The “Christian deposit” of Dewey’s thought deeply affects his conception of democracy as a ‘regulative ideal,’ which nevertheless explicitly claims independence from supernatural beliefs. The ‘quasi-religious’ feature that he assigns to democratic ideals is a peculiar expression of his ‘naturalistic humanism,’ which enhances critical abilities and scientifi c knowledge as basic instruments for developing democracy through continuous re-descriptions of human potentialities, apart from both classic individualism and dogmatism. The complexity of Dewey’s thought, of its sources of inspiration as well as of its most original issues, offers resources for contrasting the risk of an incautious scientism and, at the same time, leaves room for further refl ections about some crucial problems of current democratic societies, such as education for citizenship and for the socio-political value of disagreements, including those connected to religious attitudes.