The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever The Portable Atheist discussion


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So how come...

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message 1: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris
...the majority of writers in "The Portable Atheist" were not...well...atheists? Most of these guys weren't. They might not have been orthodox Christians, but they were hardly atheists. I'd like to see him gather a quality collection of admitted, proclaimed atheists. That would be tricky, though, since English literary tradition is almost entirely grounded in...gasp...Christianity. There are some great names here, however, and so I'm thinking of putting this on my to-read list.



Mark Gowan I'm not sure that your position that "the majority of writers..." were not atheists. Shelley, was a proclaimed atheist, Dawkins is, Hume was etc... I believe (I don't have the book here with me) that Shermer considers himself an agnostic... Nevertheless, there are collections if you'd like to compare. Take G. Stein's collection, An Anthology of Atheists, or S.T Joshi's excellent collection called Atheism. Also check out Smith's bibliography in Atheism: a case against god.


message 3: by Zen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Zen I wish there were more women and minority opinions represented in this one. Also, it was an overall dry read. Not essential, not portable (will NOT fit in my purse) but thought provoking.


message 4: by Mark (last edited Dec 21, 2008 02:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Zen wrote: "...not portable (will NOT fit in my purse)."

I think the word portable here refers to the collection of writings from various books into one volume, so the portability is relative to the un-portability of the many books from which the writings are taken. Precedents include The Portable Enlightenment Reader, The Portable Thoreau, The Portable Sixties Reader, etc.



message 5: by Michael (last edited Jul 05, 2011 02:38PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michael T Your right, it should have been called
"The portable Agnostic."

"God is not great" was a better piece, for in that he uses his own words and personality. This is more an anthology.


Manuel Palacio The fact that these writers had the resource to write a book,questioning "god", the power and the law, is a mayor accomplishment, for way back in the days ...years... I Thank Hitchens, for compiling this and other books.


message 7: by Amber (last edited Feb 09, 2012 04:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amber Because of the times, being an out and out atheist would have caused a lot of hardship for most of these authors. That might explain why some of them seem to say everything except that they don't believe in God. Take Spinoza for example.

The common thread is they all view organized religion negatively, and emphasize reason. But yeah, it is really dry.


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