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Monday, May 8, 2017

M3 Sin Rankings

            Okay, as I said, we need to get more into the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The traditional interpretation of this story has focused on the wrong of homosexuality as the main cause of Sodom’s destruction. Heck, we’ve even go so far as to immortalize the city by calling sexual intercourse between two men (or any intercourse using that area of the body) as sodomy. It’s forever part of our lexicon. But, here’s the thing: The angels do not give any kind of response at hearing the proposition from the men outside Lot’s house. If this was the reason, they would have stepped up just after hearing it. Instead, they give no reaction until after Lot’s offer of his daughters and claim of protection for the travelers has been rejected by the mob.
            Moreover, the story of Abraham in chapter 18 gives us the model for how people should behave with regards to travelers and foreigners. This can’t be a coincidence that we have a story that shows us the exact model behavior, and the very next story violates that behavior. All of Lot’s actions show that he is trying to do the right thing, as Abraham does, and repeatedly references this tradition both to the angels (still in disguise) and the mob.
            Now, does that mean that homosexuality is okay to these people? I can’t say that. No one can say one way or the other. It could be part of the mix, and people will immediately jump to the (now) famous verse in Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.”
That’s pretty cut and dried. But, then again, all of the laws in Leviticus are pretty cut and dried, and they elaborate things that lots of people do anyway. The fact is, Leviticus goes kind of overboard on the rules, including things such as eating from pigs (I’m guilty, I love good BBQ), which might have made sense at the time given that pigs rolled in the muck and were prone to worms and other parasites.
However, there are plenty of odd ones governing things such as when you can eat fruit from trees (19:23-25) and my favorite “nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials (19:19). Many of the rules of Leviticus are completely nonsensical to modern readers. At the time, there were reasons for them as these rules were written during the time of the Exodus, when over 400,000 slaves struggled to become a nation governed by laws instead of collapsing into a warring mob.
Is homosexuality part of this story, yes. What are the exact feelings and message about homosexuality in this? I have no freaking clue. The violation of hospitality is by far the most prominent message in this. Next up on the list would be rape. Rape is bad. This story is unequivocal to the point where “[Lot] beg[s] [the crowd], [his] brothers, do not act so wickedly.” Lot gives no condemnation to the idea of homosexuality itself,
In terms of ranking, violating hospitality is at the top of this story. Rape is in there, but distant and mostly included in the hospitality. Incest is the next big no-no.
Yes, I said incest. We’ll get there.
I said the Bible was sexy; I didn’t say it wouldn’t make you say, “ew.”

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