Phil Robertson tells it like it is. Since he’s not running for political office, and he doesn’t need the money, he can be truthful. Also, as an uncompromising Christian, he wants people to understand the implications of their worldview in this life and in the life to come.
It’s called forcing or pushing the antithesis. It’s done by taking the operating assumptions of a particular worldview and showing what it would be like to be thoroughly consistent with it. It’s based on Proverbs 26:4-5 (also see Matt. 21:24-27; Prov. 3:7; 28:11; Rom. 12:16):
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.
Answering a fool as his folly deserves forces a fool to live according to the full implications of his operating assumptions.
Liberals hate it when Christians do this. (Unfortunately, not enough of them do it.) Atheists will claim that being an atheist doesn’t make them immoral. That’s not the point. What atheists cannot do is account for a moral worldview given the reductionist philosophy that the world we live in is the result of natural forces on matter. There was no design or designer. What you see is what you get. There is nothing beyond or above our world that we must give a moral accounting. “All we are is dust in the wind,” and as a result when Hitler and the greatest philanthropist turned to dust, their life-to-come was the same no matter what they did in this life.
So what did Phil Robertson say that got some liberals and some conservatives upset? Here’s how the Huffington Post described the setting:
“Robertson was the keynote speaker at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast in Florida, where hundreds of attendees paid up to $100 a plate to hear him speak. The ‘Duck Dynasty’ dad posited a gruesome hypothetical situation in which an atheist family’s home is broken into.”
Here’s what Phil Robertson said:
“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 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?’
“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 [there] 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.’”
Given the operating assumptions of evolution – “Nature, red in tooth and claw” – and the fact that there is nobody beyond this world to judge anybody for what they did in this time and place, what ultimate moral wrong was committed without borrowing from a theistic worldview that presupposes the existence of God as the “Judge of all the earth” (Gen. 18:25)?1
If we are animals that have evolved from a batch of chemicals eons ago, why can’t an evolutionary case be made for rape and survival of the fittest among human animals since non-human animals engage in rape all the time to further their species?
As hard as it might be to imagine, the logical, scientific, and evolutionary connection has been made. Randy Thornhill, a biologist who teaches at the University of New Mexico, and Craig T. Palmer, an anthropologist who teaches at the University of Missouri-Columbia, attempt to demonstrate in their book A Natural History of Rape (Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion2 that evolutionary principles explain rape as a “genetically developed strategy sustained over generations of human life because it is a kind of sexual selection—a successful reproductive strategy.”
They go on to claim, however, that even though rape can be explained genetically in evolutionary terms, this does not make the behavior morally right. Of course, it doesn’t make it morally wrong either. Given pure Darwinian assumptions without any admixture or moral capital borrowed from the Christian worldview, there is no way to condemn rape on moral grounds.
If we are truly the products of evolution, then there can be no moral judgments about anything. What is it in the evolutionary theory that makes behaviors either morally right or wrong? As materialists, evolutionists cannot account for moral theory. Animals do not consider morality when they leave their weaker young to die or when they attack and kill other animals and even their own and eat them. Why should we? Dogs rape dogs. Cats rape cats. Why can’t humans rape humans? Given evolutionary assumptions, why is rape OK for dogs and cats but not for humans?
Why is there no moral aversion when chimpanzees, supposedly our closest biological relatives, kill and eat other chimpanzees?
David Attenborough, who filmed a violent chimpanzee attack on other chimpanzees, said it was his worst moment in film making:
“Sir David Attenborough has revealed that the most distressing moment of his career was watching chimpanzees attack and kill monkeys.
“On a live Q&A on Reddit, the naturalist and broadcaster was asked about the worst memory of his long career as a television naturalist.
“He said: ‘Seeing chimpanzees kill monkeys — they do this to eat them. They chase them, set an ambush, catch them, and tear them apart.’”
Why? The chimpanzees are nothing more than a chance and random conglomeration of chemicals animated by electricity.
- Those who signed the Declaration of Independence appealed to “the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of [their] intentions.” [↩]
- Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000). [↩]