I recently read The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, by Christopher Hitchens -well, most of it. A fair amount I’d already read elsewhere, other bits just didn’t grab me. But I have to say its a treasured bit of reading that will stay handy on my bookshelf. I’ve made fair bit of pencil marks in the margins and left a few little sticky arrows on the pages so I can navigate my way back to the passages they mark at a later date.
It occurred to me that much of what is found in this tome can also be found on the web. In fact, a lot of it can. Of course, you miss a fantastic introduction by Hitchens and the portability factor is nearly completely lost even if you have a laptop with WIFI.
I thought I’d list the table of contents here, linking to the articles, excerpts, and books as they are already found on the internet. The links worked the day I typed this and I offer no warranty or guarantee that they’ll continue to work in the future. For the essays, articles or texts that I didn’t have or couldn’t find a link for, I tried to link to a biography or personal webpage for the writer, usually indicated by the fact that the link is the writer not the title of the work itself.
Pay close attention, also, to the information in brackets. In at least one or two instances it denotes a PDF file.
I’m confident that by browsing some of these links, you’ll purchase a copy of The Portable Atheist. It’s great to have a source for these texts so you can do keyword searches or copy/paste excerpts in blog posts, etc., but there’s no substitution to being able to pick up a book and take it with you.
1. Lucretius, from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), Book I Translated by W. Hannaford Brown
2. Omar Khayyam, from Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: A Paraphrase from Several Literal Translations by Richard Le Gallienne
3. Thomas Hobbes, Of Religion, from Leviathan
6. James Boswell, An Account of My Last Interview with David Hume, Esq.
7. Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Refutation of Deism
8. John Stuart Mill, Moral Influences in My Early Youth, from Autobiography
10. George Eliot, Evangelical Teaching
11. Charles Darwin, Autobiography
12. Leslie Stephen, An Agnostic’s Apology
13. Anatole France, Miracle
15. Joseph Conrad, Author’s Note to The Shadow Line
16. Thomas Hardy, God’s Funeral
17. Emma Goldman, The Philosophy of Atheism
18. H.P. Lovecraft, A Letter on Religion
19. Carl Van Doren, Why I Am An Unbeliever
20. H. L. Mencken, Memorial Service
21. Sigmund Freud, From The Future of an Illusion, Translated and edited by James Strachey
22. Albert Einstein, Selected Writings on Religion
23. George Orwell, From A Clergyman’s Daughter
24. John Betjeman, In Westminster Abby
25. Chapman Cohen, Monism and Religion an Old Story
26. Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
28. Martin Gardner, The Wandering Jew and the Second Coming
29. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World; The God Hypothesis
30. John Updike, From Roger’s Version
31. J.L. Mackie, Conclusions and Implications, From The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God
32. Michael Shermer, Genesis Revisited: A Scientific Creation Story
33. A.J. Ayer, That Undiscovered Country
34. Daniel C. Dennett, Thank Goodness!
35. Charles Templeton, From A Farewell to God, A Personal Word; Questions to Ask Yourself
37. Victor Stenger, From God: the Failed Hypothesis [promo site], Cosmic Evidence
38. Daniel C. Dennett, A Working Definition of Religion, From “Breaking Which Spell?”
39. Elizabeth Anderson, If God is Dead, Is Everything Permitted? [abstract]
40. Penn Jillette, There is No God
41. Ian McEwan, End of the World Blues [PDF]
42. Steven Weinberg, What About God?, From Dreams of a Final Theory
43. Salman Rushdie, “Imagine There’s No Heaven: A Letter to the Six Billionth World Citizen”
44. Ibn Warraq, The Koran; The Totalitarian Nature of Islam
45. Sam Harris, In the Shadow of God, From The End of Faith [excerpts]
46. A.C. Grayling, Can an Atheist Be a Fundamentalist?, From Against All Gods
47. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, How (and Why) I Became an Infidel