And I peeve the heck out you because I am picking on poor totally defenseless, unable to stand up for himself, on the side of the angels, Christopher? If you don't like it, say so directly. This talking around the edges is actually rather nasty.
I don't disagree, in general, with his points about being nice to others, offering respect to others' beliefs, but I have asked him are all religious beliefs are worthy of respect, and I get no answer. It is an important question, unless one wants to stay at a fluffy bunny level of things. We should be nice to others, and support whatever is good in whatever religion\, and I see no point in attacking another's faith or belief, though on a forum such as this, if it is appropriate to the context, offering a Buddhist critique is not inappropriate. This has been the case from the Buddha onwards.
I find the it-is-all-one approach tends to do violence to one or more religions for the simple reason in order to get a fit into the oneness mold, it does not take the one or other religion's own point of view seriously.
You ask: "But who is to say whose view is 'right' and whose is 'wrong'?" There is always the possibility I may be wrong about something (or everything), and I am opened to be shown to be wrong, Shown, not just told, but shown The tradition, from the suttas themselves onwards, has a fair amount to say about a lot of this stuff, and it would be that to which I would point.
Now, mind you, the tradition could be in some sort of objective sense wrong, but what I am talking about is what the tradition - Buddhism - says about itself. One can get a good sense of what Buddhism says about itself, and in response to some of the things Christopher has said, I have tried to point out that the tradition is not in agreement with him, getting really no answer on that. The tradition might be wrong, but it IS wrong to say the tradition says something it does not say, and that is what I have picking on him about. Now, Christopher is articulate, intelligent, and I trust if he feels that he needs to, he’ll respond to what I have said here.
I do not disagree with his assertion that we should support, encourage, and celebrate those things in other religions that promote all the good that we hold to be of value. Buddhism has no monopoly on that. In this context Peter’s msg is worth repeating:
All teachers from all schools see that Buddhist practice and philosophy can benefit people from all walks of life.
But what does that have to do with the topic of this thread?
Let's do this again...
Saying "Buddhism is only of benefit for Buddhists and no one else" is one extreme.
Saying "All religions bring the same benefits to people" is another extreme.
Neither one represents reality.
I'm realizing that I cant dedicate myself 100%, as others have. Am I a Unitarian, a Jew, an Advaitan, Zen Buddhist, a bit of each, none of the above?
So don't be a Buddhist. Be someone inspired by Buddhism, someone with an interest in Buddhism, someone studying Buddhism. Who cares? Certainly not I. Certainly not any teacher I've ever met.
Saying "If one wants to study Buddhism they must only study that and nothing else" is one extreme.
Saying "It doesn't matter which religion one studies since they are the same" is another extreme.
Neither one represents reality.
If one finds value in Advaita, good, but one needs to be careful, for a number of reasons, about unnecessarily conflating Buddhism and Advaita, and most simply something gets lost in such conflations, something of value.
Now, you may not like what I write or how I write it, which is certainly okay with me, and if you do not like my msgs, you find no value in them, they cause you to get cranky, I would suggest don’t read them. I am not sure what else to say to you. Sorry if you have gotten cranky (if you have), but there are always two sides to a story and mine probably is not a matter of my flexing my ego to beat up on poor Christopher.