Double belonging

One person, two faiths

Americans have become accustomed to picking and choosing among various religious traditions and practices, selecting whatever is most useful, meaningful or intriguing at the moment. While such cafeteria-style religion is frequently criticized as superficial, it is common in a pluralistic culture with a wide-open religious marketplace. A person may occasionally attend a Christian church but also find meaning in yoga and in forms of meditation inspired by Eastern traditions—and enjoy attending a Seder at Passover. None of this seems extraordinary.

But some people have taken religious pluralism in a deeper and more radical direction. They have embraced two distinct religious traditions and have tried to be faithful to both at the same time. This is a demanding and in some ways confounding path—hardly a cafeteria-style spirituality. If, as John Dunne says in The Way of All the Earth, religious pluralism is the great spiritual adventure of our time, these people are the frontline ex­plorers.


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