A world(view) without morals

Imagine living in a world where you had absolutely no insight into good and evil, a world where you were completely incapable of seeing anything inherently wrong with assault, torture, rape, mutilation, and murder. Imagine being taught a morality so twisted and perverse that the only way you could be persuaded not to do such things is if you imagined some immensely powerful, magical being threatening to hurt you for a very long time if you did them.

Imagine living in Phil Robertson’s world(view)WARNING: Graphic rape/torture/murder fantasy, compliments of Christian hero Robertson, at the other end of that link.

As reported by Raw Story, Robertson entertained folks at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast with this charming tale of atheists getting what he presumably thinks they deserve.

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson told the religious gathering. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him.”

“Then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them, and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him,” Robertson continued, “and then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now, is it dude?’”

Fortunately, I’m an atheist, so I do know that assault and rape and murder and torture and so on are all wrong. And what’s more, I can give you real-world reasons why these things are wrong. And if it weren’t for religious superstition, I bet even Ol’ Phil could think of some reasons, quite apart from any magical friend in the sky, why these things are wrong in and of themselves. Which means, in fact, that we don’t need any gods in order to know the difference between right and wrong.

Because here’s the thing: if murder and mutilation and rape are wrong in and of themselves, then they’re wrong whether you believe or not, and Phil’s violent fantasy is just exposing the unreasoning hatred that fills his own heart. Shame on you, Phil, for giving in to such brutal fantasies, and reveling in them to the point that you felt you had to share them with your fellow Christians.

But here’s the other thing: if murder and mutilation and rape are not wrong in and of themselves, if God’s say-so is the only reason (in your mind, Phil) why we should refrain from such practices, then there would be nothing wrong with God saying, “Ok, go ahead, I approve.” If they’re not evil in and of themselves, apart from God’s say-so, then there’s no reason God has to say they’re evil. You, Phil, are just one whisper in your head away from being one of those two guys, and living out that fantasy.

That’s why you, Phil, and all your torture-loving fellow Christians (oh, excuse me, I mean “enhanced-interrogation-loving, ” right?) are sick in the head. Your religion gives you a convenient way to sanitize crimes like torture and murder, in the name of giving God the glory as the ultimate authority for right and wrong. It lets you conclude that God’s will is the only basis for judging right from wrong, just as it lets you deny that there’s any atheistic, real-world basis for acknowledging that murder and torture are wrong. It cripples your understanding of morality, and makes you capable of doing anything you’re willing to believe God wants you to do—including murder, torture, and all the other things you fantasize about.

Stay away from religion folks. Atheists are the only people who know the real-world reasons why bad things are genuinely bad. Christianity only screws up your head.


  1. says

    Right, because if god gave him morality, he chose to fantasize about those things knowing they were wrong, i.e.: god either told him “these things are wrong” and he fantasized about doing them to an atheist (making him a thought-criminal) or god told him that he should fantasize about doing those things and he had no idea they were wrong — in which case he might just as well have fantasized about giving the atheist a large pizza and some breadsticks and a back-rub. Since that wasn’t the scenario, I guess he’s saying that he’d go against his god-given morality to score debater’s points off an atheist. Hey, god? Your follower appears to be seriously off the rails in the Following Thy Will department, you might want to call him home or sic the invisible hand of the market on him or whatever it is you do.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Not only that, but the real essence of his fantasy is the part where the atheists DESERVE to be treated like that for not believing in God. The whole point of imagining this sadistic and brutal butchery is so he can laugh and say, “Ha, serves you right.” It’s the Christian doctrine of Hell boiled down to 3 hateful paragraphs. He’s teaching us morality by giving us a perfect example of how NOT to do it.

  2. Ed says

    The problem with these types of challenges to atheism (the “you’ll wind up with a bunch of murder, rape and torture if you don’t believe in God !!” type of thing) is that it is entirely self-subverting if thought about for a minute.

    Contemplating a world with even more senseless cruelty than we already have is indeed disturbing–to everyone who isn’t a psychopath–not just people with a particular set of beliefs.

    So if every halfway reasonable person anywhere opposes these things, how exactly are they dependent on Christianity or any other religion? If the majority don’t want antisocial behavior, then they should organize to suppress it. If they have the right to vote, they should vote for better laws.

    People don’t need religion to give them a sense of what’s moral. They already have it (though in some cases inconsistently). If the big doomsday scenario was specific to a particular religion, no one but believers in that religion would be bothered.

    “How would you like to live in a world where anybody could just go kill people whenever they felt like it with no consequences?”–Almost everyone answers “no damn way!”

    But ask “would you like to live in a world where no one believed in the Nicean Creed(or alternatively, didn’t go on pilgrimages to Mecca, didn’t observe sundown Friday through sundown Saturday as the Sabbath, etc.) ” the answer from the majority of human beings would range from “yes” to “I wouldn’t care one way or the other.”

    Empathy and desire for basic social order aren’t religious doctrines!

  3. says

    Imagine living in a world where you had absolutely no insight into good and evil, a world where you were completely incapable of seeing anything inherently wrong with assault, torture, rape, mutilation, and murder.

    So, imagine I’m Adam, living in Eden?

  4. says

    His basic argument that atheists have no basis for morality is oft-refuted bullshit, but at least it’s old boring bullshit that familiarity has reduced to the level of being merely irritating. What’s truly disturbing is the graphic detail he goes into to make that point. Seriously, dude: that’s the kind of shit that’s in your head? I want as much distance between you and me as possible….

  5. says

    Graphic, brutal fantasies? Check.
    Talking about said horrors publicly? Check.
    Moral boundaries to actually taking said actions? Tenuous – could be modified or rescinded at any moment by the capricious Tyrant who imposed them, if said Tyrant’s own biographies and subsequent fan-fic is anything to go by.

    Robertson (and he’s not the only one) would have us believe he’s two and a half out of three steps toward being an unapologetic, rapacious psychopath, but for the short leash the djinn he worships has him on. If that truly is the case* I hope stays the fuck away from decent people, or people in general, until he can find a system of morality that’s less subject to Developer’s Whim than Facebook’s terms of service.

    *I honestly doubt that Robertson’s morality is on such shaky foundations, nor would he admit to them being so. This schtick of demonising atheists with fifty-cent horror stories is as integral a part of fundamentalist Christianity as racism, misogyny and homophobia.

    • John Horstman says

      I honestly doubt that Robertson’s morality is on such shaky foundations

      Do you? He’s a slavery apologist and rape apologist, as you allude in the very next sentence. I think you’re projecting your own ethics and thus finding it difficult to imagine that anyone could be so callous. People who rape, mutilate, and murder observably exist, yet people who aren’t horrible still often have trouble accepting this (I get pretty fed up with anyone insisting on the intrinsic goodness or even value of human beings or human life when Boko Haram and the Islamic State exist). I think we should take Robertson at his word that he is exactly the sort of person who is only constrained by his imaginary universal authoritarian and would see nothing wrong with his lurid fantasy if he knew Yahweh were imaginary.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        I think most people tend to be naturally good to one another, but with a psychological weakness that makes them capable of appalling brutality whenever they feel like they are obeying a higher authority and/or whenever they feel like their targets are somehow “other.” It so happens that religion is very good at creating both prerequisites for atrocity, but politics works just as well sometimes.

        That said, there are people who are callous, selfish, brutal predators, and I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover that Robertson was one of them.

  6. Edward Black says

    What got me in his little nasty story, was that the two young daughters and wife were raped and murdered in front of the man to teach HIM a lesson. The daughters and wife’s violation and suffering was totally invisible in Robertson’s mind. It is perhaps what I would expect of a misogynist bible-thumper but as I know he is a husband and father it made me sick. Also, it can be read that Good Christians were doing the rape and murder. Isn’t that just a little bit of sin and wrongdoing? Or did Jesus teach rape, murder was just fine if the victims are not Good Christians?

    • Deacon Duncan says

      You know, now that you mention it, the attackers do indeed seem to be acting from a theistic worldview. It’s not atheists, by and large, who go around saying that there can be no morality without God. And it’s certainly not atheists who go around saying that the atheistic worldview makes it perfectly fine to commit atrocities against atheists. The only people who would gloat over their savagery against atheists the way these barbarians do, are people who agree with Robertson that morality can only come from God and from a fear of eternal damnation in hell. That’s the Christian worldview, not the secular one.

      This isn’t just a rape/mutilation/murder fantasy, it’s a personal revenge fantasy. The rapist-murderers are his alter egos, cackling with Robertson’s own glee at the vengeance they are wreaking on those who dare to disbelieve his superstitions.

      • says

        Actually, I got the creepy feeling that, in a Christianist dictatorship, he’d go out and do exactly that. Sort of like the way ISIS behaves.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Yeah, I hate to say it, but I get the same feeling. Religion is even better at enabling evil than it is at restraining it. For the glory of God, of course (which in Arabic is “Allahu akbar,” more or less).

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