…Since you obviously don’t understand it.
I am writing this in response to a request from Miri Mogilevsky of the Brute Reason blog here on FTB. As has been widely reported, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson went off on a rant in which he fantasized about a male atheist (men presumably being the only people Robertson’s audience can identify with) being tied up and forced to watch strangers rape his wife and daughters. “And 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?'”
Miri is writing an article and requested “perspectives from atheist leaders/activists about how we know that rape is wrong without believing in god and also how it feels when a Christian concocts a rape fantasy about atheists in order to make a point. For my purposes, a leader is anyone who has a position in a secular organization or group, or who has a blog or some other position of influence.”
Most atheists I know take a consequentialist view of morality. The right or wrong of an action can only be judged by the consequences it has on the lives of sentient beings. Rape is wrong because it causes pain and suffering to a person. If you kill somebody, the consequence is that a person is dead. If you steal something, the consequence is that a person loses property that they may need, and also feels threatened and insecure. If you rape somebody, the consequence is physical and emotional trauma and the experience of betrayal and fear, not to mention the usual dangers of unprotected sex. None of this is at all hard to grasp for a person with a working sense of empathy.
On the other hand, the Bible frequently condones rape and murder, presented in many stories in which those actions are supported by the God character. On multiple occasions God commands the Israelites to “kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man” (Numbers 31:17-18) or similar instructions. Also, “if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife.” (Deuteronomy 21:11) Consent is never mentioned or required.
Modern Christians manage to overlook or downplay these verses, dismissing them by saying “But that’s the Old Testament.” This is just one of many cases in which morality is not determined by the Bible, but instead the Bible is retroactively justified in the context of consequentialist morality that has been derived from modern social conventions.