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Interfaith Leadership & Religious Literacy
October 20, 2022

America is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world and trends reveal diversity will continue to increase. According to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Religious Landscape survey for 2020, the white Christian population has declined by about one-third since the 1990s and the religiously unaffiliated group has increased making up a quarter of the American population today.

The research indicates that American religion is at a crossroads, therefore making religious literacy and pluralism essential skills in the changing landscape. Religion and faith guide American values, actions, and civic responsibilities; yet many Americans are ignorant of religious beliefs different from their own. Today’s polarized political tensions and disturbing discourse exchanges show the urgent need for understanding multiple faith perspectives and nurturing relationships across divides.

On October 11, the podcast Interfaith America with Eboo Patel debuted exploring this shift in the nation’s religious identities and its crucial impacts on society.

Interfaith America connects individuals and institutions to the cooperative engagement possibilities of religious diversity. The organization uses storytelling to model religious understanding and showcase how collaboration with multi-faith perspectives contributes to the common good. Founder Eboo Patel builds on that mission with his podcast as he navigates insightful conversations with a variety of thought leaders, writers and educators.

The podcast episodes, supported by a $200,000 grant from AVDF, feature impactful conversations with guests of wide-ranging faith traditions, perspectives and lived experiences. Guests include Council for Christian Colleges & Universities President Shirley Hoogstra, Aspen Institute Religion & Society Executive Director Sirman Jeet Singh, and New York Times columnist and author David Brooks.

Patel and his guests answer the question “how does our religious understanding of the world inform the ways we live and work together?” He takes listeners on a journey of religious discovery in each episode. The audience learns the personal story and motivations of the featured guest, increasing their understanding of not only the religious beliefs being discussed but also how each person arrived at those beliefs. Patel welcomes the perspectives of his guests even when they differ from his own, leaving listeners with an increased appreciation of multiple faith perspectives.  The education opportunities for listeners continue after each episode airs through discussion guides available on the Interfaith America website.

The Interfaith America podcast is available on Apple, Spotify and other podcast platforms. For more about the podcast and to listen to full episodes, click here.

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