Focusing on Horizontal Transcendence: Much more than a “non-belief”

Thomas Joseph Coleman III, Christopher F. Silver, Jenny M. Holcombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Much of the reigning research on non-religion and non-belief focuses on demographics and personality characteristics. While this is a necessary foundation on which future research may be built upon, such data does not necessarily produce theory. In many ways the dominant cultural milieu of religions along with the benign intent of some researchers force a person who holds no belief in a God to assume an oppositional identity in relation to religion. This oppositional identity tautologically sets researchers up to continually define its object by the absence of something. This something cannot always function as a normative point of reference in which to tell researchers what to look for. This article provides one such normative trajectory, termed “horizontal transcendence.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEssays in the Philosophy of Humanism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


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