Chapter L.—Philosophers Not Benefactors of Men.
“For what have the philosophers contributed to the life of man, by saying that God is not angry with men? Only to teach them to have no fear of any punishment or judgment, and thereby to take away all restraint from sinners. Or what have they benefited the human race, who have said that there is no God, but that all things happen by chance and accident? What but that men, hearing this, and thinking that there is no judge, no guardian of things, are driven headlong, without fear of any one, to every deed which either rage, or avarice, or lust may dictate. For they truly have much benefited the life of man who have said that nothing can be done apart from Genesis; that is, that every one, ascribing the cause of his sin to Genesis, might in the midst of his crimes declare himself innocent, while he does not wash out his guilt by repentance, but doubles it by laying the blame upon fate. And what shall I say of those philosophers who have maintained that the gods are to be worshipped, and such gods as were described to you a little while ago? What else was this but to decree that vices, crimes, and base deeds should be worshipped? I am ashamed of you, and I pity you, if you have not yet discovered that these things were unworthy of belief, and impious, and execrable, or if, having discovered and ascertained them to be evil, ye have nevertheless worshipped them as if they were good, yea, even the best.