Christopher Hitchens

The Portable Atheist

"The Portable Atheist" was a novel released by Christopher Hitchens in 2007 that was sort of a counter to that of "God is Not Great". While "God is Not Great" focused on religions and the issues therein, "The Portable Atheist" provided a closer look at atheism and atheistic viewpoints. In fact, Hitchens writes comparative responses to a number of essays included within the novel by other great authors, scientists and philosophers that happened to be atheist, such as Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain and Charles Darwin. Original essays are also included by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Salman Rushdie and author Ian McEwan. This anthology of essays and articles provides by him and others about atheism are varied and cover many points of view. Hitchens describes at one point what he wants from life, stating "Death is certain...Life on this earth, with all of 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."

One of the primary themes throughout these essays is what atheism is really like, which is a subject that Hitchens divides into two separate categories, atheists that willfully argue the damaging effects of religion and atheists that simply do not believe in the existence of a god. Like most of the other novels and collections of essays that Hitchens wrote, critics were largely impressed with the novel, with one such critic, Jacob Schriftman, stating "Just like the bible can also be appreciated by non-believers, due to its impact on world history, it is not required to be an atheist to appreciate this anti-religious anthology.