Dear Aunt Sevvy,
I recently read an answer from you that made me think you believe God tolerates LGBTQ+ people.
If so, why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah ?
Signed, Not Me
Dear Not Me:
It has always astonished Aunty how many Christians are obsessed with what they believe happened at Sodom and Gomorrah. Above all of the sins the Bible warns against—pride, lording it over others, cheating people, lying or twisting the truth, manipulating others in God’s name, hatred, mistreating your wife and children, and many other things that happen far more often in the church—they pick out this single Old Testament story as an illustration of how much God is upset when two men or two women love one another.
Let’s be clear: there was no love involved in Sodom and Gomorrah. Nothing sexy, nothing erotic, nothing fun. These men waiting outside Lot’s door weren’t homosexuals: they merely wanted to hurt and violate strangers.
And before you say, “Straight men don’t do that to other men,” let’s remember that gang rape happens regularly in prisons. In fact, gang rape was often used in ancient times (and more modern ones) as a way for a man to humiliate others, even other men whom they regarded as an enemies.
Why is it that Aunty has never heard a person cite this story with reference to Lot’s offer to let these men rape his daughters? I’d say that Lot, who was supposedly a “righteous” man, was far more immoral than the men in the city when he said that! Why wasn’t Lot destroyed?
In short, there are so many difficulties in interpreting this story that it’s almost impossible to get to the conclusion that it is about homosexuality at all! It is about hatred and violence, and certainly not about the kind of loving relationships that gay couples Aunty knows want to have. Ezekiel 16:49 says clearly,
“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.“
One more thing: whenever Aunty meets someone who obsesses about the sexual sins of others, she wants to remind them of this important quote by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:
Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who regularly goes to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.
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