The Portable Atheist – Some Internet Sources

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

4. Benedict De Spinoza, Theoological-Political Treatise

5. David Hume, The Natural History of Religion; of Miracles

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

9. Karl Marx, Contributions to the Critique of Hegels Philosophy of Right

10. George Eliot, Evangelical Teaching

11. Charles Darwin, Autobiography

12. Leslie Stephen, An Agnostic’s Apology

13. Anatole France, Miracle

14. Mark Twain, Thoughts of God, From Fables of Man; Bible Teaching and Religious Practice, From Europe and Elsewhere and A Pen Warmed Up in Hell

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

27. Philip Larkin, Aubade; Church Going

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

36. Richard Dawkins, Why There Almost Certainly Is No God; Gerin Oil; Atheists for Jesus

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


5 Responses

  1. I tried the audio version of it (I do a lot of driving and listening to audio books is rather useful for catching up on ‘reading’) and somehow it just didn’t do anything for me at all, sadly.

    I don’t even know why, it just felt flat somehow.

  2. I’ve had my copy of this book for a while now, and am looking forward to reading it (it’s in a queue), your post looks like a good resource for any review I do, or to find out more about particular authors.

    Good effort, consider this page bookmarked.

  3. […] can see in my library list I have a copy of The Portable Atheist, which I’m yet to read. Well Breaking Spells has already read it and posted a great reference to all the essays, with […]

  4. […] Bertrand Russell’s An Outline to Intellectual Rubbish and Daniel C. Dennett’s Thank Goodness!. Here’s a link to the […]

  5. […] Russell to Penn Jillette and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In case you don’t want the entire book, you can read many of those essays (at least the ones that are in the public domain) online.…Christian No More: On Leaving […]

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