Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek inverts Dostoyevsky's classic phrase, suggesting that "If there is a God, then anything is permitted:"
Although the statement "If there is no God, everything is permitted" is widely attributed to Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov (Sartre was the first to do so in his Being and Nothingness), he simply never said it.
The closest one gets to this infamous aphorism are a hand-full of apoproximations, like Dmitri's claim from his debate with Rakitin (as he reports it to Alyosha):"'But what will become of men then?' I asked him, 'without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?'"
But the very fact that this misattribution has persisted for decades demonstrates that, even if factually incorrect, it nonetheless hits a nerve in our ideological edifice
Lacan's reversal - "If there is a God, then everything is permitted!" - is openly asserted by some Christians, as a consequence of the Christian notion of the overcoming of the prohibitive Law in love: if you dwell in divine love, then you do not need prohibitions; you can do whatever you want, since, if you really dwell in divine love, you would never want to do something evil.
The inverse is more accurate:
...it is for those who refer to "god" in a brutally direct way, perceiving themselves as instruments of his will, that everything is permitted. These are, of course, the so-called fundamentalists who practice a perverted version of what Kierkegaard called the religious suspension of the ethical. [...]
Most people today are spontaneously moral: the idea of torturing or killing another human being is deeply traumatic for them. So, in order to make them do it, a larger "sacred" Cause is needed, something that makes petty individual concerns about killing seem trivial. Religion or ethnic belonging fit this role perfectly. There are, of course, cases of pathological atheists who are able to commit mass murder just for pleasure, just for the sake of it, but they are rare exceptions. The majority needs to be anaesthetized against their elementary sensitivity to another's suffering. For this, a sacred Cause is needed: without this Cause, we would have to feel all the burden of what we did, with no Absolute on whom to put the ultimate responsibility. [...] ...without religion, good people would have been doing good things and bad people bad things, only religion can make good people do bad things.
Religion, then, simultaneously justifies and protests transgressions:
Isolated extreme forms of sexuality among godless hedonists are immediately elevated into representative symbols of the depravity of the godless, while any questioning of, say, the link between the more pronounced phenomenon of clerical paedophilia and the Church as institution is rejected as anti-religious slander. The well-documented story of how the Catholic Church has protected paedophiles in its own ranks is another good example of how if god does exist, then everything is permitted. What makes this protective attitude towards paedophiles so disgusting is that it is not practiced by permissive hedonists, but by the very institution which poses as the moral guardian of society.
Dostoevsky's question thus points out another right-wing reality reversal.