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Interfaith Literacy Toolkit

We’ve gathered some information about some of the lesser appreciated or misunderstood traditions to help you learn more. After you've spent some time here, be sure to share something you appreciate about someone else's religious or non-religious worldview via the form below.

Atheism

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.
  • Navigating the World as an Atheist: 6 Helpful Reflections: In tough times, everyone needs ways to cope and find sources for comfort. Here are six ways one person navigates difficult times as an atheist.
  • 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

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. Anothering 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.

Buddhism

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

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.
  • 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Hinduism: Take a peek at this rundown of 10 things one Hindu woman wishes other folks knew about Hinduism, including its core principles, iconographies, and primary sacred texts.
  • 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

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.

Mormonism

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormonism, is a denomination of Christianity. As with other denominations of Christianity, Mormons believe in the Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ as savior, but Mormons 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.

Paganism

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.
  • Litha: The Celtic Pagan Traditions of My Ancestors: Read about how one student found her Pagan faith through learning about her ancestors and how her faith manifests itself in her celebration of Litha.
  • 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.