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Abstract We precipitately express opinions about religion without reflecting critically on our conception of it, and may blame it for conduct that the religious traditions themselves judge unbecoming. A distinction can be drawn between the raw, natural self of the untrained person and the well-tempered demeanour of a spiritually developed person. Such a distinction drives the appropriation of religious beliefs and can survive their demise. ‘Religious belief’ is not to be conflated with Abrahamic notions of ‘belief in God’ and ‘faith’. There are other versions of transcendence and other psycho-dramas. One possible form of transcendence is available within the moral life of human beings.