Certain philosophers once asked the elders at Rome, "If your God has no
pleasure in idolatry, why does He not destroy the objects of it?" "And
so He would," was the reply, "if only such objects were worshiped as the
world does not stand in need of; but you idolaters will worship the sun
and moon, the stars and the constellations. Should He destroy the world
because of the fools there are in it? No! The world goes on as it has
done all the same, but they who abuse it will have to answer for their
conduct. On your philosophy, when one steals a measure of wheat and sows
it in his field it should by rights produce no crop; nevertheless the
world goes on as if no wrong had been done, and they who abuse it will
one day smart for it."
THE TALMUD, _Avoda Zarah_, fol. 54, col. 2.