April 19, 2018

“The wages of sin”


Saint Paul by Bartolomeo Montagna

“For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
       Saint Paul (c. 5 A.D - 64 A.D.)             
       One of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus and key founder of the Christian Church
       The King James Bible version of Romans 6:23 
       Romans is the sixth book of the Bible. It’s one of the “Pauline epistles” (or letters), written by Paul around 55 A.D. His Epistles, sent to members of early Christian churches, were incorporated into the New Testament and became foundational texts for the Christian religion. In Chapter 6 of Romans, Paul discusses a fundamental part of his vision for the Christian faith: the belief that sinners can be forgiven, redeemed and go to heaven if they accept Jesus and become faithful Christians.      
       Verse 23 is the origin of the cautionary saying “the wages of sin is death,” which is sometimes used literally. Indeed, there are many risky “sins” that increase your odds of dying. But most Biblical scholars say that in Romans 6:23 Paul was not talking about the literal death of the body. He was suggesting that the spirit, or soul, of unrepentant sinners would be “dead,” and they would not go to Heaven. However, Paul explained, there is hope for sinners. If they stop sinning and accept Jesus Christ as their savior, they will be rewarded with the “gift” of eternal life in Heaven, where — according to legend — Saint Paul is stationed at the “the Pearly Gates” to admit the worthy and send the unworthy to Hell.           

Sin tax cartoon

“It is somewhat ironic that the first tax revenues that were imposed were those on the consumption of whiskey, which sparked the Whiskey Rebellion. But this rebellion was put down and provided legislators the opportunity to impose taxes and collect on them. It also established the custom of taxing 'sin' and enshrining the adage ‘The wages of sin is a tax.’”
       Richard McGowan
       Associate Professor at Boston College
       In his 1994 book State Lotteries and Legalized Gambling: Painless Revenue or Painful Mirage. (Cartoon by J.D. Crowe.)

<<enter caption here>> at The Ice House Comedy Club on July 12, 2012 in Pasadena, California.

“The wages of sin are death, but after taxes are taken out, it’s just kind of a tired feeling.”
       Paula Poundstone
       American comedienne and author             
       One of my favorite jokes from her stand-up comedy routines

Jonathan Davis

“The wages of sin is outperformance for investors...investors often do well by investing in companies operating in ‘sin industries’ and countries where corruption is most developed. Doing bad, in other words, can often mean doing good for investor returns.”
       Jonathan Davis
       British author, editor and journalist specializing in finance
       In an article in the Financial Times, February 22, 2015. Davis suggests that “sin industries” may now not only include tobacco, alcohol, and gambling but, arguably, scandal-ridden banks.


“The wages of sin is when people do unta you what ya did unta them.”
       Rodman Philbrick
       American writer of novels for adults and children             
       A bit of folk wisdom spoken to the character Zane Dupree by his grandmother, in the novel Zane and the Hurricane (2014)
       The book is about Zane’s recollections of Hurricane Katrina. His grandma’s comment relates to a local drug dealer, though it certainly has wider application. Kane recalls:
       “Dylan Toomey...was killed by one of the underage kids who worked for him selling drugs. It's awful and all, but Grammy said it best when she heard the news. She said, ‘The wages of sin is when people do unta you what ya did unta them.’ Amen to that. To be honest there’s a lot I don’t understand about what happened after the storm, and why some people were so good and full of love and others so mean and hateful.

Deranged 1974 movie

“Remember, Ezra, the wages of sin are syphilis, gonorrhea and death.”             
       Ma Cobb (played by actress Cosette Lee), in the cult horror movie Deranged (1974).
       Ma Cobb is a religious fanatic who teaches her son Ezra to fear and hate women. Ezra overcomes his fear, but not his hate, becoming a serial killer who prefers female victims. But he loves Ma and after she’s dead and buried, he digs her up and brings her corpse home to keep him company. It’s a nice, family-oriented horror flick. (NOT!)


“The wages of sin is alimony.”
       Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)
       American writer and poet.             
       A line from her book of verse, Folly for the Wise (1904)             
       It comes from a section called “Maxioms,” which includes a litany of humorous twists on old sayings, including:
             “Reward is its own virtue.
              The wages of sin is alimony.
              A penny saved spoils the broth.
              Of two evils, choose the prettier.
             Nonsense makes the heart grow fonder.
             A word to the wise is a dangerous thing.”

Ron Jeffries

“The wages of sin is debugging.”
       Ron Jeffries
       American software developer and writer
       A saying Jeffries coined that is widely quoted by and well known to computer coding geeks

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Email me or Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

April 2, 2018

Can a leopard change his spots?

Jeremiah the Biblical Prophet


“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?”
Jeremiah, 13:23
       This question is posed by the gloomy
prophet Jeremiah in the book of the Bible named for and allegedly written by him. It comes from one of his many long rants (which gave rise to the term jeremiad). In this particular rant, he was warning the people of Judah (Jerusalem) that God was going to destroy them for becoming idolaters and sinners and “scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness.”               
       Jeremiah’s question seems rhetorical on the surface. It’s the source of the proverbial sayings used to imply that people, animals or things cannot change or overcome their basic character or characteristics. One common idiomatic formula is a query based on, but shorter than, Jeremiah’s: “Can a leopard change his spots?” The other popular formulation is an affirmative statement, like “A leopard can’t change its spots.”   
       Jeremiah included an ambiguous twist to his famous question. The full quotation from Chapter 13, Verse 23 is: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”               
       Some Christian commentators have interpreted this verse to mean that hard-core sinners cannot become good people and will not be saved by God; they are doomed to be punished. But others have suggested that, while it may be difficult for a long-standing sinner to change and be saved, Jeremiah was saying it’s not impossible; those who strive hard to embrace the teachings of the Bible and become good can be saved by the grace of God.
       Of course, Jeremiah’s famous quote was recorded in a Biblical text written around 700 B.C. Modern events and science have provided some new information. For example,
Michael Jackson proved that with the help of certain chemical treatments a black man can indeed change his skin color. And, as noted in the book Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods?: Answers to Rhetorical Questions (2011), scientists who study evolution have determined that, in fact, the patterns of spots on some subspecies of leopards have changed over time. 

James C. Hunter-8x6


“I find many people have deep-seated beliefs that people really cannot change all that much, if at all. Our culture even has clichés to support this lie like ‘A leopard can't change its spots’...If you do not believe that people can really change, I suggest you go to your local library and check out a few of the thousands of books you will find there about how people have changed their lives for good and become something quite different from what they once were.”
       James C. Hunter

       American author and inspirational speaker
From Chapter 7 of his book The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle (2004)

Al Gore angry


“A zebra does not change its spots.”
       Attributed to Al Gore
       American politician and environmental activist
       This purported “quote” by Gore shows up in thousands of posts on the internet and various books, such as the popular book The Stupidest Things Ever Said by Politicians (1999), edited by Ross and Kathryn Petras (who provide no source). In many posts it is claimed to be something Gore said while attacking George W. Bush's environmental record in 1992. In a discussion thread on Snopes.com, one person claims it was in the Congressional Record and another cites a 1995 column by Jerry Gladman in the Toronto Sun. I searched various newspaper archives and the Congressional Record and could not find it, except as a quote that is simply attributed to Gore. I've concluded that he probably didn't actually say it. After someone claimed he did and it was included in the popular Stupidest Things book, it took on a life of its own, as faux quotes often do. Gore may have said some stupid things, but I’m skeptical that the zebra “quote” is one of them.

Ben Carson talking


“For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said, ‘I’m Afghani today’...Can a leopard change its spots? No.”  
       Ben Carson  
       American neurosurgeon-turned-Republican politician    
       From comments he made to reporters in July 2016, explaining why he thinks being transgender doesn’t make sense and apparently doesn’t accept the reality of modern transgender surgery. Some observers think Carson’s notoriously harsh views on transgender and homosexual people and his comment about the leopard are stupid. And, Ben knows about being stupid. As he explained in 2015, “people are not as stupid as [the media] think they are. Many of them are stupid, OK. But I'm talking about overall.” On that much, most of us might agree with him, though opinions vary on about which people are among the “many.” 



“You may change the leopard’s spots, but you will never change the different qualities of races which God has created…The Indian of one hundred and twenty-five years ago is the Indian of to-day—ameliorated, to a certain extent civilized, and yet the wisdom of our forefathers, when, in the Constitution, they set them apart as one people, separate and distinct from the great dominant race which had come to take this land and inhabit it, is indicated in what we are still doing and must forever do with them so long as they maintain their tribal relations and so long as they are Indians.”  
John Daniel (1842-1910) 
       Virginia lawyer, author and politician  
       In a February 1899 address to Congress while serving as U.S. Senator for Virginia. Quoted in the book
Shadowing the White Man's Burden: U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line (2010) by Gretchen Murphy.

William Shakespeare-8x6[1]


King Richard: “Rage must be withstood...lions make leopards tame.”
Thomas Mowbray: “Yea, but not change his spots.”
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
       English playwright and poet 
from Act 1, Scene 1 of his play Richard II

        LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem-8x6


“1-2-3 to the 4
I’m dancin’ with as many super freaks as possible
You can’t change the spots on a leopard
In the club, the homies call me redfoo hefner.” 
       American electropop music duo  
       Lyrics from the song
“What Happens At The Party,” on their Party Rock album (2009) 
       Sorry, folks. I only have a dim understanding of WTF these LMFAO lyrics mean. You’ll have to figure them out for yourself.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on my quotations Facebook group.

Related reading, listening and viewing…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.