NOTE: This is my longest rant. So far. And I’ve been doing this site for five years. Just wanted to warn you. – Chris
Last time Phil Robertson, host of Duck Dynasty, said something stupid, I didn’t say much. I might have said something on Facebook along the lines of “He’s a dude who looks like he’s in ZZ Top, what do you expect?” A lot of people agreed with me. I support freedom of speech, and think it even includes bigots. As Bill Maher said, when Hank Williams Jr. said something stupid, “Hank Williams Junior can say some ignorant shit on Fox News without the good people demanding he be thrown off Monday Night Football. Yes he compared Obama to Hitler but he, and this is the crucial part, is Hank Williams Junior. I don’t expect cogent political analysis from Bosephus.”
So when I heard that Mr. Robertson had said something ridiculous, I wasn’t surprised. And then I read it. Let me be clear, my website is dedicated to complaining. I go out of my way to shock and provoke. Let’s just agree that I’m not easily offended. But holy fuck. This is one seriously sick person. Oh. Not Mr. Robertson. He’s just a Christian fundamentalist. No. I mean, Mr. John Nolte who wrote this little nugget of dumbfuckery.
Before I get into my ridicule of Mr. Nolte’s asinine observations, I do want to address Mr. Robertson’s quote. For those who haven’t clicked on the above link, or who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a quick recap. A year or so ago, Phil Robertson said that homosexuality was a sin. He’s a Christian. No surprise there. But he said it while listing a bunch of other sins, including bestiality. Interestingly absent from this list of sins were: not eating cheeseburgers (Leviticus 3:17), having tattoos (Leviticus 19:28), and my favorite, considering his audience, eating bacon (Leviticus 11:7).
After this, educated people all over the world called him a homophobic bigot. Because, you know, he is. Then his hillbilly hunting show was cancelled. A week later, it was reinstated.
Recently, Mr. Robertson was giving a speech at a prayer breakfast. He made the common assumption that atheists had no morals, had no sense of right or wrong, and therefore, they couldn’t complain if something horrible happened to them. These are very frequent misunderstandings of atheism, morality, and judgement. But, again, he’s a Christian, so no surprise there. The problem came from how he phrased it. So here you go. Read in horror.
“I’ll make a bet with you. 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. And 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. 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?’
Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’
If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right.”
Wow. Could you imagine the outrage on Fox News if an atheist tried to justify raping or murdering Christians, simply because they were Christians? But as I’ve said, many, if not most Christians agree with this. They just don’t phrase it this harshly. My parents believe that since I’m an atheist, they have failed their god and me as both humans and parents. Some Christians believe that my parents should go to hell for it. According to the bible, apostasy is the one UNFORGIVABLE sin (Mark 3:28-29). So in this rape example, the rapists and murders could commit the crimes, then find Jesus, become saved, and go to Heaven. Meanwhile the raped and murdered atheists are condemned to eternal punishment. Don’t worry, we’re going to get into morality shortly, but just remember that part. Luckily, as we progressives make… PROGRESS, these lunatics are becoming more and more of a minority. That’s the only reason people like Mr. Robertson have such influence. The uneducated, superstitious, trailer kings in this country are becoming less and less important to society. They used to grow our food. Now they make McDonald’s rich. When they see someone on TV saying the same insane rantings they say, they flock to them.
Enter Mr. Nolte. To save time, I’m just going to copy and paste some parts from his article that I want to address. Anything in BOLD is a direct quote from the article. The rest are my comments.
DEBUNKED: MEDIA’S LATEST IGNORANT, BIGOTED ATTACK ON ‘DUCK DYNASTY’S’ PHIL ROBERTSON
This is the headline. Debunked? Really? Let’s see how that plays out.
The same media currently looking the other way with respect to this, this and this, are once again — out of bigotry, ignorance, or both — attacking “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson for doing absolutely nothing wrong (unless you count being a Southern Christian wrong).
I actually do count being religious wrong, regardless of which brand, but I’ll get to that later. For the sake of argument, I’ll actually skip this point. How is it bigotous and/or ignorant to decry horrible behavior? Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. It’s not at all ignorant to quote someone WORD FOR WORD, and then address THOSE WORDS, IN THE ORDER SPOKEN. A bigot is someone who shows intolerance to those who don’t share their beliefs… like religious people. Like Mr. Robertson in particular. If your opponent has morally wrong opinions or behavior, it is your moral obligation to object. I think any Christian would agree to this. That’s the core of the abortion and gay marriage debates. The only difference, is that I don’t condone violence. My “objections” are in written form that no one reads. Mr. Robertson gave a hypothetical situation of horrible violence. And you’re trying to justify him.
Now he’s being attacked as an intolerant freak for making a perfectly valid point about atheism and moral relativism… (Then later in the article, but combined because of the topic – Chris)… Robertson is not “fantasizing” about an atheist family suffering a home invasion. It’s glaringly obvious he is portraying this scenario, not only as terrible, but as the most terrible thing imaginable. He is using an extreme scenario to drive home an important point about right and wrong, and where the notion of moral relativism can ultimately lead.
Attacked. Pfft. It’s not like his family is being raped and murdered in front of him. By the way, he is an intolerant freak. Not because of his point, but because of what he believes. I’ll agree it’s not a fantasy. In fact, I’ll agree with most of this, except your notions of atheism, morality, and the moral relativity slippery slope. Oh. Also, slippery slope logical fallacy.
Here’s the main problem, and why theists are seemingly incapable of seeing atheists as equals. Morality is the process by which we decide whether an action is good or bad, right or wrong. Secular humanists (which, by the way, has nothing to do with atheism), like myself, have morality. Religion doesn’t offer morality. It offers moral proclomations. Your holy book tells you WHAT is right or wrong, but not WHY, and not HOW TO COME TO THAT DECISION. Do you see the difference?
My morality is based on the golden rule, understanding that I am not the only person in the world, and knowing that my actions have consequences. I don’t need threats of imaginary proportions to cower me into doing right and avoiding wrong. I do it on my own. Now, this is not to say that I am a moral subjectivist, as most Christians assume. I do believe in objective morality. It is just not based on magic sky wizards or eternal punishment or reward. In fact, I would say that notion is in itself immoral.
Robertson is telling a parable, a graphic parable, but still a parable using shock value as a way to bring home a perfectly valid point about a Godless world in which there is no Ten Commandments and by extension no basis to judge right from wrong.
Seriously? Have you not read history? The Decalogue was not mankind’s first understanding of morality. We’ve known that murder is wrong for millennia. Besides that, rape isn’t mentioned in the Ten Commandments. Rape is mentioned in the law, however, when it says that if a man rapes a virgin and IS CAUGHT, he must marry her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Real moral, your bible.
Here’s something you don’t understand. We don’t need a god in order to be moral. In fact, I would argue, that we are getting more and more moral as we leave the mythologies of the past, in the past. The bible considered women as property (way too many sources to include, but if you’ve actually read it, you know that I’m right), it gave specific rules for slavery (Leviticus 25:44-46, etc.), and even while condemning murder, explicitly commands it on multiple occasions (Deuteronomy 13:13-19, etc.).
Actually, if you read what Robertson actually says, he makes clear that atheists do in fact know the difference between good and evil and right and wrong. His point is the horror show of a world that can come from refusing to acknowledge the right and wrong of God’s Commandments. This is all about the slippery slope of moral relativism.
Boom. Here’s where Mr. Robertson’s and Mr. Nolte’s argument falls apart. If we do in fact know the difference between good and evil and right and wrong… how is refusing to acknowledge God’s Commandments going to do anything? Many people have argued that morality comes from (their particular concept, coincidentally, of) god. Like it comes with the soul or something. If that’s the case, the commandments are unnecessary. I don’t need to read what my soul already knows. If we do need the commandments, then how do you explain all of the moral actions of those who don’t follow the bible? In fact, most Christians don’t follow the bible completely, anyway. How many Christians do you know who don’t eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:9-12) or stone their neighbors for working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14). Fuck. Christians CHANGED which day the Sabbath was on.
Now the question is, can an atheist be moral without a god? I’ve only heard a few people who had said “no” to this. Because it happens all the time, and to say that they can’t is a ludicrous statement. Therefore, we don’t need the commandments. As Professor Dawkins once said, ” I want a morality that is thought-out, reasoned, argued, discussed—based upon, almost say—intelligent design.”
Some, though, just don’t seem to understand Christianity and the Southern notion of firebrand preaching. It’s called scaring the Devil out of you, and it’s a tradition as old as John the Baptist.
I do understand it. I was raised a traditional Roman Catholic. Our mass was in Latin, and we drove three hours each way every Sunday. This kind of preaching is, and let me be very clear, IMMORAL. I don’t care how long people have been doing it. That’s why the Second Vatican council tried to move away from it. To me, this type of rhetoric doesn’t make Mr. Robertson seem “silly”, or “naive”… well it does, but mostly it makes me think he is DANGEROUS.
What the media is doing here is pointing, judging, and laughing at a culture they don’t understand, and don’t want to understand.
No. We are here pointing, judging, and laughing at a fucked up mentality that is passed on to future generations, and any kind of disagreement is ostracized and then their heroes tell horrible stories about dudes raping their daughters.