Interfaith Literacy Toolkit
Learn about commonly misunderstood traditions through research, videos, and personal reflections.
Compiled in one accessible site, the Interfaith Literacy Toolkit offers information and resources about different worldviews (including atheism, Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and paganism). With a focus on engagement and connection, these examples offer a great start for anyone interested in learning more about commonly misunderstood traditions and perspectives.
The term atheist refers to someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of a god or gods. As with many worldviews, there’s a large range of beliefs encompassed under the label atheist, which spans the spiritual and secular. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- 10 Facts about Atheists: Data has shown that atheism is one of the fastest growing worldviews in the U.S. Pew Research has compiled 10 interesting facts about atheists that may surprise you.
- Reflect Atheists in a More Positive Light: In this article, Chris Stedman discusses the impact the media could have if they discussed atheists (and atheism) in a positive way – and how they’re already starting to.
- Podcast: Atheism, Humanism and Interfaith: In this episode of our podcast, Common Knowledge, hosts Prerna and Carr talk with Chris Stedman about what it means to be both an atheist and an interfaith activist.
Bahá’í is a monotheistic faith that believes the significant figures in all major religious traditions were all prophets of the same God, including Krishna, Jesus, and the Buddha, ending with the last prophet, Baha’u’llah. Another interesting fact is that the Bahá’í faith has no clergy, so worship gatherings are led by everyday followers regardless of gender or age. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- Video: What’s Up with the Baha’i Tradition? In this video, IFYC alumna Hannah Minks visits the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, IL and speaks with the Temple’s Director about the basics of the Baha’i faith.
- Video: Baha’i, How You Doing? This video is part of a series called Have a Little Faith by Soul Pancake. In this episode, Zach Anner explores the values of Baha’i and dispels common misconceptions.
- What’s the Right Response to a Hate Crime? Here’s one Baha’i perspective on how to respond if a hate crime happens in your community.
Buddhism is considered a religion to some, a philosophy to others, and simply a spiritual practice for more still. There are some common principles that tie Buddhist traditions together, though, including impermanence, the inevitability of suffering, and freedom through nirvana. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- Buddhism and Meditation for Beginners: This Q&A guide walks you through the basic concepts, beliefs, and practices within Buddhism as well as book recommendations and resources to learn more.
- The Five Mindfulness Trainings: Mindfulness is at the core of many Buddhist theologies and these five practices are the root of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of IFYC’s interfaith heroes.
- The Dalai Lama’s Message on Compassion: The Dalai Lama (the leader of Tibetan Buddhism) is widely known for his compassion and respect for all, regardless of worldview. Here’s his message on compassion for the individual.
Hinduism is the third largest tradition in the world and while it arose out of India and South Asia, not all Indians are Hindu and not all Hindus are Indian. Because Hinduism is such an old tradition, it encompasses a broad range of rituals and traditions, but one thing that ties many Hindus together is the idea of the Divine Light existing in all people and that the entire universe is a family. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- Video: Hinduism Misconceptions: Students at Mississippi State University put together a series of videos to dispel common misconceptions about their worldview. In this video, student Aishwarya talks about misconceptions about Hinduism.
- Video: Ramayan, the Story of Diwali: Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most well-known Indian holidays. This animated video shares a story of the victory of good over evil, and the reason why Diwali is celebrated. [Note: Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains but for different reasons. More on that here.]
Islam is the second largest tradition in the world with almost 2 billion followers. Muslims follow the Five Pillars of Islam: the declaration of faith, daily prayers, fasting during the month of Ramadan, almsgiving, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- On Black American Muslim Contributions to the Fabric of Our Society: In our society today, many folks assume that all Muslims are immigrants or of Middle Eastern descent, but more than a third of Muslims in the U.S. are Black. Check out this opinion piece that examines the substantial impact Black Muslims have had on American society.
- Muslim Narrative: IDEALS Report on Incoming Muslim Students: Check out this report to learn more about common attitudes and expectations of first-year Muslim students going into college.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a denomination of Christianity. As with other denominations of Christianity, Latter-day Saints believe in the Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ as savior, but Latter-day Saints also believe in living prophets and the Book of Mormon as an additional holy scripture. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- Video Series: What Mormons Believe: This video series examines specifics of modern Mormon practices and theology including Mormon views on baptism, temples, women, the environment, and more.
- Video: Q&A with IFYC Alumna Keryn Wouden: Revisit Better Together Day 2015 with this conversation about Mormonism between two IFYC alumni – Adam Garner (atheist), and Karyn Wouden (Mormon).
Paganism encompasses traditions that are earth-focused, such as Wicca, Druidism, animism, and many others. The celebration of nature is one of the most important aspects of Paganism. Most major Pagan holidays revolve around nature, the passing of seasons, and renewal and growth. Some Pagans identify as witches and believe in magic. Want to learn more? Check out these articles, opinion pieces, and resources.
- What is Paganism? Learn more about the basics of Paganism, including the common beliefs that tie the multiple traditions together and how many Pagans approach the idea of the Divine.
- 10 Things I Love About Witchcraft: Witchcraft is one common way Paganism is lived out and can be a great source of comfort, especially to Wiccans. Here are 10 things that help one Pagan effectively navigate his life and empower him to face the world.
- Everyday Magic: Witchcraft for Busy Lives: In this piece, one college student outlines a few simple ways they keep up with Pagan rituals while managing the busy, sometimes overwhelming life of a college student.