HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (2007)

by Christopher Hitchens

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,246245,300 (3.87)18
Despite the mistaken use of the label "New Atheists," there is a lot of continuity over the past couple of centuries among atheist authors in their critiques of religion, theism, and superstition. Not every argument is identical, and even when the same basic argument is being offered there can be variety in how it is presented. This evolution of atheist critiques of supernatural religion is one of the virtues of Christopher Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever. Well known for his own atheist book God Is Not Great, Hitchens treads some very heavily-traveled ground here in editing a compendium of atheist writings. Do we really need yet another book of essays, isolated chapters, and other selections from atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and skeptics of the past? What could we get out of this latest offering that we didn't get from the past half dozen that we bought - or the others that we simply skipped? Those are good questions, and reasons why I was skeptical of Hitchens' book, but in the end I think he succeeds in making his book more than "just one more" collection of atheist essays.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This book is a collection of writings by influencial writers of the past, selected for their "non-believer" content - not a clear, concise, or consistent approach on the subject. Many of the writers are from the past, and their language and style is of their era. I found it to be a jumble of ideas which often were lost on me. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Religion is boring whether you are listening to an advocate or an atheist. There were only a few essays that were fascinating. Listening to Stephen Fry on a religious programme in the UK answering the question "what would you say to God if you found yourself in heaven when you die". It was the most fabulous reply. So, it is a book for people who really want to read on the subject, who are not anal about reading every word in every book. If you are willing to skip and skim, there are nuggets.
  Karen74Leigh | Sep 4, 2019 |
Religion is boring whether you are listening to an advocate or an atheist. There were only a few essays that were fascinating. Listening to Stephen Fry on a religious programme in the UK answering the question "what would you say to God if you found yourself in heaven when you die". It was the most fabulous reply. So, it is a book for people who really want to read on the subject, who are not anal about reading every word in every book. If you are willing to skip and skim, there are nuggets. ( )
  Karen74Leigh | Jul 31, 2019 |
This is a marvelous book and points out a number of problems inherent in all religions. Through the use of excerpts taken from essays and various works, Christopher Hitchens makes a case against God. The problems I have with religion are pretty long lasting; ever since I was around the age of 10 or 11, I have been in doubt of God. I can only say that I am glad I live in this day and age, where religious people don't torture you for your beliefs or lack thereof anymore.

Anyway, forty-seven authors combined their powers to produce this piece. Many of the contributors are dead, like Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, and Albert Einstein, but their words are quite timeless. Some of the authors might still be alive, but it is hard to say, since it was printed in 2007.

Some of the authors talk about the problem of a just and loving God creating hell, others point out the similarity of Jesus Christ to other characters of mythology like Attis, and yet others talk about how silly the idea is in terms of modern science. When you allow a magical sky-man to explain something, you explain nothing. All in all, I have heard all of these arguments before, so none of it was really new to me. Even the story of Jesus on the cross, sacrificing himself to himself, comes from Odin hanging himself at the World Tree to gain knowledge.

Anyway, I would read it again, or I would go to the contributing authors works and stuff. It all seems quite fascinating. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
A collection of writings from many and varied sources, collated by Hitchens, each with an introductionary paragraph. Probably one best for picking at, rather than reading cover to cover. ( )
  adam.currey | Jan 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated to the memory of Primo Levi (1919-1987) who had the moral fortitude to refuse false consolation even while enduring the "selection" process of Auschwitz.
First words
At the close of his imperishable novel La Peste ("The Plague"), Albert Camus gives us a picture of the thoughts of the good Dr. Rieux, as the town of Oran celebrates its recovery from - its survival of - a terrible visitation of disease. (Introduction)
Quotations
It is sometimes argued that disbelief in a fearful and tempting heavenly despotism makes life into something arid and tedious and cynical: a mere existence without any consolation or any awareness of the numinous or the transcendent. What nonsense this is. . . Believing then - as this religious objection implicitly concedes - that human life is actually worth living, one can combat one's natural pessimism by stoicism and the refusal of illusion, while embellishing the scene with any one of the following. There are the beauties of science and the extraordinary marvels of nature. There is the consolation and irony of philosophy. There are the infinite splendors of literature and poetry, not excluding the liturgical and devotional aspects of these, such as those found in John Donne or George Herbert. There is the grand resource of art and music and architecture, again not excluding those elements that aspire to the sublime. In all of these pursuits, any one of them enough to absorb a lifetime, there may be found a sense of awe and magnificence that does not depend at all on any invocation of the supernatural.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC
Despite the mistaken use of the label "New Atheists," there is a lot of continuity over the past couple of centuries among atheist authors in their critiques of religion, theism, and superstition. Not every argument is identical, and even when the same basic argument is being offered there can be variety in how it is presented. This evolution of atheist critiques of supernatural religion is one of the virtues of Christopher Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever. Well known for his own atheist book God Is Not Great, Hitchens treads some very heavily-traveled ground here in editing a compendium of atheist writings. Do we really need yet another book of essays, isolated chapters, and other selections from atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and skeptics of the past? What could we get out of this latest offering that we didn't get from the past half dozen that we bought - or the others that we simply skipped? Those are good questions, and reasons why I was skeptical of Hitchens' book, but in the end I think he succeeds in making his book more than "just one more" collection of atheist essays.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.87)
0.5
1 4
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 3
3 62
3.5 17
4 86
4.5 4
5 76

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 163,111,801 books! | Top bar: Always visible