For many years, people have condemned homosexuality on the basis that the Bible condemns it. They site the story of how God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. The passage they use to teach this is a follows:
Genesis 19 1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square." 3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."
9 "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. 10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
Now there are several things we must notice about this story. First of all, Lot asks the men outside the house to do nothing to the guests because they were under the protection of his roof. In Middle-Eastern culture, hospitality is taken very seriously. If someone is a guest in your home, you are expected to provide for their needs. Lot provided food, shelter for the night, and safety for his guests. This responsibility was taken more seriously than even the safety of his own daughters.
Secondly, we must notice that Lot offered his daughters to the mob. If the men had been homosexuals, there would have been no point in this offer. Also, we can see that the purpose of the encounter was NOT sexual pleasure, because the men stated of Lot, "We'll treat you worse than them." The purpose of the encounter was violence, not sexual gratification. History has remembered Sodom for it's erxtreme cruelty and violence. If you ask a psychologist why people commit the crime of rape, they will tell you that rape is NOT a crime that is about sex, it is about power. Peole committ rape as a violent act that makes them feel powerful. This scene is of a violent mob who wanted to physically harm whoever they could. But why?
Why was the culture of Sodom so violent? According to Ezekial 16:49-50, "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. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me."
Does it say anything about homosexuality?
Sodom had great riches. The people were very well off, and because of this, they became proud, haughty, thought they were better than those less fortunate than themselves, they were unconcerned about the poor and did not help them. They did not practice the virtue of hospitality.
This was the "Sin of Sodom" - a lack of hospitality.
I find it unusual that there was nothing recorded about anyone ever being sent to Sodom to inform them of their sins. Messengers were sent there to observe, and then Sodom was destroyed. But God never even tried to teach them what was right and give them an opportunity to change their ways. That is not a god that I want to believe in. That is not the God that stated, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice."
I also find it strange that homosexuality would be condemned but Lot was never reprimanded for giving his daughters to the mob, nor condemned because he later had sex with both of his daughters and produced children through them.
Now, we must consider the fact that, in primitive times, when natural disaster happened, the people were quick to explain it by saying that a supernatural being must have done it. When there was a worldwide flood, people said, "We must have been displeasing to God for him to destroy us like this." And so, a myth was born.
When global climactic changes occured that caused the beautiful luscious garden atmosphere suddenly to change, making it hard to grow food, God was for some reason punishing man and throwing him out of paradise. So the garden of Eden story was born (and by the way, similar creation myths can be found in cultures that predate Biblical culture).
So when some kind of fire occured that burned Sodom to the ground, of course, God must have done it! Never mind that a lightening storm, a volcanic eruption or a meteor shower was the cause, it must have been God!
There is no evidence that a god punishes anyone. Does not the New Testament say, "God is love. Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love." In other words, if you believe that God is love, then you must also believe that he does not punish anyone, because perfect love does not involve punishment of any kind.
That means, if you are following the perfect example of God, you too WILL NOT PUNISH. Punishment shows a lack of love.
But, you might say, what about eternal punishment? WHat about hell? You must read this valuable word study on the words translated "hell" in the original manuscripts. Hell is NOT a literal place of eternal punishment, and no such interpretation was ever intended by the Biblical writers. To see a really good word study about hell, CLICK HERE
Once you realize that there is no hell, you will be able to stop trying to force your idea of morality on everyone else, and can find freedom for yourself as well.
Also, According to Dr. George Lamsa, premier Aramaic Scholar, for whom Aramaic was his native language, "Not a single word of the scripture was originally written in Greek. The scriptures were written in Aramaic." Therefore, there is often a misunderstanding on the part of translators for whom Aramaic is not their native language. It's the same problem people from other countries have in understanding the American idioms. Things like "He's in a pickle" or "He's in a jam" or "He's in a fix." Who would realize, translating these words literally, that they all mean pretty much the same thing? What do jam and pickles have to do with being in a difficult situation? NOTHING....it's just what they have come to mean in English. And you wouldn't know that unless you had grown up hearing this phrse. Unless you grew up hearing Aramaic, you could easily mistranslate the idioms.
This is one reason why Jesus' disciples often did not understnd his teachings. Jesus spoke a northern Aramaic dialect, and the disciples spoke a southern Aramaic dialect. They did not grow up hearing the same idioms. So when translators sit around trying to decide on some nuance in the Greek translation, they should really be looking at the Aramaic, because the Greek, Hebrew and Latin were all later translations. Hebrew is a derivative of Aramaic. Aramaic existed first, Hebrew was later derived from Aramaic. So, I don't know why the Bible calls the peole HEBREWS, because that was NOT their native language. The people who Moses helped to escape from Egypt would not have been called Hebrews because Hebrew did not exist at that time. So, those who wrote down these stories during the Babylonian captivity would have added the term "Hebrew" and that was an addition on their part because, it was not accurate during the time of Moses.
I say this only to re-iterate that translation cannot be trusted to be "inspired" and "without error" because many writers make their own additions. It feels nice to think that the Bible came to us as an inspired, flawless book, but that is not the case. See my page "Why the Bible is Unreliable"
I hope this will put to rest any ideas that Sodom and Gomorrah were burned to the ground because of homosexuality. The evidence just does not support such a conclusion.