The Real Sin of Sodom

Sodom and Gomorrah

Did this happen to Sodom and Gomorrah because of their gay population? The Bible says no.

A lot of you have probably heard of Sodom. In a fairly graphic story in Genesis 19, God destroys Sodom as well as Gomorrah because of its sin. From the other end of it, we get our word sodomy from this city. The reasons for this come out of this section in Genesis 19:

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.” (Genesis 19:4-5 NIV)

Therefore, those on Side B and Side X would say, the sin was that all the men of Sodom were gay, thus warranting God’s wrath.  Some groups that I would have no qualm calling hate groups would take that far enough to say that we also have the right as Christians to carry out wrathful judgement against gays and lesbians.  Others wouldn’t be as extreme and would say that yes, it was Sodom’s sin, and God does punish that, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to.

Seems like a pretty clear-cut case in favour of Side B or Side X. But let’s go back to the premise that the sin of Sodom that warranted God’s wrath was homosexuality. What does the Bible actually say Sodom’s sin was?

49 “‘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. (Ezekiel 16:49 NIV 2010)

Ummmm…. oh, so it is actually pretty obvious: they weren’t punished because they were gay. Simple as that. They were punished because they were arrogant, gluttonous, apathetic, and greedy. I think that’s actually pretty clear-cut and I don’t really know what else I need to say about it. Claiming that Sodom was destroyed because they were all gay is outright denial of the clear text of the Bible, although to be fair, most aren’t denying because they have simply never looked at the Bible enough to see the Ezekiel text. The text explaining Sodom’s sin is not right alongside the story, but in the age of Internet Bible access, all it takes is a search for the word Sodom to undermine what maybe for a few is an honest assumption based on the presupposition that homosexuality is the ultimate sin.

Now I know that this one rebuttal does not eliminate all of the arguments against homosexuality. I’ll look at some of the other texts in later posts. One thing that I think it does do is eliminate the standard argument in American conservative churches which would argue that the reason for natural disasters or terrorist attacks or anything else they don’t like, is because gays and lesbians are respected (other than by those churches). There is evidence in the Old Testament of God judging nations by their greed. Even if you think God still punishes nations for their sins in the age of the New Covenant (I don’t), there is no evidence of that being true of homosexuality, only of idolatry and greed which are indeed much bigger issues for every nation of the world. So let’s stop the ridiculous rhetoric of God punishing America for even considering giving gays and lesbians equal rights. Not only is it hateful, it is un-biblical, and it is sheer irony to me that it is those who are claiming the Bible as their ultimate authority who still perpetuate the lie that God hates gays and lesbians.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.