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The Varieties of Nonreligious ExperienceAtheism in American Culture$
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Jerome P. Baggett

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479874200

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479874200.001.0001

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The Critical Root

The Critical Root

Living with Integrity by Saying No

(p.144) 5 The Critical Root
The Varieties of Nonreligious Experience

Jerome P. Baggett

NYU Press

This chapter addresses atheists’ views on religion, which are considerably more nuanced than what one finds in the books by New Atheist authors. Specifically, everyday atheists are less bothered by other people’s belief in God than they are by the detrimental behaviors they consider to be often wrought from believing in such images of God as judge, sovereign, and father. They are similarly less critical of many people’s innate religiosity than they are with the objectified worldviews from distinct religions. Lastly, they are much less critical of religious people (who are often their friends, family members, spouses, and so forth) than they are of religious institutions, which they think make people worse than they would be otherwise. Ironically, these nuanced positions, this chapter further shows, actually resemble the positions of many progressive people of faith far more than atheists generally realize.

Keywords:   critical root, New Atheist, God, judge, sovereign, father, religiosity, religions, religious institutions

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