The Worst Atheist Straw Man You’ve Ever Seen

At the Answers in Genesis website, writer Bodie Hodge did something truly remarkable.

He managed to write a piece in which he claims all of the following:

  • Atheists are associated with evil (e.g. Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin)
  • Atheists must be responsible for murder and rape, because “most murderers, tyrants, and rapists are not biblical Christians”
  • Atheists have no morals since we have no basis for morality
  • Atheists believe we’re just animals, no different from a cockroach
  • Atheists can’t be logical since we have no basis for logic
  • Atheists shouldn’t care about weekends since God made the workweek
  • Atheists shouldn’t care about holidays since “nothing is holy” to them
  • Atheists always claim “there is no God” and never “There may not be a God.”
  • Atheists love to be naked since we have no basis for wearing clothes
  • Atheists hate taking showers and using soap and being clean since we have no basis for cleanliness
  • Atheists don’t believe in love or marriage
  • Atheists have no evidence that “contradicts the Bible’s account of creation”
  • Atheists have no reason not to kill themselves

The craziest part about all this is that you know Hodge is sitting somewhere thinking he’s figured it all out. (“Checkmate, atheists!”)

He has no idea he’s just created an awful straw man. He’s probably never even spoken to an atheist. He obviously didn’t run this article by one before posting it.

This is what happens when you listen to Ken Ham all day long. Your mind gets so warped, you begin to believe your own delusions.

(Thanks to @ABigManOnCampus for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kari Lynn

    What’s wrong with being naked? Didn’t we start wearing clothes because of sin?

  • Adam Thorn

    At least he’s right about the being naked part, nothing better than just sitting in your home naked.

  • Willy Occam

    Oh, I’m sure he’s spoken to an atheist before.  He just didn’t realize it because he has deluded himself to think all atheists are like the mythological  creature described above.  I guess when one’s whole life is based around mythology, the sky’s the limit when it comes to your imagination. 

  • John of Indiana

    And the most damning reason of all, as uncovered by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers:
    Atheists ain’t got no Songs.

  • emily

    “Atheists love to be naked since we have no basis for wearing clothes”… but… it’s COLD!

  • John of Indiana

     He said we started wearing clothes because of SHAME, which then leads to the question of why didn’t gawd already cover us, since everything he does is perfect?

  • C Peterson

    When it comes to tyrants, these arguments are always so focused on the 20th century (although Hitler was obviously no atheist). The picture becomes rather different, of course, if we look at the 1500+ years of Christendom preceding that- the cruel English, Spanish and French kings, the cruel popes, the Inquisition, the Holy Roman Empire, the Crusades. All that cruelty and tyranny, not just a consequence of Christian ethical systems, but actually in the name of Christianity. And it’s all invisible history to these anti-atheist folks.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Oooh, I love the strawman game!  Allow me to ellucidate, my dear Bodie Bucktooth Hodge:- Christians are associated with evil (e.g. Hitler, Cromwell, Mussolini, Franco, KKK, witch burnings, and all the genocide/rape/murder/war described in their barbaric “holy” books)- Christians must be responsible for murder and rape, because “most murderers, tyrants, and rapists are  biblical Christians – God commanded me/us to do that stuff!”- Christianss have no morals since we subjectively create values from the writings of ancient nomadic desert tribes- Christians don’t believe they’re mammals, and so they can treat animals as cruelly as the wish since “God gave man dominion over the earth”- Christians can’t be logical since we have no basis for logic- Christians shouldn’t care about weekends since God doesn’t want anyone to relax and have fun, just worship, pillage, and plunder in His name- Christians shouldn’t care about holidays since “everything I do is ministry” – therefore, no day is different nor put aside for R&R- Christians always claim “my God is the only God!  If you don’t believe, you’ll be tortured for eternity in the fires of hell!”- Christians hate to be naked because they are ashamed of their mortal bodies – sex is icky!- Christians hate taking showers and using soap and being clean since they have no basis for cleanliness- Christians don’t really believe in love or marriage – just the proper match-up for dangling and inner physical bits- Christians have no evidence that “contradicts the Bible’s account of creation” because they’re all ignorant and ignore any evidence outside of their christ-centered bubbles- Christians have every reason  to kill themselves since heaven awaits!

    Ah, that was fun; I’ve always liked the “who can be more batshit-insane ridiculous” game.  And while I put forth a good effort, somehow sanctimonious assholes like Ham, Hodges, Comfort always win.  My hypothesis is that when I play I know its make-believe, and when they play its just another mind-numbing day filled with dellusion and spittle.

  • Kari Lynn

    Right. But to clarify, we started wearing clothes because Eve sinned. We weren’t shamed until Eve and Adam ate the apple.

  • Neil Rickert

    Atheists can’t be logical since we have no basis for logic

    Evidently, whoever wrote that piece has no basis for logic.

  • Derek Vandivere

    Just messaged him on FaceBook, politely offering to correspond since it seems he probably doesn’t actually know any atheists. Not expecting a reply.

  • ganner918

    And since there is no such thing as sin, there’s no shame in running around naked! Weeeeeee!

  • Matt Bowyer

    Probably the worst part is that none of this is anything that hasn’t already been said before. If these guys are gonna do something like this, come up with something original.

  • Adam Patrick

    This caught my eye:

    “Do you feel conflicted about proselytizing the faith of atheism, since if atheism were true then who cares about proselytizing?”
    Don’t these guys proselytize all the time? 

  • ReadsInTrees

    This was my favorite one. We have no basis for wearing clothing…..except that we accept that we began wearing clothing as our ancient ancestors EVOLVED to have less and less body hair.

  • ReadsInTrees

    Except that the slight hindrance of clothing is all that stops us atheists from going out and having mass orgies.

  • NewDawn2006

    So we don’t follow the laws of Leviticus? Says the guy who probably eats shrimp, wears fabric of mixed material, has shaved/cut his hair, and has not sold his daughter into slavery…

  • jose

    I like to imagine a dictator asking the same sort of questions to people who live in a democracy.

    “How can you decide policies? There’s no basis to decide the direction of the country.”
    “Why do you have a flag at your balcony? Nobody will put you in prison if you don’t.”

  • ESC_key

     I actually had a guy come into the coffee shop that I work at one time who was going on and on about how “communist regimes” were responsible for more loss of human life than any other in history. I looked up at him and responded that if I were to cast a vote, it would probably be for the Church (crusades, Inquisition, etc) He looked at me blankly and muttered something about how he “was only talking about the last 100 years or so.” A classic goalpost move, and more of exactly what you’re talking about!

  • Godless Bastard

    Regarding “Atheists have no reason not to kill themselves…”

  • Frank

    So you critically respond to a bunch of assumptions with a bunch of assumptions. Maybe he does have the part about atheists lacking logic right….

  • Bozartg

    This type of thought should not surprise anyone. It comes from a mind who believes parables from a book written by superstitous men from eras filled with fear and ignorance.

  • mechanoid

    Yah, Bodie Hodge constructs some mind-searing statements, but I suspect he knows what he’s doing… that is, I think this is deliberate trolling.

    In SEO land, we like to call this kind of article “link bait”.

  • Brudder

    When did orgies become bad? Nobody said anything about orgies in that article. Leave orgies alone.

  • advancedatheist

    I didn’t see an explicit claim by Hodge about atheists’ alleged promiscuity. Apparently word has gotten around the christian community that atheist men can’t even ask atheist women out for coffee these days without causing an internet flame war. 

    Interestingly enough, William J. Murray, the son of Madalyn O’Hair who converted to christianity, says contradictory things about his family’s sex lives. In 1995 a disgruntled employee of American Atheists murdered Madalyn, her other son Jon, and her granddaughter (William’s daughter and Jon’s niece) Robin, so they can’t gainsay him now.  In William’s book about Madalyn, he claims that she obsessed about sex and wanted to create a swinging sexual utopia as part of her vision of an atheistic society. But elsewhere on the internet he writes that Robin had trouble finding and keeping boyfriends, and that his brother Jon apparently died a 40-year-old virgin. R0bin and Jon both lived with Madalyn, so I guess that Madalyn’s  sexual utopia didn’t exist under her roof. 

  • Question Everything

    This piece lists 13 assumptions claimed in the linked article, and makes a couple of its own, which seem to be:

    * Hodge thinks he’s figured out how atheists think.  That seems fair, given the number of claims Hodge makes about how atheists think and what they do.

    * Hodge has created a straw man.  Given he is postulating how he seems to think atheists think and act, then cuts it down, that seems very strawman-ish behavior.

    * These are the results of listening to Ken Ham all day long.  I’ll give you that one – I have heard no evidence that Hodge listens to Ham all day, though given this was posted via Answers in Genesis, and Ham is the CEO of said group, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hodge knows of what Ham states.  I’d call it exaggeration for effect, but not a deliberate misstatement or misunderstanding of the position.

    So, about the lacking in logic – even if you were correct, and all three of these positions were wrong, what does that say about the linked article, where even just the quick list from it appearing here has 13 items which are trivial to disprove?

  • DougI

    So Christians believe Columbus day is a holy day since it’s a holiday?   Do they worship Columbus as one of their gods now?  Or how about Martin Luther King Jr.?  Maybe he had a deadline and just cribbed everything from a Jack Chick comic.  Not like the editors are terribly picky at Ken Ham’s office.

  • Annie

     I liked this one too.  I can always tell who’s an atheist… I just look for the people walking around town naked!

  • advancedatheist

    Atheists hate taking showers and using soap and being clean since we have no basis for cleanliness

    Apparently Hodge doesn’t know much about the history of christian hygiene. At one time christian saints would boast that their bodies never touched water unless they got rained on or they forded a creek. They also called their lice “pearls of god.”

  • Frank

    Don’t forget about the assumption that he doesn’t know any atheists.

    My point is that there were assumptions cast from both sides which certainly weakens the criticism.

  • TychaBrahe

    I challenge you to fry bacon naked.

  • Question Everything

    If he knew any atheists, why would he cast those (at least) 13 easily disproven points that are easy to show as false if you know any atheist, or even do a simple web search about them?  He doesn’t even need to know any atheists to disprove them, yet he still asserts them.  Inferring that he doesn’t know any seems fair, or that he’s being deliberately dishonest, take your pick.

    And again, even if I give you that one extra.. the linked article still gives more than 3x the number of easily disproven items.  Disproven items that aren’t even personal (like if Hodge knows any atheists, or listens to Ham or not), but general to the group being described (in this case, Hodge’s points about atheists).

    And remember, I’m just giving you those points as an example of relative potential dishonesty.  I only partially admit two issues – the first is about listening to Ham all day (which I believe was exaggerated for effect), and the other about the knowing any atheists (since we don’t know for sure, but if he does, he’s being obviously dishonest about what he knows of them).

    Personally, I don’t deliberately malign people I know, so if he does that to atheists he knows, I feel bad for them.  And him, really.

    So yes, I suppose, the criticism isn’t without criticisms.  That doesn’t make them equally bad, by any stretch.

  • Rwlawoffice

    There is no defense of the crusades and the inquisition (or any death done in an effort to promote Chrstianity) although it can be argued that those that do are not keeping to the true teachings of Christianity. So I am notvdefendingbthem.

    Tat being said however, the numbers of people killed in the crusades or the inquisition are not even close to those killed by communist regimes. It’s thousand verses multi millions.

  • Rwlawoffice

    That should have been thousands,not thousand

  • machintelligence

    Is that where “air of sanctity” comes from? I thought it had something to do with incense and bee’s wax candles!

  • Frank

    Point taken. I am not an atheist but I don’t believe any of those things about atheists.

  • C Peterson

    The actual number isn’t important. The only reason that more people were killed by 20th century despots is because they had better technology. If the Crusaders had machine guns, nuclear weapons, or poison gas, there’s nothing to suggest that the death toll wouldn’t have been much higher. The intent to kill was the same.

    Furthermore, the number of people killed by so-called atheist regimes because of their religious views was tiny. These regimes killed people who they considered dissidents- the vast majority of whom were punished for their political views, not their religion. Unlike the Christian regimes who killed in the actual name of Christianity, no atheist ruler has ever killed because of atheism.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    The weirdest one on there is “Atheists hate taking showers and using soap and being clean since we have no basis for cleanliness”

    We obviously have many basis for cleanliness. To attract people, to not offend others with body odor, and to prevent disease to just name a few.

    The writer seems to forget the reason that many christians didn’t take baths. They thought only the horny, pagan, idolatrous Romans took baths and some even boasted how they had only take “x” number of baths in their life time. 

    Oh wait, this is a fundie, so I forgot that history and intellectual honesty don’t matter. 

  • Artor

    Really? It hasn’t stopped me.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    One of the links in that article was to one of Ham’s “articles”.
    It started with:
    “‘Facts’ by themselves are meaningless, and must be interpreted within a philosophical framework.”

    … That’s as far as I got.

  • Rwlawoffice

    We have been down this road before and suffice it to say I disagree with your conclusion that those atheist communists leaders did not kill in an effort to promote a secular atheist society.

  • TCC

    Of course you do, but that doesn’t mean that you have any actual reasons for that position. It’s a matter of convenience for you. On the other hand, even suggesting that religion has resulted in a lot of atrocities isn’t an argument about the truth of falsity of religion; that is an entirely separate question, and the more important one, in my opinion.

  • chanceofrainne

    Man, I’m gonna save all KINDS of money on my water bill now that I have no basis for cleanliness.

  • Wildbill040

    Micheal Shermer has to explain to me again how people can think like this. I still don’t understand how a functional person can be so illogical.

  • chanceofrainne

    Right? And if atheists prefer to be naked, who’s going to wear all these atheist scarves I’ve knitted?

  • GloomCookie613

    What do you think the smell of the incense was covering up?

  • Guesty Guest

    Hold on a sec. Aren’t you the very same guy who was arguing that civil leaders are empowered to establish new religious holidays out of whole cloth?

    I’m flabbergasted anyone here takes you seriously enough to even respond. More power to them, I guess.

  • Guesty Guest

    There’s this wonderful thing called a splatterscreen…

  • Mike D

    I’ve never understood that last one… heard it a few times recently. Believers are the ones who think that upon the moment of death, they’ll be zipped away to paradise forever and ever. We’re the ones who have to appreciate the time we have.

  • Cincinatheist

    Agreed. I won’t click through to AiG anymore because I saw they’re having a hard time raising enough money to build their Ark Park and that the “museum” is starting to lose money. I’d prefer to keep it that way.

  • kaydenpat

    Atheists must be responsible for murder and rape, because “most murderers, tyrants, and rapists are not biblical Christians”

    So there are no Christians in jail?  This point has been debunked by statistics.  The vast majority of people in American jails are Christians.

  • TCC

    You seem to misunderstand the difference between an assumption and an inference.

  • The Godless Monster

     No, they killed to promote an ideology. Communism merely replaced traditional religions, but the end result was the same. Any time anyone gives themselves over to ideology instead of reason, bad things happen.
    You might want to dig a little into the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, et al, to have a clearer understanding of what they were going for and what their motivations were. Secularism was the furthest thing from their minds.

  • 1Dad2Four

    simple… years & years of delusional indoctrination.

  • Ladycopper5

    LOL, this is the sort of thing I grew up thinking was true about atheists. I know a LOT of people who might not agree with the whole list if they saw it all at once but would agree with a lot of the items if presented separately. It’s been kind of a mindf*** for them to see me become an atheist and NOT turn into a version of the monster in the picture.

  • James Buchy

    Hmmm..I see. So, instead of saying that it’s a fact that 2+2=4, we should philosophically interpret it as 2+2=blueberries. Make sense.

  • WoodwindsRock

    “Atheists have no reason not to kill themselves”

    Aside from, I don’t know, the fact that we don’t believe in life after death and therefore live for this life?

    Christians who try to claim that atheists can not have any value for living life are making utter fools of themselves.

  • Rolf Boettger

     There are no “biblical Christians” or “True Christians” in jail.  Because you can’t possible be a “biblical Christian” if you did something unbiblical.  If that rapist had offered to marry his victim he wouldn’t be in jail now.  See, it’s a biblical get-out-of-jail card.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    From a certain point of view, what he says is true.

    Hmmm…maybe Star Wars shouldn’t be applied to everything.

    Of course, that was Obi-Wan saying, “I lied, deal with it because Lucas can’t retcon a logical explaination.” Maybe it fits after all. Ham is lying because he can’t retcon the Bible with a logical explaination.

    That clinches it. Star Wars works for everything.
    *off to join the Church of the Jedi*

  • Chris Rubel

    “Atheists have no evidence that ‘contradicts the Bible’s account of creation’”
    Yeah. Except for the evidence that we have.

  • Glasofruix

     At some point the church even taught that taking a bath was bad for health…

  • Anna

    I am so glad I grew up far, far away from fundamentalists! I was never exposed to negative ideas about atheism, most likely because I wasn’t raised around any type of organized religion. I had no clue that other people would think there was something wrong with not believing in a god.

    What’s scary is that this type of drivel seems to be pushed in a lot of different church environments. They can’t just accept that atheism exists. It’s like they have to demonize us to keep their followers in the fold. Maybe they think if they scare their members enough, they’ll never consider looking at the world in a secular way?

  • The Other Weirdo

    About the clothes-wearing thing… Adam and Even were naked in the beginning and didn’t mind it, because they were pure. When they fell, they put clothes on because they were ashamed. If atheists don’t want to wear clothes(well, he got me there, there’s a reason my blinds and drapes are always closed, but we don’t talk about that) doesn’t that mean we’re pure and not sinful like the clothes-wearing Christians?

  • Vlasta Bubinka

    The Atheist Scarves is a great band name…

  • The Other Weirdo

     Did you just Jedi Knight this conversation? LOL!

  • Gumbright

    I took the original piece and went sentence by sentence eliminating each that had a logical error, was unfounded, flat out false, etc.  I was left with one:

    “Of course, as a Christian I disagree, and I have a basis to see you as having value.” as that is an opinion statement fundamentally.  

    What a wonderful bit of writing the piece is.  And the believers wonder why we get annoyed.

  • The Other Weirdo

     Where I’m from—the former Soviet Union—nobody gave a good God damn about secularism or atheism. Nobody spoke about it, nobody thought about it. Not the civilians, and certainly not the ruling Communist party. All that mattered was the Party Line. Our revulsion for religion and god wasn’t atheistic, but rather classist.

    It’s apparent, in the retrospect of the 35 years not having lived there, that the Party had simply replaced the Christian religion of previous centuries with the Communistic one.

  • Plasticpony256

    Great fodder for humorous jabs at an obvious moron, though it disturbs me to think that there is an audience for this damaging rhetoric.

  • newavocation

    Well how can you argue with him when thinks so highly of Xians!  

  • Willy Occam

    OK, here’s something I’ve wondered about, and maybe one of the Christians lurking on this site can provide an answer:

    If I believed that this life was only a temporary waiting room for eternity in heaven with God and Jesus, I would want to get out of here as quickly as I could in order to be with them (and with all my deceased relatives, friends, pets, etc.).  Assuming that suicide is a sin and would send me to hell, that would clearly not be an option.  So instead, I would probably seek out risky situations that might result in my accidental death; and to ensure that God wouldn’t think this was just some sneaky ploy to get into heaven, I would do this in the service of others.  For example, I witness an armed robbery taking place and instead of cowering in fear for my life, I would boldly approach the perpetrator in an attempt to stop the crime.  If I succeed, I’m a hero, even though I will still be stuck in this mortal life; if I fail, the criminal blows me away and I get to meet my maker.  Win-win situation. 

    I don’t understand why we don’t hear stories of such Christian heroics/martyrdom, given the fact that so many of them want to get on with the next life so badly, the one that apparently gives this one meaning. 

  • Plasticpony256

    I see Rwlawoffice is still trolling this blog, I wonder what he is coveting so much that drives his fanaticism, perhaps he desires to “save” all the young handsome boys he often gazes upon.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Don’t you mean True Christians™? 

  • Deven Kale

     Done it. It’s not that bad, really.

  • Godlesspanther

    Gee, Bodie seems like a real barrel of fun. I’m going to have to invite him next time I have a party. 

  • Deven Kale

     They also killed fewer people because there were fewer people to kill. If you go by percentage of total population in that given area, the church would still likely be higher than communist regimes.

  • Plasticpony256

    The answer is simple: Self Preservation. Let’s call it the Kingdom Come Paradox, Should the christian do all that he can to survive as long as he can with the hope that jesus will return in his lifetime or should he just completely give into gods will. This of course depends on which schism the christian adheres to but most southern baptist follow the former verses the later or roman catholic stance of getting on with living

  • Deven Kale

     This is probably one of the best responses I’ve ever seen.

  • Kari Lynn

    Does vegetarian bacon count? 

  • Rando

     You don’t need Michael Shermer to explain it. It’s simple, intellectual dishonesty, coupled with a willingness to lie to ignorant masses, in order to sucker donations from these very same ignorant masses.

  • Helanna

    That was true for me about two months ago.

    Now it’s November, and everyone up here has *really good* reasons for wearing clothes. Lots of them.

  • Plasticpony256

    I always figured that we started wearing clothing due to the adverse weather conditions we encountered after migrating from the warmer equator

  • Gumbright

    I take the back. Silly me.  It is just a conditional  (p-> q) and one not a valid one at that.

  • Kerri Russ

    stop being logical.

  • Kerri Russ

    Link please.  I need an atheist scarf.  :-)

  • Kerri Russ

    The problem with that logic is that they say Hitler obviously wasn’t a TRUE believer because he killed people… then there are the holocaust deniers who don’t care one way or the other because it never happened.

    Seriously had this conversation with a former believer friend (moved away, no more contact) and she insisted that despite all evidence showing Hitler to be a believer, he obviously wasn’t because he killed people.  No believer will kill because it’s against the 10 commandments.  So as soon as someone, anyone of any belief, kills, they are automatically kicked out of the club.

    I disagreed, of course, citing God’s desire to kill at will for no reason at all, but that didn’t sway her.  She just plugged her ears harder with her fingers.

  • chanceofrainne

    If you really want one, I can totally hook you up.  You can contact me on twitter at this username. :)

  • Rando

     You’ve obviously never tried driving while naked. Way better. Although getting a speeding ticket while buck naked becomes rather awkward. It was funny hearing that cop stop cold in mid sentence.

  • Hans Solo

    “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

  • Glasofruix

     Nope, because there is NO such thing as vegetarian bacon ;)

  • Atheist
  • TheBlackCat

     That’s cheating!

  • Rwlawoffice

    I’m the same guy who rightfully said that thanksgiving was established as a national holiday to set aside a day dedicated to giving thanks to God

    So what’s your point?

  • allein

    Yes, but their beliefs are TRUE so they NEED to share them. We have no basis for doing so because obviously our “beliefs” aren’t TRUE. And we know it!

    Most people in my life don’t even know that I’m an atheist. I’m hardly proselytizing anything. So, no, I do not feel conflicted. :)

  • allein

    Is it just me or does this guy sound a lot like a certain recently-banned “Calvinist” troll? …phrases like “chemical reactions” and “in the atheist worldview,” etc. I know he’s not the only one out there who thinks this way; maybe I just read a few too many of the threads he hijacked (for the lulz or glutton for punishment? you decide.)but those phrases are making me twitch a bit.

  • Antinomian

    The only thing he forgot was our predilection for grilled baby.

  • SumAnon

    Wow. Just… wow.

  • Unindoctrin8ed

    I think it’s a mistake to think this idiot, or any of his ilk, actually believe what they say.  I think they just find out what their audience believes then parrot it back to them thereby confirming their already held absurd beliefs and inflating their egos. It’s not as if his followers are going to fact-check anything anyway.

  • James

    To be fair, I do love being naked.

  • Adam Thorn

    I would but I drive a bike and it would be very cold. Probably fun though.

  • Adam Thorn

    More heating, less clothing is more my style for the winter.