Focusing on Interfaith Literacy

Hello Allies,

Shireen here with an update on this past Interfaith Friday (9/20/13). The Interfaith Allies used an alternative tabling event to gauge the Interfaith Literacy at Cal Lutheran. Alongside my team I helped administer fun rounds of an Interfaith Game Show. The winners received an Interfaith Youth Core Tshirt,  Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel, Sacred Ground by Eboo Patel, or Faitheist by Chris Stedman.  It  was also interesting watching over 30 people fill out the (quite challenging) Interfaith Literacy Quiz (click the link to take the quiz). The 10 question quiz had an average score of 3.6! Woa.. I’ve posted the Interfaith Literacy Quiz ANSWERS for those who want to check their answers.

Don’t feel bad. The 3.6 score may seem low but I look at the results and I see the Interfaith tabling as a success. The success is in the many who students who stopped by to see what Interfaith Friday meant or by many students who learned something new by picking up a cool Interfaith Fact while on their way to class. We also had students dedicate time to evaluate their own knowledge of different faiths/philosophies by filling out a quiz or being part of one of the 7 rounds of the Interfaith Game Show.  Sure, not everyone won the game show round. …and Sure, not a single person received a 10/10 on the Interfaith Literacy quiz… but what makes this event a success is that these students took a pause on their morning activities and TRIED!

I went home after the event and decided to quiz my dad with the Game Show Questions. My father failed miserably.  The only answers he knew were questions about Islam. After going through the questions, I shed light on my dad’s interfaith illiteracy by telling him that he scored horribly. But he had an interesting response. He said that it didn’t matter whether he knew the answers to these questions, as long as he focuses on being unbiased. My Dad talked about how he will always do his best to understand all sides of the situation and the most important thing was to be just and to be fair. He stressed that knowing facts about a group may not stop a person from being unkind to that particular religious group. Knowing Interfaith Facts was not important to my dad, but having respect and kindness for all people of all background is of upmost importance.  My dad embodied the “Golden Rule” while having no idea what the “Golden Rule” was. “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. My dad displayed the insight that this Interfaith Literacy Event was after.

If you stopped to participate in the Interfaith Tabling on Friday and realized how little you know about different faiths, use this as an opportunity to gain appreciative knowledge about that faith. And if you had trouble matching the faith to the “Golden Rule” in question 1  then…Great!. It was a hard question because all the passages were so similar. The difficulty of that question reiterates the beauty of the “Golden Rule” and how many religions have this principle. The best ways to gain appreciative knowledge is by building relationships and engaging across lines of religious difference. Our school average of 3.6 shouldn’t be viewed as disappointing or sad but should be celebrated and should also be a challenge to learn more. All the while understanding the “Golden Rule” and having upmost respect and appreciation for everyone. We are a community.

-Shireen Ismail


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