30 famous writers talk about God

Here is the latest video compilation [25:40] by Dr Jonathan T. Pararajasingham, a British neurosurgeon. I’ve previously posted two of his compilations, “20 voices of belief” (academics and theologians) and “100 voices of unbelief” (academics).  Here are 30 famous writers expressing their atheism.  My favorite is Ian McEwan, who perfectly expresses the gulf between scientific and religious “ways of knowing.”

in order:

1. Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction Writer
2. Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate in Literature
3. Professor Isaac Asimov, Author and Biochemist
4. Arthur Miller, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright
5. Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate in Literature
6. Gore Vidal, Award-Winning Novelist and Political Activist
7. Douglas Adams, Best-Selling Science Fiction Writer
8. Professor Germaine Greer, Writer and Feminist
9. Iain Banks, Best-Selling Fiction Writer
10. José Saramago, Nobel Laureate in Literature
11. Sir Terry Pratchett, NYT Best-Selling Novelist
12. Ken Follett, NYT Best-Selling Author
13. Ian McEwan, Man Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
14. Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate (1999-2009)
15. Professor Martin Amis, Award-Winning Novelist
16. Michel Houellebecq, Goncourt Prize-Winning French Novelist
17. Philip Roth, Man Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
18. Margaret Atwood, Booker Prize-Winning Author and Poet
19. Sir Salman Rushdie, Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
20. Norman MacCaig, Renowned Scottish Poet
21. Phillip Pullman, Best-Selling British Author
22. Dr Matt Ridley, Award-Winning Science Writer
23. Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate in Literature
24. Howard Brenton, Award-Winning English Playwright
25. Tariq Ali, Award-Winning Writer and Filmmaker
26. Theodore Dalrymple, English Writer and Psychiatrist
27. Roddy Doyle, Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
28. Redmond O’Hanlon FRSL, British Writer and Scholar
29. Diana Athill, Award-Winning Author and Literary Editor
30. Christopher Hitchens, Best-Selling Author, Award-Winning Columnist

h/t: Michael


  1. donald
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jerry, excellent video. I look at this list and see how many these writers are favorites of mine. I’m from Toronto, so the bit with Margaret Atwood was great to watch.


  2. Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Wow! That’s quite a sharing.

    I must say, I’m very pleased to see Arthur C. Clarke on top. He’s probably the reason I decided to reevaluate my own stance on Buddhism and religion in general.

    And he’s the first westerner I’ve seen wearing a sarong! 😀

    I remember reading 2001 as a kid (didn’t understand most of it back then) one of the few English language books that intereseted Sri Lankan kids at the time. It’s definitely what got me interested in space and science fiction when before, I would have been happy just watching some dumb cartoons.

  3. Marjorie Spencer
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This is just impression as I’ve only sampled so far, but it appears that the moment we are not forced to across the three communities, each reverts to its own languages and premises. So how can this help? It might even hurt.

    • Posted January 22, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      …we are not forced to [???] across the three communities, each reverts to its own languages and premises. So how can this help? It might even hurt

      Is there a word missing? What do you mean? Please expand Marjorie

  4. koszmic
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I watched most of the segments, but admit that after Salman Rushdie I jumped to the last bit by Hitchens. That bit was breathtaking as a critique of Christianity, and is one of the most powerful demonstrations of intellect I have ever encountered. Wow.

  5. Posted January 22, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Fantastic! Thanks Jerry!

  6. Claimthehighground
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Another tremendous compilation by Pararajasingham. I watched it three times and found new insights each time. The McEwan part was indeed a highlight, but it’s hard to top Hitchens in his prime. His focus and command of his argument points are a continual wonder.

  7. Lotharloo
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Gosh Hitch will be missed. His eloquence is so extraordinary that it makes me feel privileged to listen to him.

  8. Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    For me, Philip Roth was the money shot: “When the whole world doesn’t believe in God, it’ll be a great place.”


    PS. Is there any footage of Asimov in conversation with Feynman? That would be fun, I think!

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    And he missed out Dawkins? 🙂

    But I do like the first comment on Youtube, or rather, Pararajasingham’s rejoinder:
    @M3Panos “Nice, when are you going to put up the Christian version? Preferably without your commentary this time…:)”
    JP: Sorry, do I work for you?

    Cracked me up 🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      And I just watched the whole thing (it’s very rare that I spend > 10 minutes watching a Youtube video!) For me the most entertaining moment was Douglas Adams’ description of the puddle – ‘this world fits me perfectly. Must have been made for me!’ A lovely summation of the Argument from Design.

    • Posted January 23, 2012 at 1:13 am | Permalink

      Dawkins was #67 in his “100 Voices of Disbelief” compilation.


  10. Diane G.
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    What an upper!

    I thought it fun to find Redmond O’Hanlon on this vid; several years ago I enjoyed his “No Mercy; A Journey into the Heart of the Congo.”

  11. Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    My favourite, in the current context of the censorship of the Jesus & Mo cartoons:

    Michel Houellebecq – “… you have the right [in France] to insult religion. That is the reason I happily appeared in court for that matter. I had no desire to say sorry.”

  12. David T. Grow
    Posted January 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    A young woman, a free spirit, once said to me, with fierce confidence, “Fear is the only sin.” I did not understnd then. I am closer now. David G.

    • Julien Rousseau
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 12:29 am | Permalink

      I disagree, faith is also a sin and a very bad one at that.

  13. Tim Harris
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    McEwan was excellent, and Hitchens at the end was rivetting and right. If only he had not supported war with Iraq!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] the third video of the series,  which I came across on this site, Dr. Pararajasingham compiled video of thirty renown authors discussing atheism. My favorite […]

  2. […] 30 famous writers talk about God (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com) […]

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