Friday, June 23, 2006

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 1:
Sodom & Gomorrah

To read earlier parts of this series, please click on the following links:

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 1:
Sodom & Gomorrah

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 2:
Levitical Law

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 3:
David & Jonathan

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 4:
The Words of Christ

Homosexuality & The Bible: The Truth, Part 5:
Paul's Letter to the Romans

This is going to be a many-part series, which I will call "Homosexuality & the Bible: The Truth." This will be known as "Part 1" (Because I realized this was going to be really long, and the truth is almost never summed up in short, terse phrases).
Okay, reading a couple of the right-wing conservative blogs, most of these yahoo's wouldn't know what "Little Red Riding Hood" said about the human condition... So we are going to take the time to look at each mention of the "dirty" word in the context with which it was written, and hopefully someone out there will finally switch from a nightlite to a 60 watt bulb in their brain...
Our first reference from the holy book comes from Genesis, or what you may know as the story of Sodom & Gomorrah:

Genesis 19:1-11 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. He said, "Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the square." But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them." Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof." But they replied, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.
Let's get a little back story first, shall we? For when these stories were written down back in the day, it wasn't broken up into neat little chapters and verses, they were one long, continuous tale. Our tale today starts a little while ago. God and Abraham (Lot's uncle) have been bargaining, so God decided to send some angels to Sodom and see if any righteous person did indeed live in the city. God said he wouldn't destroy the city
if--after being knocked down from the number 50--10 righteous people could be found living there. (So much for everybody being equal in God's eyes...) So this is what brings our "angels" to the city. Lot sees them and says, "Hey, dudes, come on in! Let me put you up for the night! You don't want to go to the Square... I'll even feed you!" So they go in. It is unclear whether Lot actually knew if they were angels, or if he was becoming entrepreneurial, but he did bow down and call them lords, so perhaps they had that "special glow." So they're inside, chowing down on some kosher meal, I'm sure, when a bunch of "men" come to Lot's house and bang on the door, demanding to "get to know them." The specific passage 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: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Everybody. Young, old, every corner of the city. The actual Hebrew used in these passages really does mean "everybody," not just "men," although when the King James was translated into English, it was common for the word "men" to be used when talking about a mixed group of people; the masculine is the default noun for groups of people, much like we today use the word "guys" when referring to a group of persons of mixed gender.

So anywho, Lot is all beside himself (as I think anyone would be with apparently the whole town banging on your door; slight exaggeration perhaps?), so he says, "No, no, you don't want to know them!" Of course, knowing them inferred in the "biblical" sense of the word; think "sex" here. The word "know" is also the same Hebrew word used when Adam "knew" Eve [the word is yada`] and made little Cain and Abel.

So Lot's like, "No, really, don't rape my guests! Here, have my daughters! They're virgins!" (Great father figure, this Lot. Glad I didn't grow up in his house!) But, I'm guessing Lot's daughters were probably pretty fugly, because the town'speople were having nothing doing! They tried to break down the door, complaining about how Lot was all self-righteous, and they were gonna show him what's what! So the angels turn them all blind, and then tell Lot he needs to get himself and his family out of the city because God apparently couldn't find ten people of righteousness (and I think we can all agree, when a whole town wants to rape the new meat in town, they aren't very good people).

Look at the context here, people. The whole town (not just men, and that's the Hebrew word 'enowsh) wanted to RAPE the visitors of Lot. That's not a homosexual thing. That's not even a straight thing. That's a human violation, an attack, a crime. RAPE. And then Lot (who was apparently righteous for the angels wanted to save him and his family) offers his VIRGIN DAUGHTERS. Now, let's think for a second. If it were homosexuals only (which it wasn't) coming to "know" his visitors (which they were), would they have said "Oh, okay, great trade!" if they were gay? Of course, they didn't, but we already know it wasn't just men, now don't we? If it were to be "men," meaning those in ownership of a penis, they would have used the Hebrew word 'adam, which is used 121 times alone in the Old Testament to describe, specifically, groups of men only. But the author didn't. And Lot wouldn't have been stupid enough to offer gay men women (virgins though they were).

Later in the bible, when differing prophets mention Sodom and Gomorrah, they do so in the context of sexual sin and iniquity, but never in the context of "same sex" or "homosexuals." In Deuteronomy, Moses simply talks about how God will crush Israel's enemies like he crushed Sodom & Gomorrah; no mention of sin except for dwelling in the "promised land." (I guess they didn't have the deed?) Then in Isaiah, the prophet simply mentions that people should listen up, and heed God's word: again, no specific mentions of sins per se, except not being on God's good side due to idol worship and such, being non-Israelites. Jeremiah and Ezekiel, though, really mention a few key specific sins in regards to S&G, those being

Jer 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Eze 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw [good].
Now lets look at the words used as "sins" to see how they relate to homosexuality or same-sex relations:
  1. Adultery (Jer. 23:14): Hebrew word: na'aph
    Hebrew definition (from Strong's concordance [as all are of the following definitions]): 1. to commit adultery (a) (Qal) (1) to commit adultery [a] usually of man {1} always with wife of another [b] adultery (of women) (participle) (2) idolatrous worship
    What it means in layman's terms: Adultery is when a married man has sex with another person who is not his spouse. It does not include unmarried persons having sex with other unmarried persons, it doesn't include any kind of same-sex unless one of those persons of the same sex is married. Clear enough?
  2. Walk in lies (Jer. 23:14): I think this is pretty self-explanatory, and not usually pulled out of context. But just in case, Hebrew word: sheqer
    Hebrew definition: lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood
    Need I say more?
  3. Strengthen the hand of evildoers (Jer. 23:14): Hebrew words: chazaq yad ra`a`
    Hebrew meanings of phrase: "grow firm, be resolute, be sore" "hand (of man), strength, power (fig.)" "to be bad, be evil, to be displeasing, to be sad, to be injurious, be evil, to be wicked, be evil (ethically)"
    I think you can add that up without my help. But note again no homosexual context in any of the parts of Jeremiah. Now, Ezekiel.
  4. Pride (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew word: ga'own
    Hebrew definition: pride, arrogance (bad sense)
    Layman's terms: They were arrogant pricks (and I think you would have to be to bang on a man's door demanding to be allowed to rape your guests!)
  5. Fulness of bread (Ez. 16:49) sib`ah lechem
    Hebrew definition: "satisfaction, satiety, one's fill" "bread, food, grain"
    Layman's terms: They had a lot of food.
  6. Abundance of idleness (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew word: shalvah shaqat
    Hebrew definition: "quietness, ease, prosperity" "to be quiet, be tranquil, be at peace, be quiet, rest, lie still, be undisturbed"
    Layman's terms: They were lazy motherfuckers.
  7. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy (Ez. 16:49): Hebrew words: chazaq yad `aniy 'ebyown
    Hebrew definition: "to strengthen, prevail," "hand (of man)" "poor, afflicted, humble, wretched" "in want, needy, chiefly poor, needy person"
    Layman's terms: The lazy motherfuckers didn't share their plentiful amounts of food and money with the people who needed it most.
  8. Haughty (Ez. 16:50): Hebrew word: gabahh
    Hebrew definition: to be haughty, be arrogant (bad sense)
    Layman's terms: Snobby.
  9. Committed abominations (Ez. 16:50): Hebrew words: `asah tow`ebah
    Hebrew definitions: "to do, fashion, accomplish, make" "a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable (a) in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages) (b) in ethical sense (of wickedness etc)"
    Layman's terms: They were doing things like marrying non-Israelites, worshipping idols, and other wicked things (like rape).

So as we can see from a contextual point of view regarding all mentioning of S&G, it wasn't homosexuality that God had an issue with. It was adultery, rape, not helping out people who are worse off than you, being snobby and arrogant, and generally all around being wicked. If God were to have specifically had issue with S&G in regards to homosexuality, I think he pretty much would have laid it out as he did in Leviticus, which will be covered in part 2 as the bogus use of scripture that it is.
Sorry this is so long, but that's why I'm breaking it into parts, and I hope some of the fundie's actually learn something from this. You may also feel free to print this up and give a copy to someone if you so desire. Just make sure to give me the credit for writing it. Thanks all! Stay tuned for part 2! (Unless this totally bored you ad made your eyes want to bleed, then you can hope I throw in some shorter, funnier posts between this and part 2!)


DaBich said...

Interesting post, to say the least. I totally LOVE your layman's explanations! LOL

Bill said...

Great work Jason.

I have wanted to post something like this on my blog for some time. Just haven't had the time that it really requires to draw it together. I looks like you gave it enough time to prevent the knee jerk fundies from abusing your argument but I do look forward to thier reactions.

Another reason I haven't blogged on this is I am still dealing with the fundy fallout from another blog thread that has me labelled as a "Judacisor". I think I will wait to post on this, I'm not sure I can handal the trafic I would get from being a queer loving Christain Judacisor even if the label is true. (-:

Jason Hughes said...

Thanks, guys! It took me at least three hours aone just to put this section together, and it gives me a nice fizzy-warm to know that people actually read it...

Talk about traffic, I'm getting graded by "Anonymous" on the Paul post from a few days back (but hey, at least I got an A+), but at least people are talking (even if not always nicely! [and yes, that includes me sometimes]).

Dar said...

My little rabble-rouser. I see you are creating quite a stir! Must be nice to have all the guys fighting over you. A+ indeed! heehee.

Ergo said...

Thanks for doing this! It's clearly such a daunting task, I'm glad you took it upon yourself to meet those "fundies" with hard-hitting critical analysis! :)

DaBich said...

Could you please explain Judacisor???? I'm a little slow at times.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill said...

The term Judacisor was coined by a fundamentalist nutjob on a Jewish Blog attempting to convert the Jewish owner (a Blog friend) I tried to inform the rightwingnut that Judaism and Christianity are two steps apart and thus I got the label.

In reality Judaizers (correctly spelled) is a pejorative term used by Pauline Christianity, particularly after the third century, to describe Jewish Christian groups like the Ebionites and Nazarenes who believed that followers of Jesus needed to keep the Law of Moses.

I believe that Christianity is an extension of Judaism and thus attempting to convert jews is as stupid as attempting to convert Baptists if you’re a Methodist. The whole thing is stupid.

And for the fundies lurking around I won't debate it here or even on my blog.

Sorry Jason for taking up you blog space but Dabich asked.

DaBich said...

Thank you Bill for clearing that up, I appreciate it!

Lync said...

It is sad to see so many who are wise in their own sight, yet who continue to be so decieved by Satan. He continues to misquote God, cause confusion and temptation just as he tempted Eve so many years ago. This method worked for him then, and it still works for him.

Anyone can analyze the Bible to agree with our desires, or we can yield to the Divine will of God. We need to exercise caution about how we lead HIS people and I will pray that your heart will be made whole and that your eyes will be opened.

Jason Hughes said...

Yes, someone is blind around here...

What century do you think this is, BTW? Satan? Are you kidding me?

Lync said...

It is sad to see so many who are wise in their own sight, yet who continue to be so decieved by Satan. He continues to misquote God, cause confusion and temptation just as he tempted Eve so many years ago. This method worked for him then, and it still works for him.

Anyone can analyze the Bible to agree with our desires, or we can yield to the Divine will of God. We need to exercise caution about how we lead HIS people and I will pray that your heart will be made whole and that your eyes will be opened.