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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 Immanent Root

The Immanent Root

Progressing by Saying Yes

(p.194) 7 The Immanent Root
The Varieties of Nonreligious Experience

Jerome P. Baggett

NYU Press

This chapter explores atheists’ common contention that their moral sensibilities represent progress over those expressed by people of faith. Atheists generally contend that morality is not derived from religious worldviews, that most morally decent religious people actually get their ethics from the same secular sources as do atheists, and that overall atheists are actually more moral than their religious fellow citizens. They also claim that atheist morality represents progress from its religious counterparts because, requiring little by way of systematic thinking or heroic levels of obligation, it is more achievable in everyday life, and since it is imparted to individuals through societal norms and institutions, its requirements are actually more accessible to people who thus do not need to rely upon others’ expertise in discerning ethical positions.

Keywords:   immanent root, morality, achievable, accessible

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