Religious literacy is important. Particularly in an increasingly pluralistic and globalized world, diverse religious literacy is really important. CBS recently pointed to a (rather basic, slightly silly, but also telling) mini-quiz about religion hosted by the Pew Forum (if nothing else, it is a good conversation starter). Also, the work of Boston University’s Stephen Prothero has been on my radar for a few years after reading several interviews with him about his work on religious literacy.
If you have a faith commitment, you should understand your own faith. You should know the basics about the history, beliefs, practices, et cetera, and pick areas within your faith that you want to explore deeper. There is no end to the resources available in this endeavor.
But knowing about your own system of beliefs is not enough. To appreciate the beauty of the world’s literature, to understand the nuances of geopolitics, to understand cultural norms and expectations, you need to understand religions. There is definitely no end to the resources available in this endeavor.
So, start today. Check out one of Prothero’s books from the public library (start with God is Not One) or head on over to Wikipedia and just start reading. Watch some of PBS Frontline’s work on Christianity. Listen to a comparative religion course from Eastern Michigan University on iTunes U.
Seriously, pick one and do it and then we can talk about it.