RE: virus: Will

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 19:30:22 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 19 Mar 1999, carlw wrote:

> Certainly from the time of Eusebius Pamphilius* and probably prior to him,
> it has been known that Christians have justified telling lies, burning books
> and generally rewriting history in an attempt to make themselves look less
> unattractive by suggesting that god likes it... Even in their Bible, Paul
> says "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his
> glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" (Romans 3:7) If this were
> memetic, then more people would know about it and acknowledge it.

You amaze me Carl! You prejudice knows no bounds (or ethics either, it seems.) And the way you excerpt this quote is even more ironic given its actual context! I'm not here as a defender the bible or Christians, I am neither. But for the record, we should judge that quote in context. And then make our own judgements about your abuse of it.

Paul is addressing a very real schism in the early church -- the question of whether the gentiles (non-Jews) needed to convert to Judaism before they could become Christians. (Christians were still considered a sect of Judaism at the time and Paul was trying to change that in order to expand their memetic potential.) Paul had just finished showing how the Jews are no more or less in need of Jesus teachings than anyone else. Now he defends the Jews a little, so as to not lose that section of his audience either.

He has been using a common rhetorical form throughout (he's writing in Greek,to the educated in Rome--Epistle to the Romans remember). He's asking himself questions and then answering them. In this passage he even acknowledges that in the text. Here in the passage in question he is turning his attention to the rhetorical question, "What if some Jews--God's chosen people--lack faith, does their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?" This is Romans 3:5-9 (NIV) in its entirety:

"But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so. how could God judge the world? Some might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Why not say--as we are slanderously reported as saying and some claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result?" Their condemnation is deserved. "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin."

Setting the record straight-
-Prof. Tim