When we work to promote freedom of religion or belief we interact with the complex phenomena of religion in society. To do that well we need to strengthen our religious literacy. So what is religious literacy, and why is it important?

Religious literacy is the ability to understand and navigate a landscape where religious ideas and actors influence societal norms, structures and change processes.

It is a key competence for professionals in many roles. Religious literacy involves appreciating religion and belief as explanatory factors in society, without over- or underestimating their importance, and understanding the religious/belief dimension of the context you are working in. It’s also about reflecting on your own identity as an individual or organisation – on the values and beliefs that you are influenced by and on how you are perceived by others in the context.

In the light of these reflections, religious literacy helps you to make conscious and conflict sensitive decisions about how to act.


Six Lenses for Looking at Religion

This video seeks to help us understand the different roles religion can play in the life of society, of individuals and of their faith communities.

Find guidance, tools and theological resources for faith communities

Tools for faith communities

Explore all of our tools for people working for change

Work for change