Friday, November 7, 2008

Silliness in Sodom

In the previous post, I discussed the the prelude the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah where Abraham questions God about what it will take to spare the cities. God eventually replies that if there are as few as ten righteous among the city populous, the city will be spared. Well, there were fewer ten, so the time has come for the wrath of God to rain down from Heaven. This is part two of the story.

WARNING: This story is not for the immature. Do not read further if you do not feel comfortable with a discussion about this Bible story that involves homosexuality and rape.

Silliness in Sodom
In Genesis 19, we see the story of God's destruction of the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as the preservation of Lot from destruction due to his righteousness. To me, the story really boggles the imagination of how the Sodom as portrayed here could have existed.

The story opens with the two man-angels walking into town. (As you may recall in Genesis 18, there were three man-angels walking towards the town originally, one of which was God incarnate. Apparently God, who wanted to go down personally to the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah, opted not to show up at Sodom. Maybe He realized He was omniscient, so He didn't need to go, or maybe He just went to Gomorrah instead. For some undisclosed reason, God is not there when the man-angels make it to Sodom.)

Lot happens to be at the gate when the man-angels make it to town and he insists that they stay at his house. It doesn't say it explicitly, but it appears that Lot recognizes these man-angels as being holy, as he greets them by bowing with his face to the ground and he calls them lords. They go back to Lot's house, where Lot bakes them bread without yeast. (I'm not sure what significance yeast has, but God seems to have something against it.)

At that point, all the men from every part of Sodom, young and old, congregate outside of Lot's house and demand that Lot bring out the traveling men so that they can have sex with these men. How in the world is it possible that such a scene would occur? Several issues challenge the veracity of this story.

First, you've got to figure that not all the the men of the town even saw what these man-angels looked like, because it's not like the whole town was at the gate just waiting for fresh foreign flesh. But for the moment, let's assume that rumor spread quickly and completely about some attractive man-angels being in the town.

Second, how is it possible that all the men of the town were given to homosexual behavior? Regardless of if you think homosexuality is natural or not, I think you'd have to agree that the odds of 100% of the male populous in any given city would indulge in this act have got to be pretty small. But for the moment, let's assume that the culture of Sodom practically made homosexuality a required act for all except Lot.

Third, even if the entire town loved homosexuality, how is it possible that all the men of the town had the to the desire to rape these strangers? Rape is in a whole other category of behavior than mere homosexuality. For the entire town to come out to rape these two man-angels leads one to believe that rape had to be a very common thing in that town. If that was the case, it would seem that the entire town would tend towards a chaos of survival of the strongest or best organized, which, I would think, would drive people out of the city until only a small, indefensible township remained.

Fourth, even if the entire town had homosexual tendencies, why in the world would every male in the city want to get in line to have sex with these man-angels? I mean, surely people would understand that they were not all going to be the first, or the second, or probably even in the first one hundred, to have their way with these strangers. As generally unattractive as the idea of the physical act of homosexual sex is to me, it's downright sickening to think of that same act when being number 524 in a long line of townsfolk all trying to do the same thing to the same person. Even if it was instead a woman-angel of unparalleled beauty, you would still never find me in that long line just to be next.

Fifth, if all the males of Sodom were homosexual, weren't any of them too busy having sex with each other to concern themselves with standing outside Lot's house for a chance to be Mr. 475 or Mr. 713?

Sixth, we're told that the young and the old were there outside Lot's house. I could maybe believe that the young were there with a craving for some new thing. But it doesn't make sense that the old, with the serendipity of their life-long experience combined with their general lack of youthful vigor, would be begging for a piece of strange meat, so to speak.

Finally, the issue that boggles the minds of Christians and critics alike, if Lot was righteous, what in the world was he doing living in such a completely wicked town? This was long, long before times when the Bible would take on a theistic conversion theme, so it's not like Lot was acting as a missionary of God.

All of these issues collectively make it difficult to believe that such a situation actually existed in Sodom. But if this story is a true report, I can't say that I fault God for its destruction.

Getting back to the story, Lot pleads with the gang outside his house to rape his two virgin daughters instead of the man-angels. I guess you could say that this shows how devoted Lot was to God's Holy men, that he would try to placate the crowd with anything he possessed instead, namely his daughters.

On the other hand, you would think that a righteous man would not offer up anything that would encourage sin, such as by turning over his virgin daughters to be raped. Instead, you might have expected Lot to simply refuse to give over the man-angels.

The man-angels tell Lot to get himself and his loved ones out of Sodom and into the mountains because God is going to destroy Sodom. Lot goes out to tell about this impending doom to his daughters' fiancées, who presumably were also among the menfolk just waiting to get their hands on the foreigners, but they disregard him.

The man-angels practically pull Lot, his wife, and his daughters out of town, and then the destruction begins. Lot's wife looks back at Sodom, after being told not to do so by the man-angels, and gets turned into a pillar of salt.

Why would looking back earn you an instant, salty death? I mean, yes, I understand that they were commanded not to look, but why were they commanded not to look? It's not like God was keeping this annihilation of Sodom a secret, right? Instead, I suspect this tidbit was manually woven into the story to give a reason or significance behind some random pillar of salt that was on the landscape to serve as inherent “proof” of the story.

In brief, in the thrilling conclusion, Lot and his daughters finally retreat to the mountains as the man-angels had originally requested that he do. His daughters get him drunk to have sex with him in order to preserve their family lineage. The babies that are born from this end up spawning the Moabites and the Ammonites, both of which later prove to be thorns in the side of the Israelites. Funny how I never heard this story in Sunday School...


  1. I find it sad that God was willing to turn Lot's wife (who remains nameless) into salt for the 'sin' of looking back. This same awesome power was silent when Lot offers his daughters up for gang rape. Wasn't Lot sinning more?

    1. Too true, PrarieNymph. It is morally abhorrent to offer your daughters to be raped. It is not even on the same level as the sin of looking back, which has nothing to do with morals, just following orders. It shows you what God really wants: brainless, selfless devotion to Him and His commands.