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review 2014-01-05 00:12
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever - John Updike,George Eliot,John Stuart Mill,Thomas Hobbes,Richard Dawkins,Daniel C. Dennett,Carl Sagan,Mark Twain,H.L. Mencken,Christopher Hitchens,Ian McEwan,Salman Rushdie,Joseph Conrad,Ibn Warraq,Martin Gardner,Karl Marx,Bertrand Russell,A.C. Grayling,Pe

bookshelves: essays, philosophy, nonfiction, published-2007, winter-20132014, tbr-busting-2014, sciences, fraudio

Read from January 03 to 05, 2014

The Portable Atheist read by Nicolas Ball

anthology of atheist writing through the ages.

1. Introduction by Christopher Hitchens
2. Lucretius: from the Nature of Things
3. Kayyam: A paraphrase from several literal translations
4. Hobbes: Of Religion
5. Spinoza: Theological-Political Treatise
6. Hume: Natural History of Religion
7. Hume: Of Miracles
8. Boswell: An account of my last interview with Hume
9. Shelley: A Refutation of Deism
10. Stuart Mill: Moral Influences in My Early Youth
11. Marx: Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy
12. George Eliot: Evangelical Teaching (Yes! THAT Eliot of Middlemarch fame)
13. Darwin: Autobiography
14. Stephens: An Agnostic Apology
15. France: Miracles
16. Twain: Thoughts of God
17. Twain: Bible Teachings and Religious Practice
18. Conrad: author's note
19. Hardy: God's Funeral
20. Goldman: The Philosophy of Atheism
21. Lovecraft: A Letter On Religion
22. Freud: The Future of an Illusion
23. Einstein: Selected Writings on Religion
24. Russell: An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
25. Rushdie: Imagine There's No Heaven: A letter to the Sixth Billionth World Citizen

“Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Russell's essay was the longest and the most engossing, however for beauty, it was hard to beat Kayyam's advocation of love over belief. To be kept for a re-visit at some point.

Please could the next person to wade through these essays leave a note for me about which Pope who was solicited for help by RSPCA and had it turned down because animals don't have souls. I don't think a name was mentioned. If this was published 2007 then that would make it Benedict XVI but as Themis-Athena points out, Benedict had a dog at one stage. Thanks.

4* Arguably
4* The Portable Atheist
TR Mortality
TR God Is Not Great


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review 2014-01-04 23:23
The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity
The Gargoyles of Notre-Dame: Medievalism and the Monsters of Modernity - Michael Camille

bookshelves: published-2007, summer-2013, e-book, under-20, nonfiction, paris, france, art-forms, architecture, history, medieval5c-16c, reference-book, cults-societies-brotherhoods, ghosties-ghoulies, gothic, anti-semitic, mythology, philosophy, racism

Read from July 25 to 26, 2013

Opening: There are many churches dedicated to Notre Dame but only one Notre-Dame de Paris. Located on the east end of the Île-de-la-Cité, the cathedral is the spiritual and geographic center not only of Paris, but of the whole of France. Built between 1163 and 1250, it remains one of the first and most innovative Gothic structures in Europe.

Le Stryge: the unique and the single most memorable creation of the nineteenth-century restorer and architectural theorist Viollet-le-Duc. Though not a gargoyle in the proper sense of the term (since he does not serve as a drainpipe) he has nonetheless become the very essence of gargoyleness, the quintessence of the modern idea of the medieval.

Charles Méryon Le Stryge.

Gargoyles remove 'all the body, filth, and foulness that is ejected from the edifice'

'Romanesque architecture died. . . . From now on, the cathedral itself, formerly so dogmatic an edifice, was invaded by the bourgeoisie, by the commons, by liberty; it escaped from the priest and came under the sway of the artist. The artist built to his own fancy. Farewell mystery, myth and law. Now it was fantasy and caprice. . . . The book of architecture no longer belonged to the priesthood, to religion and to Rome; it belonged to the imagination, to poetry and to the people. . . . Now architects took unimaginable liberties, even towards the Church. Monks and nuns coupled shamefully on capitals, as
in the Hall of Chimneys in the Palais de Justice in Paris. The story of Noah was carved in full, as beneath the great portal of Bourges. A bacchic monk with asses’ ears and glass in hand laughed a whole community to scorn, as above the lavabo in the Abbey of Boscherville. At that time, the thought that was inscribed in stone enjoyed a pivilege entirely comparable to our present freedom of the press. This was the freedom of architecture.'
Victor Hugo

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