Robertson's bloody fantasy about an "atheist family" reveals the ugly beliefs of religious zealots
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty revealed the demented mind behind the religious right last week. He recently gave a speech at a Christian prayer breakfast, which was supposed to be “family oriented.” Robertson decided to use time in his speech to make a rather horrifying and patently absurd analogy, one that involved the theoretical rape and murder of an “atheist” family. Robertson not only unnerved me with his words, he angered me as well.
Phil Robertson has made a fool out of himself before. Not that long ago he was suspended from Duck Dynasty when he made incendiary remarks comparing being gay to bestiality and incest. Yet, this time Robertson went to an entirely different level, one which did more than make him look foolish. It made him look outright demented.
Robertson’s analogy was this; there is an “atheist” family, with a dad, mom, and two little girls. Robertson called them, an “atheist” wife, and “two little atheist daughters.” He then proceeded to give a scenario in which men break into their home, rape the little girls, decapitate the wife, and then cut off the genitals of the husband/father after being tied to a chair and gagged.
Robertson’s point was to show his image of a world where people don’t believe in God. Not just “God”, but his specific Christian one. Robertson was saying that “it’s you atheists who say there’s no God, no right or wrong, no morals. We’re just having fun, right? Nothing wrong here!” He not only makes one of the oldest and most asinine arguments in favor of theistic Christianity, he also reveals the hidden mindset of many on the religious right.
To address Phil’s general analogy, no, you do not need to believe in God in order to have morals. Robertson, like many religious zealots, assume off-hand that anyone who doesn’t believe in their idea of “God” has no moral compass and have no conception of right or wrong. If you don’t believe in Christ or Yahweh, then you cannot have a concept of morality. Belief in his God is the basis of “right and wrong” to Robertson and his right-wing ilk.
The philosophic nuance to this issue extends great, though I wouldn’t consider Phil Robertson a philosopher in any way. Even religious scholars agree that a belief in God does not necessarily constitute one developing moral principles, and lacking a belief does not forbid one to develop these principles. Robertson and the religious right have no concept of nuance, and deal only in strict literalness.
Some conservatives (like Dennis Prager) would say you can be good without God, but what you define as “good” is purely subject to human interpretation. Only “God’s Law” can be the ultimate (unchanging) good that no man can challenge. Allow me to challenge it, then.
For one, biblical law is shifty and contradicts each other often. The 10 Commandments, God’s perfect rule-book for how to live, has very little to do with personal morals. Only four on the list could be seen as having anything to do with morality, while the first six commandments are rules about how man is to treat God. What does morality have to do with graven images, respecting the Sabbath day, or not worshiping other gods have to do with being “good?” To the layman, it doesn’t.
The shifty nature of biblical morals is that it is not absolute, the way its proponents claim. In fact, it is just as much open to human interpretation as god-free secular values. Religious people debate “God’s Law” often, and more often than not important aspects of “God’s Law” seem to be promulgated by people with political agendas.
Also, even God himself is contradictory on morality. In one verse we are told “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The next few verses then order all the followers of Yahweh to slaughter those who worship other gods, as well as burning their cities and keeping their virgin girls for themselves. The bible is rife with examples of hypocritical morals, that change as often as God’s mood. It’s called “Divine Command Theory.”
Divine Command states that “God” doesn’t have to be bound by what us humans in this age consider “moral” or “good.” Whatever God commands is by definition “good”, no matter how horrible we as humans may see it. When God ordered Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, or brought plague upon Egypt’s first-born, this was a good act by definition of the fact that God commanded it. By this logic, we see why guys like Robertson believe what they do.
Robertson’s tirade not only revealed the hypocritical notion of “right and wrong” he holds, it also reveals a rather disgusting side that he now probably wishes hadn’t come out. The analogy he gave was so graphic, that one has to wonder whether or not he had been fantasizing about the scenario beforehand.
I can’t assume anything without evidence, yet it seems rather bizarre for Robertson to make the case he did (in a family audience) without him feeling strongly about it. Perhaps this was not the first time that Robertson thought about this raped and murdered family. The language he used to describe his analogy was unsettling. “Atheist wife”, “two little atheist daughters?” It’s chilling how detached he sounds when describing, what should be, a scene of great horror.
Atheists and secularists like myself have probably read dozens, if not hundreds, of comments and messages on the web in which religious conservatives express their fantasies for wanting to maim and kill those who disagree with them. This especially goes to those who doubt the existence of their God. Hell, even on non-religion related issues conservatives attack with nasty fantasies about hurting their opponents and their families.
If anyone wants to know what I mean, simply have a chat with Quiet Mike’s own columnist Chad R. MacDonald. Or better yet, just read any of the comment sections on one of his articles on Gun Control. The vitriol is sickening when fully understood.
I’m just going to say it: Phil Robertson is a Scumbag. His disgusting fantasy not only revealed the shitty person he is, but probably scared the hell out of his listeners, and once again showed the nonsensical arguing points of religious extremists. This asshat will keep going out in public and keep speaking his disturbed mind. Perhaps it’s the quickest way to be rid of him for good. Once more know what he really thinks, the rest will take care of itself.
Robertson is to be ignored and watched carefully. He reminds me of osama bin laden before he joined up with the bush family and dickless cheney to hit the Twin Towers.
This guy is a freak and very hateful person. Who is he to stand up and judge? I think that this is his sick fantasy. He is Nuts. He clamps he is Christian by I don’t think so.
It has nothing to do with Jesus’ message…
As a 60 year old Jewish woman I have struggled since my teen years with the concept of God and religion. I know through my many readings that even people of extreme religious beliefs such as Priests and Rabbis also struggle with faith. However I almost never have to struggle with my moral code. I do not abstain from killing,stealing,lying,cheating and or other negative moral actions because of my religious beliefs. I abstain because it is wrong for one human to harm another for personal gain. I do good because it makes me feel good. I am charitable because I have empathy for others not because my God Daddy tells me to be charitable. Do I believe in a power greater than myself. I do not know but it is part of my journey through life. However God is not who controls my behavior. I do. And I choose to treat people as I want them to treat me.Not because Some Man in a book tells me to but because that is how I think all people should treat each other. People like Phil Robertson only behave out of fear of the consequences. Thus when their “God” tells them to kill or rape they have excuses to give in to the evil that is truly the only thing they actually worship. I choose to listen to my rational brain that allows me empathy for all sentient beings and try every day to behave in the way I can be proud of.
Well said, I wish I had said this!
Amazing, how voices of hate inside the Christian community try to say that religiousity and morality are linked, that atheists cannot possibly have one without the other.
I’m reminded that the two pillars of the KKK are patriotism and Christianity.
Throw a keffiyeh on this Duck dick and you get ISIS. The number of fundies is said to be waning in this country, but it seems they’re hell-bent on trashing the place on their way out.
We can only hope.
Roberson should open his Bible to The Book of Micah. 6:8.