Quaker Universalist Voice

Speaking truth in the global public square…

More than One Religion?

A Book Review of Duane Bidwell, When One Religion Isn’t Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People (2018)

D. Bidwell, When One Religion Isn’t Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People (2018) is unexpected and valuable for counselors, and religious leaders, as well as spiritual seekers. How do we deal with multiple religious traditions in our lives?  This book reaches beyond conventional inter-faith marriage into the deeper sources and consequences of the multiple religious traditions in our lives.

Every person has more than one religion and conviction in their spiritual path, whether recognized or not. Cultural pluralism confirms this universal reality.  Working out how to manage integrated faith and spiritual practices is the challenge for us all.

This is a serious book about a universal human dilemma. All humans are exploring reality and how that reality expresses through personal practice.  Some people are more conscious and articulate than others, but all humans face the same challenge.  This book offers everyone some fresh language for aiding us all on that universal path. 

The book title may be disarming.  The title reflects a sense of cuteness, faddishness, spiritual insufficiency, and lack of clear direction, but this would be a misinterpretation. The book implies that people collect religions like trinkets.  In reality ,all people seek understanding of truth wherever it can be found, which may include resources in several religious traditions.  Formal affiliation or identification with more than one religious tradition is not important.  The universal open path for clarifying truth is important and available to all.

The book does not proportionately address the downside of a seeker’s exploration of multiple religious traditions, which can lead to spiritual confusion, distraction, and cultism.  The upside insights in the book are, however, worth these risks.  The author visits this topic of fluid religious traditions in a pastoral manner.  The emphasis is on the personal and cultural challenges of visible identification with unfamiliar religious traditions, symbols, and practices.

The book includes helpful explanatory endnotes, a long and interesting acknowledgement section, a note on methodology, and an adequate index and table of contents.  The responsible, substantive, and interesting endnotes are helpful to read in their entirety before reading the book’s main text. 

This is a thorough treatment of an important subject for our reflection on the scramble of traditions that we all face and engage in our spiritual paths through life.  This book is a good place to start expanding our understanding of our experience.

Quakers: There is no mention of Quakers in this book. The whole book is about religions.  The analysis addresses Quakers along with all humans.  Quakers will find this book valuable.  It can contribute to management of language uses in many Quaker meetings and churches.


  • What guidance can Quaker meetings provide to seekers starting in the path of exploring additional religious traditions?
  • How should Quaker meetings and leaders helpfully acknowledge and support spiritual seekers in diverse religious traditions?


D. Bidwell, When One Religion Isn’t Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People (2018)

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