I came upon this article in Aeon and thought that it was worth sharing. The author, Kenneth Primrose, articulates the significance of "religious literacy" in theory and in practice. Primrose argues that the ability to see unfamiliar religions from within, and to ask questions of others that "reveal rather than eviscerate", requires moral imagination. He compares the process to that of immersing oneself in a story, in which the reader/listener must have empathy for the characters they are learning about.
One of his most important points, I believe, is his insistence that religious literacy may not (and perhaps should not) lead to mutual agreement. It should, however, lead to more productive disagreements.
In Primrose's words:
"Increasing religious literacy will not necessarily lead to more agreement — indeed, it might even steel our convictions. But it will lead to being able to "disagree better"... by tampering cheap stereotypes and petty caricatures. In educational theory, religious literacy could be considered a "threshold concept" for 21st-century citizenship."
Read the article here.