The "Holy Spirit - a Wild Goose?" thread has got me wondering about something, and I want to dash off a quick thought and question before retiring. If any of you wonderful Orthodox people can provide your insights, I would very much appreciate it.
In many aspects of Christian religion as I have experienced it, much is made of the intention or self-conception of the believer. Sometimes this forms a basis for the interaction with other religions (as in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which famously states in a passage on Islam that Muslims "claim to hold the faith of Abraham"), other times it seems to be practically a wholesale substitute for engaging in any theological reflection at all ("Just accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and ta-da! You're automatically on the guest list in heaven").
What does the Orthodox Church teach about this? Does the intention of the believer (in whatever religion) somehow mitigate whatever wrong theology or other belief they might hold? Does their conception of themselves or of their own religion allow them to be considered differently with regard to the acceptability of their worship? I ask this second question because one of the most frequent responses I got from Catholics in defense of their church's wrong and misguided stance on Islam is that as there is only one God to begin with, and the Muslims endeavor to worship God, then how can it be said that they are somehow not worshiping the true God? Doesn't God care about intention at least enough to accept sincere prayers from people who, after all, are likely misguided through no direct fault of their own?
I know the answers I've given to each one of these questions in the past, but I remain...unconfident (pfft...whatever, spell check...that is so a word!) with regard to their soundness, particularly as I learn more about Orthodoxy, and hence realize how I don't really know anything at all.
Again, any help or even just fellow speculation is very much appreciated.