher and their Bible just got a little bit messed up in some parts, but the other parts are fully inspired Scripture. Thanks a pants full.
That's like me walking up to a feminist and saying: Oh you cute thing, you think you're equal to me, and, in some ways I think that you're right. We're both white, we both have heads and opposable thumbs, so...if that's what you mean by equal, then, yes, we're equal. I mean, your brain is smaller than mine, I cannot speak to you logically and I need you to go and fix me up a sandwich before I get out of here.
Believing in a religion necessarily means that other things can't be true. Jesus said the only way you get to heaven is through him. Now, Jesus could have been wrong, just because he said that doesn't make it true. But because he said that, and because I happen to believe him, that makes it impossible for me to believe in any other religion that doesn't say that Jesus is the one-lane highway to heaven. The Islam ones say that there is no God but Allah, and Mohamed is his prophet. Well, Islams also say that Jesus was a prophet (just not God), but Mohamed says different things about Jesus than Jesus said of himself, so one of these religions has a liar at its core. If you're a Muslim then I hope you think my religion is a gutter one, otherwise I have to wonder if you're playing with a full deck.
Buddhists seem to be just peachy keen with every other religion and that pisses me off. What does it take to ruffle one of these guys? That Dolly Llamma is always walking around with that big grin on his kisser and you know that's a front. I mean, look, I want to make my religion look nice and fun and enticing too, but I'm not going to suppress my basic human tendency to go nuts when everything in me says that's what I have to do. I'm sure he's got a few Chinese tied up in his basement and when the world is too much he retreats to his underground lair and gives them a few good kicks. And the bottom line is that is not a healthy way to deal with the difficulties in this world.
If we all say that most religions are beautiful then we're playing pattycake with each other, or, even more embarrassing, with ourselves when no one is looking, and haven't we outgrown that by now?
Anyway, I wanted to bag on the Shintos, Hindus and Taoists, but I just don't know enough about them and I didn't want to come off as being small-minded or petty.