The Sin of Sodom was Homosexuality … Right?

While on a business trip to Japan in the 1990s, I came across an interesting brand of bath salts. In bold letters across the top of the bag was the word “Sodom.”

Salt, Sodom—yes, I see the connection, but that’s not the happiest image to attach to your brand.

So what ought we think of when we think of Sodom?

On a recent Stand to Reason podcast (“The Bible and Homosexuality,” 9/2/12), Greg Koukl unsurprisingly thinks that the point of the Sodom and Gomorrah story recounted in Genesis 19 is that homosexuality is bad—bad enough, in fact, to get your city destroyed.

He kicks around an alternative possibility, that poor hospitality was really the sin of Sodom. Remember that Lot offered hospitality to the two visiting angels, but the men of Sodom threatened their safety.

Koukl rejects this option. And if the sin isn’t lack of hospitality, it must be homosexuality. Apparently, there are just two possibilities.

He concludes that “the scripture speaks clearly on this … don’t twist what it says.” I agree, both that the issue wasn’t hospitality and that we mustn’t twist the scripture to make it say what it doesn’t.

Koukl looks to other parts of the Bible for their interpretation. One cross-reference is in the book of Ezekiel. In chapter 16, the faithlessness of the Jews is portrayed with Jerusalem being analogous to an adulterous wife. Other cities are likened to wicked sisters, and one of these is Sodom.

What are wicked Sodom’s crimes?

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen (Ezekiel 16:49–50).

If homosexuality were Sodom’s crime, wouldn’t this be the only thing on the list? Instead, we have arrogance, lack of concern for the needy, and unspecified “detestable things.” This gives no tangible support for the Homosexuality Hypothesis.

In fact, it’s pretty clear from the Genesis story itself that homosexuality wasn’t the issue.

1. Lot makes this clear. Lot was a resident, and he understood the townspeople. If the men were all gay, he’d know it, and he wouldn’t bother offering them his daughters as a substitute, which he does in Gen. 19:8.

(As an aside: is it just me, or is it weird for the most godly man in the city to offer his daughters as if they were property? And if this is unthinkable today, why would it be an option thousands of years ago? Or does morality change with time?)

2. An all-gay city wouldn’t be sustainable. “All the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house” (Gen. 19:4). So “all the men” were gay? How could there be children if all the men were gay? Such a city would simply die out. And why wouldn’t that be an option for God? Just give Sodom a few decades and let the population fade away.

3. Seriously? A city with all men gay? Homosexuality wasn’t studied when it was taboo, but we now know that only a few percent of society is homosexual. Anyway, why would godly Lot stick around if the city was so detestable? Perhaps for literary purposes?

4. Can we assume that there were no women? There is no evidence that this is an all-male city. “All the men” makes clear that this is not everyone, and so some must’ve been left behind. The straightforward interpretation is that all the men came to Lot’s house, that the women stayed at home, and that the women were mothers, wives, and daughters as in any ordinary city.

5. We have a better explanation. Gang rape is less about pleasure than about humiliating or establishing dominance. That the local men wanted to bully or dominate the visitors seems a better explanation than that they were just eager for sexual pleasure.

As we study the story, however, let’s not dismiss the violence. No one can question that there was significant evil in Sodom (fictive or not) when visitors are threatened with gang rape. But what was the sin of Sodom? This is a story of attempted rape. Yes, it was homosexual rape, but the homosexuality isn’t highlighted as the crime.

Koukl is right that we shouldn’t twist the story, but he seems to be the one with the agenda. Only with a desire to find anti-gay messages in the Bible can we imagine one in the Sodom and Gomorrah story.

What’s also clear is that this has nothing to do with the loving, monogamous, homosexual relationship that is the subject of today’s discussion of same-sex marriage.

(Tomorrow is election day, and Washington’s Referendum 74 is a big deal. If it passes, it will be the first same-sex law in the U.S. directly put into effect by the citizens.)

Every time you see a rainbow,
God is having gay sex
(seen on a bumper sticker)

About Bob Seidensticker
  • A

    However it wasn’t just men enoshe use doesn’t mean men but both males and females

  • Tom Edwards

    You are in the ballpark with this analysis, but you have made an error in the matter of the gender of the residents of Sodom. The KJV states, ” the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the PEOPLE from every quarter….” [emphasis mine; Gen. 19:4]. The convention of utilizing the words “man” and “mankind” in Biblical texts can throw one off here. There were, in fact women (and children), and, according to the text, all of them were surrounding Lot’s home. (Which is utterly far-fetched, but for the moment we’ll skip that argument. That’s what it says.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      That’s not the interpretation from other translations. For example:

      “all the men – both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom – surrounded the house” (NET)

      “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house” (NIV)

      • Tom Edwards

        Yes, I am aware that some translations are not in agreement. However, you will find the Hebrew noun “enoshe” was the key word utilized here, and that word means “humans” or “people” — in other words, the usual Biblical convention of the terms “man” or “mankind” referring to all humanity, both male and female.

        The age-old assumption that this was a rampaging mob of strictly male homosexuals is inaccurate. The mob was composed of both men and women, young and old. “All the people” were out there.

        The assumption that the Hebrew word “yada” (“know”) was utilized in this context in a sexual sense is certainly suspect: “Bring these strangers out so that we may ‘know’ them.” There are hundreds of instances where “know” (“yada”) meant to understand or be aware of, but only a half-dozen or so where it meant “know intimately,” as in sex.

        The mob was likely shouting, “Bring them out so we may ‘know’ who is in there!” because they had not yet seen the visitors. I suppose they might have been shouting “Bring them out so we can all have sex.” But that’s rather far-fetched — and if it’s true, it was not an indication of exclusively homosexual activity anyway. Furthermore, if the intent was sex, it would certainly not have been consensual. So it was a statement of intent to commit rape.

        The idea that this story is an indictment of homosexual persons is unsupportable, certainly from this segment of the story.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Interesting analysis, thanks. Another interesting twist is from Robert Price: he hypothesizes that the crowd knew that there were angels and wanted any secrets or technology that they could offer to help Sodom stay ahead of its competitors.

        • Tom Edwards

          I could go to enormously lengthy explanations to develop this point fully, but for the “kicker,” just save some time and go directly to Genesis 18:21:

          “” And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. “”

          God is Almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, all-seeing, all-powerful, and all-knowing.

          There is no need for him to “go down now” to investigate rumors that have “come unto” Him. He would already know.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Agreed. The Bible is like a palimpsest, and it documents both the evolution from polytheism to monotheism as well as that from ordinary bungler god to omnipotent and omniscient perfect god.

        • Tom Edwards

          Bob: Well, I would say the only thing it “documents” is man’s attempt at understanding God.

          The Sodom & Gomorrah tale is like, for example, the fable about the fox and grapes (to pick one of Aesop’s stories at random). It’s a little “morality play” that conveys a worthwhile lesson or two. But it is certainly not an account of an actual “Day in the Life” of a Higher Power. It would be stupid to suggest so, whether one is a believer or non-believer. Just in the interest of “full disclosure,” I am, in fact, the former, but with no ill will or suspicion toward the latter.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Are you saying that Genesis to the original hearers 3000 years ago was received as metaphor or fable or morality play? That would surprise me.

          We’re on the same page as seeing the OT as the clumsy best of people in that time and place (if I’m paraphrasing you correctly). But where does that leave you? You’ve avoided the embarrassment of saddling God with the imperfect moral attitudes of those people, but without the Bible you have no knowledge of God.

        • Tom Edwards

          Bob: I couldn’t say whether it was “received” as metaphor or fable or morality play 3,000 years ago; I wasn’t there. But that was the intention behind it.

          As to your next statement, if one were to rely solely on the likes of Genesis, or Jonah, or Job (and a few similar works), it’s true one would not have any knowledge of God — at least not much useful or accurate knowledge. But there are certainly other books in the collection that make more sense; that were intended for more intelligent readers; and that are not allegorical; chiefly, the four Gospels, and a few of the epistles of John and Peter. (And probably that’s about all.)

          But even without these, one can still obtain knowledge of God, in a fashion similar to observing the workings of a watch to gain insights into the watchmaker. I can intuit certain things about the Creator from observing certain elements of creation.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So then the audience 3000 years ago at least should’ve seen the OT stories as just stories, not history.

          Is this true for other ancient writings of the time?

          there are certainly other books in the collection that make more sense; that were intended for more intelligent readers; and that are not allegorical; chiefly, the four Gospels, and a few of the epistles of John and Peter. (And probably that’s about all.)

          Sounds like your own bias.

          At the very least, the many contradictions between the gospels (take the details of the resurrection as an example) suggest that the authors didn’t have historical accuracy as a goal. They had bigger fish to fry (which sounds like your point earlier).

          But even without these, one can still obtain knowledge of God, in a fashion similar to observing the workings of a watch to gain insights into the watchmaker. I can intuit certain things about the Creator from observing certain elements of creation.

          Huh? You’ve already concluded that there is a God there. But how? You’ve got a book that you’re certain is at least largely allegory/morality play. Looking at the Bible with this eye, why conclude that any of it is true? Indeed, it very much looks like all of the supernatural part is false.

        • Tom Edwards

          Well, I’m not sure what “bias” has to do with it, but I can certainly detect in perusing reading material what sort of intelligence level it is aimed at reaching. And “Noah and the Ark,” or “Sodom and Gomorrah” or “Jonah and the Giant Fish” are about on the level of people who send birthday cards to soap opera characters.

          Other points:

          Certainly, there are some discrepancies among the Gospel authors. You cite “details of the resurrection;” I’ll take your word for it, even though I am not aware of any off the top of my head. I do recall some contradictions, though, about how many people took Jesus down from the cross for example; or in the matter of one author quoting Jesus as saying “He who is not against us is for us,” versus another who quoted him as “He who is not for us is against us” on supposedly the very same occasion. Lots of small details like that. But this is akin to the classic hypothetical of four witnesses at each corner of an intersection giving four slightly differing accounts of the same traffic accident.

          You see, you mustn’t lose sight of the fact that I am not in any way, shape, or form arguing the case for Biblical inerrancy. There ARE errors — it’s just that simple. But the parts of it which have passed my muster, I can accept (even with some small-to-moderate flaws).

          “”You’ve already concluded that there is a God there. But how?””

          By virtue of the fact that creation is too intensely intricate, too delicately balanced, too supremely functional, too thoroughly interconnected — and all of those elements holding true in SPITE of it being too immense to describe — to be a matter of random chance.

          My own analogy is, it would be as though one were looking at Mt. Rushmore and imagined that the faces of the presidents were chiseled out by the natural, random motion of wind and rain and blowing grains of sand. I also like the one C.S. Lewis devised, paraphrasing here, that for one to suggest creation created itself is like saying a tornado tore through a junkyard and spat out a fully functioning 747 (or whatever was the most complex aircraft in service at the time he wrote that).

          But if you tried to pack such cerebral analogies and high-falootin’ language into the Bible, I seriously doubt it would have sold many copies. :-)

        • Tom Edwards

          Bob, also, I meant to include the following:

          I said that “Noah and the Ark” and “Jonah and the Giant Fish” were low-brow. And I stand by that assessment.

          This stuff, on the other hand…….

          “Anybody can love their friends. But I’m telling you now, you must love your enemies as well. Bless those who curse you. If someone strikes you in the face, turn your head and let him strike you again on the other side. If someone demands your cloak, give him your cloak AND your sandals. You ARE your brother’s keeper, and whatever you do to the lowest, most humble brother, it’s as though you did it to me. If you’re going to find fault with someone about having a speck of dust in his eye, get the damn railroad tie out of your own eye first.”

          ……this stuff is sheer genius.

        • MNb

          “……this stuff is sheer genius.”
          Is that your personal opinion or is it a factual statement?
          If the first then BobS is right – it’s just your bias.
          If the latter then again: what’s your method?

          “If someone demands your cloak, give him your cloak AND your sandals.”
          OK, let me put this to the test. I demand USD 50 000 from you, right here and now. And you better assume I’m dead serious – I’m willing to give you the number of my bank account.
          What are you going to do?

        • MR

          Hardly surprising considering they were at a cultural crossroads where similar philosophical ideas from various countries from both eastern and western traditions had been traded for years. Even the great ‘Do unto others’ had been floating around for 500 years. This stuff was hardly original, and not even the best stuff out there.

        • Greg G.

          If someone sucker punches you and you still have the ability to take up a defensive posture, that is what you should do. If you allow them to punch you again, you may not be able to do anything after that. People get kicked to death at that point. That is not genius.

          Is the Good Samaritan parable in Luke 10:30-35 genius or did Jesus plagiarize 2 Chronicles 28:15? Or did Luke do the plagiarism and accuse Jesus of it?

        • adam

          ”…….this stuff is sheer genius.’

          From a propaganda standpoint..

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you say so. I’ll take Poor Richard’s Almanack.

          Ordinary humans can’t come up with good moral ideas? No other holy book from antiquity has innovative or startling moral ideas?

        • MNb

          “I can certainly detect”
          What’s your method?

          “are about on the level of people who …..”
          Sounds to me like you don’t care much about Matth. 7:1.

        • Rudy R

          Never mind the simple analogies in the Bible, your high-falootin’ Argument from design has been soundly refuted by many philosophers, scientists and laymen alike. And it’s curious how you only remember only the small and trivial contradictions of the Gospels to prove your point, cherrypicking if you will, and don’t seem to recall the more significant contradictions that wouldn’t prove your point.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well, I’m not sure what “bias” has to do with it

          “Bias” as in angle or perspective. You tell us that the Bible is allegorical except for a few books of the New Testament that you’ve picked out. OK, interesting data point, but I need more to accept your position.

          I can certainly detect in perusing reading material what sort of intelligence level it is aimed at reaching. And “Noah and the Ark,” or “Sodom and Gomorrah” or “Jonah and the Giant Fish” are about on the level of people who send birthday cards to soap opera characters.

          You denigrate the OT more than I think I would—not that I’m complaining much. I suppose you’re saying that the initial audience would’ve credulously (and erroneously) taken this all as truth. But you think that the authors were aiming at a more intelligent audience? An audience that wouldn’t exist until when—after modern science? You need to show this.

          Certainly, there are some discrepancies among the Gospel authors. You cite “details of the resurrection;” I’ll take your word for it, even though I am not aware of any off the top of my head.

          I wrote more here.

          Lots of small details like that. But this is akin to the classic hypothetical of four witnesses at each corner of an intersection giving four slightly differing accounts of the same traffic accident.

          No, I’m talking about incompatible, not-small contradictions—that Matthew writes about an earthquake and zombies walking from their graves. The other guys just missed that one? Sounds like someone is writing with an agenda besides journalistic accuracy.

          you mustn’t lose sight of the fact that I am not in any way, shape, or form arguing the case for Biblical inerrancy.

          What I see is a rather complicated and unfounded assumption that these bits here are allegory while those bits there are not. If that’s simply your personal faith, sure, whatever. But to convince others, you need to show that this sifting isn’t arbitrary.

          But the parts of it which have passed my muster, I can accept (even with some small-to-moderate flaws).

          And that’s the issue. Since it looks like mythology or (at best) legend from A to Z, show us that (despite appearances) some parts actually are historical.

          By virtue of the fact that creation is too intensely intricate, too delicately balanced, too supremely functional, too thoroughly interconnected — and all of those elements holding true in SPITE of it being too immense to describe — to be a matter of random chance.

          So you begin with a deist conclusion and then go to Christianity. I’ve written on many deist arguments (you can scan the All Posts tab above for the full list of posts, or search), but let’s look at Step 2. Why conclude Christianity? That your religion happens to be that of your culture (instead of the thousands of others) sounds a bit too convenient.

          I also like the one C.S. Lewis devised, paraphrasing here, that for one to suggest creation created itself is like saying a tornado tore through a junkyard and spat out a fully functioning 747

          This was Fred Hoyle’s attack on abiogenesis. (The punch line is that he wasn’t a chemist or biologist. A clever comparison, perhaps, but irrelevant.)

          What is your complaint here? With evolution or abiogenesis?

          But if you tried to pack such cerebral analogies and high-falootin’ language into the Bible, I seriously doubt it would have sold many copies. :-)

          It would’ve been nice if the omniscient Creator had slipped in just a couple of useful tips or bits of scientific wisdom not know to the people of the time. As it is, it looks like little more than mythology, just like all the rest.

        • Tom Edwards

          Bob: I only have time for a quick note today, but after the weekend I’ll have some free time. Let me cover just this point for now:

          “‘You tell us that the Bible is allegorical except for a few books of the New Testament that you’ve picked out. OK, interesting data point, but I need more to accept your position.””

          The perspective and identity of the narrator is probably the most important determinant.

          To juxtapose two of the most unlike examples, consider first, the narration of Jonah inside the fish: Who could possibly be observing Jonah? Someone is in there with him?

          Contrast this with Luke, who begins with a salutation to Theophilus, identifies himself, and claims to have been a witness to the principal events he then details.

          Now authenticity and plausibility are entirely separate matters here. But the second example is NOT one of allegory, and that was the heart of your question.

          Lastly, remember I am not proselytizing, and I bear absolutely no ill will toward anyone, so understand, I am not some sort of fundie fanatic on a self-appointed attack mission.

        • MNb

          “The perspective and identity of the narrator is probably the most important determinant.”
          I totally agree. The identity of the authors of the Gospels, while not specified, is crystal clear. They lived in a time and place where miracle claims were widely accepted and brought up and retold without any further do. They were also followers of a messias claimant (there was not exactly a shortage back then). So made up miracle stories – specifically including the Resurrection – is exactly what we must expect of them. That immediately means that the four narrators are by no means reason to accept the divinity of Jesus.
          What remains is Jesus the Great Teacher. I already indicated that I don’t think very high of him to our modern standards. I think higher of Saint Franciscus of Assisi for instance.
          Conclusion: the relevance (personally and directly) of Jesus for me living in the 21st Century is close to zero.

        • MNb

          “one can still obtain knowledge of God, in a fashion similar to observing the workings of a watch to gain insights into the watchmaker.”
          Then what exactly is god’s watch? And how do you know god made it, analogous to “the watchmaker made a watch”? Not to mention that many makers are involved in making a watch. It looks like you’re a polytheist.
          When I extend this analogy a bit further and look at

          http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/funcon.html

          I intuit not one creator, but about thirty (assuming that there must be at least one creator indeed). So you and I look at the same elements of creation and intuit things that totally contradict each other.
          Now what is your method to decide who is incorrect? If you say “there isn’t and it’s irrelevant”, how can you call it knowledge iso personal view?
          I’m afraid your watchmaker analogy is quite problematic.

        • Greg G.

          The Gospel of Mark seems to be an allegory.

          How a Fictional Jesus Gave Rise to Christianity, by R. G. Price

          The other three gospels may have taken it non-allegorically making them worthless. 2 Peter and 1 Timothy quote the Gospels which puts them in the same boat. The other epistles speak of Jesus in terms of adulation or in terms taken from the Old Testament, never from memory of an event.

        • adam

          “I can intuit certain things about the Creator from observing certain elements of creation.”

          As anybody can ‘intuit certain things’

        • MR

          And it seems suspect that an omniscient God would take such pains to save this one family from the sexual immoralities of the city only to have them run up to the caves to commit incest. It always irked me that the wife, whose only sin was the very human reaction to look back on the destruction of the city (who wouldn’t look back when fire and sulfur are falling from the sky?), was the only one to be punished.

          What kind of morality tale is this?

        • Tom Edwards

          MR: It also makes one wonder, just what Lot is supposed to make of a God who just murdered his wife right in front of him.

        • MR

          Is turning her into a salt lick technically murder? ;D

          The S&G story appears to me to be an evolution of the Noah story: Mankind causing all kinds of ruckus (also, Gilgamesh), God saves one family, weird drunk fest with sexual connotation twist at the end of the story. (What exactly was goin’ on there between Ham and Noah, anyway?)

          Stories evolve, change: Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Levite and his Concubine….

        • Tom Edwards

          MR…..

          There are a great many of those “It makes you wonder….” moments in this weird story.

          Consider the fact that the entire population of the town is out there. I don’t know if that’s several thousand, or several hundred, but either way, it’s one hell of a big group to be committing rape on two visitors. They’d be good and dead from internal hemorrhaging after the first dozen or so.

          And that’s assuming the plot had been allowed to reach fruition — don’t forget, they were all struck blind, all XXX-hundred (or thousand) of them. Yet instead of screaming in sheer terror and bouncing around in a wild panic like billiard balls hit with a dynamite blast due to suddenly and inexplicably losing their eyesight, what do they do? They keep groping around — rather calmly, it seems — trying to find the door knob so they can go in and have sex.

          I can’t imagine myself doing that, even if it were a 30-year-old Richard Gere locked up inside.

        • MR

          They’d be good and dead from internal hemorrhaging after the first dozen or so.

          Yeah, that’s more or less what happened to the poor, Levite’s concubine in Judges 19. :(

        • Ole White Woman from GA

          So Lot and his two daughters escape Sodom and go up into the hills after wife gets turn to salt. They then find a cave to escape the mayhem and Lot falls asleep. The daughter hearing all the commotion going on, decide that the three of them are the only people left of earth. So they decide to get Daddy drunk on wine and have sex with him so that they will conceive and start the repopulation process. So we have an incest story…and I am not sure what the message is here. Maybe: Don’t jump to conclusions?

        • Tom Edwards

          The story also established earlier in the text that Lot was very old.

          Now the “get father drunk” business clearly indicates that incest was just as taboo in their minds as it is in ours. But just how drunk does a good father need to be before having sex with his daughters? Falling-down, gassed-to-the-gills, plastered-to-the-eyeballs, rip-roaring, smashed-beyond-all-coherence, that’s how drunk.

          Which also happens to be too drunk to get an erection to make sex possible — particularly for a man of advanced age.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Mrs. Lot was losing her two sons-in-law (will she get grandkids?) as well as friends and maybe family.

          God’s “What part of ‘Don’t look back!‘ don’t you understand?!” makes him look like a dick.

        • MR

          I used to read a Civil War site that showcased a prominent newspaper from 150 years ago to the day. You could read the newspaper for that day, exactly 150 years to the day, to see how the war progressed. It was really interesting. I read it for about two years, but sadly, never made it to the end of the war.

          Since they provided the entire paper, it included all the news, as well as advertisements and other things. There was a humor section, and I remember reading one joke about a husband reading to his wife about the incident with Lot’s wife. The punchline had something to do with her responding something to the effect of, “Well, I’d have looked, too!”

          The joke was kind of lame (mid-1800’s), but what made it funny was her stating the obvious. The particulars of the joke are lost to me, but the essence of that honesty really struck me that I still remember it, and remember where I read it. It was almost a covert atheist joke.

        • Greg G.

          I read it for about two years, but sadly, never made it to the end of the war.

          The North won.

        • MR

          Damn it! I was gonna go back and finish! You spoil everything. Next you’re gonna tell me there’s no God… :(

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The Richmond Times Dispatch had something similar, but it was just a snippet of war dispatches from 150 years ago.

          Times certainly have changed.

  • Dez

    The only lessons I learned from the story of Sodom is that gang rape of male angels is bad, but committing incest and having your daughters give birth to your children is good. This is not a moral story by any stretch unless you are pro-incest.

    • Mark Syman

      How does anyone on this board explain this passage from the Letter of Jude:

      In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. (Jude 7-8).

      Christianity has generally understood that S&G were completely depraved and committed a lot of different sins, including homosexuality, but that passages from both Paul and Jude clearly indicate that homosexuality was one of the “detestable” sins of S&G. This makes sense because it is known that people involved in one transgression find it easier to commit other transgressions, so it is not surprising that the homosexuals of S&G did a lot of other bad things.

      • MNb

        “Christianity has generally understood”
        a lot of things incorrectly.

        “it is known”
        by bigots like you perhaps. Unfortunately they are not a reliable source of information. Neither are you.
        Care for a list of christian depravities? Sounds fun, don’t you think? A little contest which group is responsible for the most depravities. I begin.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Verden

        4500 people killed in the name of your Big Hero.
        Now it’s your turn. Can you give an example of some gay killing 4500 straight folks?

        “How does anyone on this board explain”
        The letter does itself.

        “In a similar way”
        It uses the story, with which the author of Judas apparently was familiar, to bring home a point on morality. That morality is the source of your bigotry. It doesn’t follow that the letter of Judas is the correct interpretation of the S&G story.
        Not that it matters to me. A badly outdated book written by a bunch of ignorants has exactly zero relevance.

        • Mark Syman

          You post is a breathtaking screed of bigotry. Do you really want to trade stories of the failings of others to prove a point ?

        • MNb

          You first – I am the one who asked and proceeded as if you answer was yes.
          No? You don’t?
          Then you might want to reread Mattheus 7:1 again. Because this is exactly what you do:

          “trade stories of the failings of others to prove a point ?”
          Apparently you only take issue when those “others” are christians like you – not when they are gays. That is in direct violation of Mattheus 7:1. Hnece you should (re)study it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        What’s the sexual sin? Jude doesn’t tell us.

        You’ve done nothing to respond to the points in the post.

        • Mark Syman

          I wasn’t responding to a post, just bring up some points.

          “And don’t forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, all full of lust of every kind, including lust of men for other men. Those cities were destroyed by fire and continue to be a warning to us that there is a hell in which sinners are punished.”

          https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jude+1%3A7&version=TLB

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Jude was written lo-o-ong after Genesis. If you’re saying that the author of Jude had internalized the S&G story to be “gaiety is bad,” OK, you might be right. But when you read the actual story in Genesis, that is mostly clearly not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about rape.

        • Josh Francis

          Where from reading the Genesis 19 account of Sodom are any of the sins from Ezekiel shown? Toevah is listed in Leviticus 18 as concensual anal sex between men. All of the prohibitions in Leviticus 18 are consensual acts. The Levitical prohibition of male with male anal sex is the only prohibition in all of the law specifically called a toevah. Now in Ezekiel it says they [Sodom] committed toevah before the Lord. The rape attempt in Genesis 19 is just that. Attempted. So it can’t be what is referenced. It must be a prior act(s). Which would then lend understanding to Jude saying they had committed sexual immorality. Also within Jude going after strange flesh is beastiality. Animals are of different flesh than humans (1 Corinthians 15:39). Angels are never referred to as having flesh in Scripture. They are ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14). Even Jesus had to become flesh to walk in flesh (John 1:14). Just an fyi. Rape is never referred to as toevah specifically in the law as well. so couldn’t even be rape of any kind.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I read Ezekiel 16:44-59 but see nothing suggesting homosexual sex.

          I’m not really sure what your point is with that comment. You included a lot of ideas. Could you summarize the big picture?

        • Josh Francis

          From my post you questioned:”The Levitical prohibition of male with male anal sex is the only prohibition in all of the law specifically called a toevah. Now in Ezekiel it says they [Sodom] committed toevah before the Lord. The rape attempt in Genesis 19 is just that. Attempted. So it can’t be what is referenced. ”

          Ezekiel calls out Sodom for committing toevah. The same phrase used for the only sin found in the law. Leviticus 20:13 and 18:22. The toevah is male with male anal intercourse. A complete perversion within the human race of His one flesh between male and female which happens through penis penetration.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Interesting; thanks.

      • Dez

        I explain it as more justification for gang rape of underage girls supported by their father because gays are bad. Unlike rape, homosexuality is a consensual sexual act between consenting adults. I question those who think they are the same. It makes me think that person does not understand consent and/or rape. The fact that the father who gave his non-consenting underage daughters to a gang of rapists is the good guy twists what is right and wrong. It make sense that there is a problem of pedophila and rape in the christian community. Besides rape is about power and rapists can be hetero or homo-sexual. It is a crime of opportunity and the gender of their victim is irrelevant. The difference between consenting and non-consenting sexual acts is not hard to understand except if you think this story is true.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The difference between consenting and non-consenting sexual acts is not hard to understand except if you think this story is true.

          Or if you’re determined to shoehorn reality into a God-shaped package.

  • Dimples

    Sodom was a city that practiced a society approved form of paedestria (sex with young boys age 12) where a man of 22 was required to take a boy of 12 and live with his lover for 8 years whereupon, at the age of 30, he then could marry and the now 20 year old would soon be in a position to take a 12 year old and repeat the cycle. Along with being haughty, lazy, and ill concerned with the poor and needed, this societal approved and mandated system is part of the other things that raised God’s ire and led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    • Greg G.

      Did you just make that up? The ages don’t match up.

      • Dimples

        Check out the history of the Mycenian and Cretean cultures. Sodom adopted this culture. Think about why Lot’s sons-in-law did not accompany him when the angels told him to flee? They could’ve been completing their 8 year requirement. Also, since Lot and his daughters lived in the city, they were somewhat accepting of the social requirement, as Lot said the girls had not laid with men, but he had sons-in-law.

        • Greg G.

          If Abraham actually existed, the Bible chronology would put him and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah around 2000 BC. The Mycenian and Cretean cultures date to 1500 BC.

          Where are you gething your information? It seems to be an unreliable religious source.

        • Dimples

          The source is LiveScience along with a talk by Dr. J.D. Mitchell; I have not approached this from a Biblical perspective, but mainly from a historical one. If it supports my Biblical view, I’m okay with this; and this information has helped me to understand Lot’s behavior at this period of time.

        • Susan

          a talk by Dr. J.D. Mitchell

          This J.D. Mitchell?

        • adam

          “This kataklusmos was so horrible that it covered the entire
          surface of the earth, and left great fossil deposits, and sedimentary layers covering thousands of square miles, all over its surface. Noah’s Flood was a unique event with a unique descriptive name. It clearly was not an ordinary catastrophe limited to a small area of the earth. “http://www.creationengineeringconcepts.org/index.php?p=1_26&nid=701

          Clearly a whack job..

        • adam

          “I have not approached this from a Biblical perspective, but mainly from a historical one.”

          Then you really should take your references from historians instead of biblical creationists.

        • Greg G.

          Getting your information from Mitchell is getting your history pre-packaged from the Bible. How do you reconcile getting wrong information from someone who calls himself a doctor?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And what do you do with sources that do not support your biblical view?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The girls had fiances? So apparently those guys weren’t gay. Indeed, why imagine that anyone was gay in this town?

          You need to read the Bible to see what it actually says, not just what your pastor wants to imagine it says.

        • Dimples

          You’re missing the point. The society of this time was not classified as homosexual as we classify it today. It was a civilized society that instituted man-boy love as a for 8 years of a young boys life as a rite of passage to his becoming a man. At age 30 was when he was allowed to marry; whether he continued in the man-to-man love, look at the artifacts that have been left behind by the culture of that time.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Man-boy love? 8 years? Show me this in the Bible.

          It looks like you’re just handwaving here.

        • Greg G.

          The point is that Sodom and Gomorrah was supposed to be in Abraham’s time which would have been 500 years before the Mycenian culture developed. How would Sodom have taken the culture of civilization a half millennium in the future? How can you take your source seriously for making such a claim?

    • adam

      ” God’s ire and led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

      God?

      What’s that?

      I mean besides an IMAGINARY character in a book of stories?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Show me all this stuff from the Bible. You’re applying other cultures’ customs to Sodom without evidence.

      The Ezekiel quote is where the haughty, etc. attributes comes from. Show me the homosexuality. I see bad things listed here, but homosexuality isn’t one of them.

    • https://plus.google.com/103783311760679881592/about Ophis

      I’m sure that there are many criticisms that could be made of society-wide enforcement of a system that requires searching for a person who falls within an oddly specific age group, and then having anal sex with them for the following 8 years. Nevertheless I disagree with your assessment that such a situation could reasonably be described as “lazy”.


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