The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer


The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever (2007) is an anthology edited by Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens wrote introductions to each article he compiled for the book. The main introduction is centered on an unbeliever's point of view, what he is constantly told, "and the errors incurred by religion, since the pre-history of our species, in identifying not just the wrong explanation but the wrong culprit in episodes of nightmarish ignorance and calamity". In an anthology of atheist and agnostic thought, going back to the early Greeks, Hitchens writes briefly about the selected essays of past and present philosophers, scientists, and other thinkers such as Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Victor J. Stenger and Richard Dawkins − with original pieces by Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. For Hitchens, "religion invents a problem where none exists by describing the wicked as also made in "the image of god and the sexually nonconformist as existing in a state of incurable mortal sin that can incidentally cause floods and earthquakes." "The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. Death is certain ... Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."Hitchens dedicated the anthology to the memory of Primo Levi and prefaces the book with quotes from Levi's If This Is a Man and The Drowned and the Saved.
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original title: The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Non-Believer
date of publication: 2007
main subject: atheism

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