'Duck Dynasty' patriarch Phil Robertson has come under significant fire for comments he made during the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast on Friday, in which he related atheism to violence.
"Two guys break into an atheist's home," Robertson began. "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 'em 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 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.'"
Robertson's speech, while perhaps unnecessarily macabre, intended to make the point that disbelief can lead to brutality and violence because for atheists, there is no set moral code or fear of judgment in the afterlife.
However, what the "Duck Commander" failed to address is that oftentimes, people use religious reasoning to commit the very same kind of violence he mentioned against others, as seen in the ongoing brutality of the Islamic State. ISIS, claiming to operate in accordance with the teachings of the Koran, has for the past year carried out unspeakable acts of violence throughout the Middle East.
Additionally, a disturbing twenty-seven percent of British Muslims said they were "sympathetic" with the Charlie Hebdo shootings, a religiously-motivated attack on a French satirical magazine that left 12 people dead in Paris.
In contrast, Christianity, a religion defined by grace, holds the belief that all of humanity is made in the image of God, and thus are worthy of dignity and respect. Additionally, followers of Christ adhere to the Biblical notion that all of humanity will be held accountable for their actions, both good and bad, thus shaping how Christians interact with the world.
Although not always shared in a tactful manner, Robertson is undeniably dedicated to his Christian beliefs. Last year, he received criticism after making comments regarding homosexuality, which resulted in a temporary suspension from "Duck Dynasty." Following an overwhelming show of support from fans, Robertson was reinstated a short time later.
At the time, Robertson explained that while he may disagree with the behavior of others, he will never judge their spiritual state.. "We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell," he said. "That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus-whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"