Oct 23, 2007

Revisiting the City of Sodom

As a non-Christian, it may seem strange for me to post a long post about the Bible. But sometimes I am really astounded by what I personally perceive to be a very shallow understanding, on the part of (some) Christians, of their own holy book. And so I would really like to get this off my chest.

Last month I posted this post -
Honest Words from a Local Christian Boy on Singapore's Gay Issue - featuring a letter from a reader. That post continued to attract other readers' comments even after it was no longer on my main page. One such reader insisted in telling me in great detail about Sodom (a city which, according to the Bible, God got very angry with and promptly destroyed).

Anyway, the reader's comment (with a lot of Biblical verse interspersed) went as follows:
Have you heard of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible? These were 2 cities that had reached the point where homosexuality was rampant.

When angels came in the form of men to visit Lot (who lived in Sodom). He brought them into his house. Men came from all over Sodom when they knew about Lot’s visitors.

Gen 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

Gen 19:5 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 (have sexual relations with) them.

Gen 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

Gen 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

Gen 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Gen 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.


Lot, in desperation to protect his guests, even tried to offer his daughters to the homosexual men, but to no avail.

Gen 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

The angels later told Lot that God had sent them to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; Gen 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

This is how the term “sodomize” came about. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish for Singapore to end up in the state of depravity that Sodom and Gomorrah was. When Man is left to his own devices, ignoring God-given laws, there is nothing to stop him from propelling to that state of depravity. We have to draw the line clearly, or else, a hundred years later, what’s stopping me from marrying my pet cat whom I adore so much?
The Cat Welfare Society or the SPCA, I hope, but that's not the point.

The point is that it is by no means clear that homosexuality was the sole reason, or even the main reason, or even a reason at all, why God destroyed Sodom. Sodom was well-known to be a bad, bad place for a wide variety of different reasons, including its ill-treatment of the poor and needy. See Ezekiel 16:49-50 -
"Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen."
So they were proud, arrogant and unkind to the poor and needy. They showed no concern for others. Furthermore, the people of Sodom was also known to regularly perpetrate violence and torture on strangers and visitors to Sodom - to the extent of sexual assault and rape - and do all sorts of other nasty things. The classical Jewish texts even describe the case of a young girl in Sodom who gave some bread to a poor man. When the townspeople discovered this act of kindness, they smeared her body with honey and hung her from the city wall until bees stung her to death.

In another case, another young girl by the name of Paltith performed a similar act of kindness. She was burned to death for it. You get the general idea now, don't you. You might even feel like zapping the city of Sodom into instant ashes yourself.

Back to Lot's story (which my reader had referred to). Lot, a relatively good, kind Sodomite compared to his townsfolk, had warmly received two men as guests into his home. Except that these "men" only appeared to be "men" - in fact, they were angels in disguise, sent by God on a mission.

When the men of Sodom saw these two "men" hiding in Lot's house, they wanted to capture and sexually assault them (oh yeah, nothing personal, just the Sodomites' usual bad behaviour to strangers). Of course the Sodomites didn't succeed (you guessed it, God made a direct intervention right around then, struck the bad guys with blindness, and shortly after, destroyed the entire city of Sodom with fire, brimstone etc).

The point to note here is that those men of Sodom were out to rape the two angels. What is the real evil here? The violent, non-consensual aspect of the intended act .... or the fact that it would have been between members of the same sex? To me, the answer is very clear. It is the former.

I mean, suppose the two angels had decided to appear at Lot's house as "women", instead of as "men". And suppose the two angels still got the same bad treatment - in other words, suppose the Sodomites still sought to sexually assault them.

Would it have been okay then? Would God have said, "Oh never mind, it's just heterosexual violence after all. Let the angels be raped."

Of course not!

The wrong, the real wrong, lies in the violent, non-consensual, gang-rape aspect of the intended act. Whether it was heterosexual or homosexual is really not the point!

56 comments:

Jephtah said...

Why do you bother to talk reason to these people. They are irrational, blinded by the faith they have been indoctrinated into. Their favourite cop-out is "God's word takes precedence over human reason", so that even if you managed to conclusively show that the Bible is illogical and false, they still would not budge one bit.

404 error said...

Christianity is all about faith, to the extent of unquestioning unthinking blind faith. This is what an ex-Christian said to me. In the eyes of other Christians my friend has 'back-slided' and they find all ways they can to "convince" her the error of her ways. They do so without my friend's consent, imposing on her. Their rationale is that they are doing God's work and if they don't, they themselves will be held responsible by their god.

To me this is scary and completely irresponsible. Sometimes this fanaticism can lead to backlash. History are full of them and the Christians are persecuted. I read Thio Li Ann's speech in the papers. She wasn't making any sense, did not explain herself but simply piled on the "judgements" and loaded words. She also claimed that she had been branded a hate figure by the pro-Gay camp. I find similarity in the way between her and how Christians portray themselves as victims while ignoring their own behaviour.

If one day I have to choose between my son turning gay or becoming a Christian. I know which one I will prefer.

Anonymous said...

Lot tried to offer his daughters but they didn't want them. They wanted the men.

So, your "suppose" argument is not valid.

Mezzo said...

Mr Wang:

You may be interested to know that Karen Armstrong, a leading religious historian, has frequently made the point that unless you have a complete understanding of Aramic/Arabic, AND understand it as it was used in that time period, it's rather problematic to make a grand statement about anything the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah, says.

I'm not challenging your post - I'm mentioning this to say that people who insist they know a lot about the Bible/respective holy book, often don't. That's why a number of religious leaders advocate practicing tolerance when anything is in doubt - ie. err on the side of good.

These things have a tendency to be mis-translated, and of course, some people act as if God spoke to Moses in English.

Anonymous said...

YES thats why its called the great leap of Faith......the suspension of science, logic and rational.
Go watch ZeitgeistMovie.com at youtube.

expatbrian said...

Agree with Jep. There is no reasoning with a well brainwashed "Christian", especially a Catholic one. I post on the church frequently and have found that, while I received many comments in the beginning, once the believers saw that I wasn't going to be swayed by their tired, old fairytales they stopped coming by my blog.
By the way Mr Wang, in addition to my expatbrian blog, I have the eduscene.wordpress.com blog where I copied your revolving lady post. I'm new to your site and wonder if you ever post on educatonal issues here in Singapore. If so, would like to talk to you more.

Anonymous said...

I agreed with Jephtah. The problem with religious fundamentalist is that they had already been irrationally and passionately blinded by the faith that they had been indoctrinated into. There is no way you can reason with them to think otherwise because they think God’s word takes precedence over anything and everything, even humanity.

And oh no, now I am starting to worry about the fate of a certain city where it’s leaders were well-known to be arrogant, overfed (or maybe more appropriately put as overpaid) and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (Or maybe they had already done so by raising GST) They were haughty and did detestable things (Well, I don’t think the bible or any religious teaching would have anything nice to say about gambling, you know, like the Casino) before that someone up there. I wonder when the almighty would did away with them as what had happened to the city of Sodom.

tseliot said...

The sin is in these words "bring them out unto us, that we may know them", violence is covered in the story of Cain and Able. Please leave the bible interpretation to the bible scholars. Thank you.

Pkchukiss said...

Someone is going to write about how you can't measure God by human standards, and that is why whatever He does, you should blindly believe.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Anon said: "Lot tried to offer his daughters but they didn't want them. They wanted the men. So, your "suppose" argument is not valid."

OF COURSE they didn't want Lot's daughters. Their intention was to attack the strangers, not to rape their own townsfolk.

And note that the assault of these strangers was actually a violation of a vital religious principle of those times - hospitality, a brief explanation is provided here:

"The "ger," the sojourner who lived with a Hebrew family or clan, was assured by the Biblical law not only of protection against oppression (Ex. xxiii. 9) and deceit (Lev. xix. 33), but also of love from the natives (Deut. xvi. 14), who were to love him even as themselves (Lev. xix. 34) ..."

... a principle which the Sodomites were violating all the time, with their violent attacks on strangers and visitors to their town. No doubt a highy God-displeasing trait.

Finally, in case you still haven't read your Bible that carefully yet, note that it wasn't because of the way the Sodomites treated the two angels that God decided to smite the city of Sodom. God had ALREADY decided to smite the city of Sodom by then - in fact, the angels were specifically sent to Lot's house to warn Lot & family in advance about this impending doom, so that he would have time to escape.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Faith is one thing, and not necessarily a bad thing.

The failure to READ and THINK and UNDERSTAND a book; and the EAGERNESS to draw conclusions from a book that one hasn't yet properly read, thought and understood -

now, that is a bad thing.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Jut googled, and what do I find? Read what some Christians, the ones who think more, have to say about the city of Sodom. Gasp, it sounds like they actually agree with me:

The Truth About Sodom and Gomorrah

The Iniquity of Sodom

Sins of Sodom

Christianity & Homosexuality Part 3 of 8: Sodom and Gomorrah

For 1700 years after God destroyed Sodom, the human authors of the Bible and the Jews as a nation described Sodom's sin as lack of hospitality, pride, idolatry, greed or gluttony but never as homosexuality. If the problem in Sodom was homosexuality, God would have clearly stated that in the Bible.

USBible

Oh look, Singapore's very own Yawning Bread also commented on this, way back in 2002.

Last link - this one is reasonably clear and easy to read - although it forgot to mention a few key points.

Anonymous said...

Am a Christian and i dunno why Christians here take each and every word written in the Old Testament to heart. Christians are followers of the New Testament (i.e what happened after the birth of Christ). Christians are supposed to be followers of Christ and not his father/mother.

As for the ones who want to follow what is written in the Old Testament, i would like to ask them if they would like their hands to be chopped off for stealing, to be stoned to death for adultery etc as has been mentioned in the old book?

No, They wont. Cos they will agree only on what is convenient to them.

When people wanted to stone a prostitute, Jesus told them just one thing

"Let the man who has never committed a sin in his life cast the first stone".

Its better if these Christian fundamentalists too read this line and understand it. Jesus always maintained that one should hate the sin not the sinner.

This is what happens when people do selective reading of religious books.

-Philip

klimmer said...

"Lot tried to offer his daughters but they didn't want them. They wanted the men."

Lot's daughters were virgins in a very bad, nasty city. There's probably a good reason for that.
Angels are supposedly beautiful creatures.
No surprise there.

GayNonChristian said...

Nice try Mr Wang but these people won't listen. Instead of engaging in a healthy debate, these conservatives are now shutting out their ears and chanting away. And we are now exhorted by the PM to remain criminals so that our personal space will be protected from these people.
Hope this episode exposes the sheer blind bigotry of Christian fanatism.

Anonymous said...

"God had ALREADY decided to smite the city of Sodom by then"

But to be fair, Abraham had pleaded to God prior to this and his plea if there were 10 people who were righteous people in the city. God would not destroy the city. But there were'nt. Must remember that the people were wicked.

just curious said...

Woah, Mr Wang! Good job of bible explanation. Looks like you can explain the bible better than the Christians themselves can.

Sure you're not a Christian? You seem to have mentioned the Jehovah's Witness denomination quite a few times. Are you a JW yourself?

Terence said...

"Whether it was heterosexual or homosexual is really not the point!"

This is what happens when you take one part of the Bible and ignore other parts of it. While God destroyed Sodom not just because of its sexual perversion, homosexuality is one of the reasons why God destroyed it.

The Bible clearly labels homosexuality as a sin.
1 Cor 6:9-10
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Having said that, I just want to reiterate the mainstream Christian attitude towards homosexuals: that we are to love the sinner, but despise the sin.

Homosexuals are people just like anybody else, and should be treated with respect, dignity, and love. But this does not mean we approve of their lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

Lot actually offered his daughters but the men prefered the angels.

So your argument about angels appearing as women does not stand.

You have deleted my previous comment, if you do so again, it says alot about you and your motives.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, my apologies. I found the post.

Anonymous said...

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6: 9 to 11

There is still, hope for your wicked ways

Anonymous said...

another version from above has it that there is a current powerhouse( separated from his parent) riding on multiple arms of investments with the liberal help from willing participants. apparently, there is nothing new to this as it has been practiced in various shades and forms in the past. except this time round, the ground is much sweeter and the lure, lustier. the word has it that the man ruling the powerhouse couldn't rise in another man's land. he is always living under this other man's shadow and for a long time, this man has been feeding on his offerings. the dominant man was satisfied, for a period, with the offerings of his servants but now it wanted more as their growing presence has since become a threat to their corporate structures. since both dominant men are of similar attractions and alpha qualities, it was natural that the powerhouses entered into a beneficiary relationship.

of course, the parent disapproved and robustly objected. they even sent siblings to forewarn them that they will not support nor be part of an illicit relationship that contradicts the visions of their forefathers.

the last i heard, the reprobates have openly declared their affairs.

i believe he has chosen to remain instead of walking out.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask the christian.

Are you a christian?

Yes

Do you really really want to put the homosexual in jail? Yes or No, don't tell me what your bible says please!

No, but..blah blah..

Tks, so are christians a sinner by pointing a gun at the head of gays with jail treat?

NO!

I bless you.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Sure you're not a Christian? You seem to have mentioned the Jehovah's Witness denomination quite a few times. Are you a JW yourself?"

Nah ... I was just formerly the prize-winning top Bible Knowledge student in a Christian brothers school, except that they refused to give the prize to me, because I was not a Christian.

I only found out a few years later, after I had left the school, from one of my former teachers who secretly told me.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Lot actually offered his daughters but the men prefered the angels. So your argument about angels appearing as women does not stand."

Read my comment at October 24, 2007 7:59 AM

Mr Wang Says So said...

"The Bible clearly labels homosexuality as a sin.
1 Cor 6:9-10
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.""


I don't see any Christians pushing for laws to send heterosexuals who are sexually immoral or idolaters or adulterers or greedy etc etc ail. Why the inconsistency?

Anonymous said...

for those with ears, hear. for behold, there is one who speaketh mystery but who can hear? and he said, shall these remain asleep? or will they be changed in a moment? a vision as clear as glass at the sounding of the last trumpet. will the dead be risen from CORRUPTION? for these, corruptible must put on incorruption; then the mortally wounded shall taste lasting existence and the sting of DEATH shall be swallowed up in victory.

o death, where is thy STING from the beginning? o grave that buries her carcases, where is your victory?

for the sting of death is SIN. however, the sin is not one of moral failing. rather, the genesis of the SIN is in that she SOLD herself for a PRICE. The price is of Ascension which the LAW has given IT its brutal strength!!!

corrupted! corrupted! corrupted is the temple that declares uncorrupted and maketh herself RICH in the principles of the world!

Jephtah said...

It's astounding how so many Christians still quote Bible verses as if that's supposed to convinced the vast majority of pro-gay people who are not Christians, or at least not fundamentalist Christians.

In fact, quoting Bible support for their hateful views only undermines their cause, since the Bible is a dubious source of morality, condoning slavery, human sacrifice, female subjugation and numerous other acts considered unconscionable in today's moral climate.

And that not going into the numerous things the Bible has been found to be wrong about, including the Creation, the Genesis Flood, and other such unscientific accounts. Yet still Christians like to tout what the Bible says as if it is the gospel truth (no pun intended). We should not base our moral norms on what some unenlightened ancient primitives thought.

numbernine said...

First off I still think that Christianity is a good religion, and you should never throw away 2000 years of accumulated wisdom because of a few mistakes. Neither knowledge nor faith can supplant each other but both have to work hand in hand to supplant or enhance the other.

Having said that it's pretty fucked up to be beholden to a book that was written 2000 years ago. Back then the written word was still a relatively new phenomenon. When somebody lies to you it is easier to tell if he's lying. But if he writes lies there's no way to tell other than checking alternate sources. Christianity rose up at a time when the power of the word was less well known and we shouldn't be beholden to these attitudes that come from our distant past. Godel proved that every mathematical system is either to some extent inconsistent or incomplete. Similarly the power of words is limited.

The only saving grace for Christianity is to allow the bible to be edited, where people can decide for themselves which passages should remain and which ones are archaic, irrelevant or just plain wrong. That way, you won't have a few offensive passages tainting a document that I would say on balance is still a credit to humanity. You might want to put a disclaimer at the beginning of Genesis: "this is to celebrate the wonder and variety of life, and not to be read as the literal account of how our universe came to be".

As for "hate the sin not the sinner" that's one of the more hypocritical attitutes that I've seen from christians. It's like saying to someone, "I'll love you if you're somebody else". In any case, my position is that homosexuality is not a sin, and definitely not a sin to be hated. Unless you want to talk about original sin where all men are of their nature sinners whatever they do, then that's OK, it's OK to be misanthropic because at least it's fair and just.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see any Christians pushing for laws to send heterosexuals who are sexually immoral or idolaters or adulterers or greedy etc etc ail. Why the inconsistency?"

The inconsistency (or some say hypocrisy) is because homosexuals as a group is easy target.

This is ultimately about power. How more can you rally your followers than to have a boogie man? Constantly harp on them being a threat to your very existence and the Christianists will have brainwashed people who are willing to do their every bidding - donate more money, volunteer at 'worthy causes', prayer walks etc.

hahaha said...

Mr Wang...
ha ha ha... touche...
the bible thumping Neanderthals cant match your wit

Anonymous said...

just to demonstrate the apathy of the average Singaporean.... because I'm not gay, I don't really care.

Ex-Christian said...

I grew up in the 1960s and became an English-ed. The only religion in English at that time was only Christianity and the evangelism fervour at that time was already growing. My mother became a Christian through the influence of my neighbour. She attended a Mandarin-speaking methodist church at the top of the little "hill" behind Cathay cinema. I remembered as a child, I looked forward to group meeting (now called Cell Group) because she would buy a lot of kueh-kueh. I remembered peeping at the group as they veiled themselves and prayed to the almight. On hindsight, it was a good group therapy as a lot of tears were shed. Later I attended a Sunday School at the Sepoy Lines , now demolished. I remembered being brought by the Sunday School teacher for ice cream at the Cold Storage at Orchard Road. I was good at memorizing verses from the bibles and there were little gifts awarded for correct recitation.
I also being teased by Chinese speaking neighbours for "Lu Kee Chiat Yah So har?" ("You got and eat Jesus har?").
As I grew into my teens, I started to notice that somehing wasn't right, such as killing of first-borns by God to punish the pharoah for not releasing the Jews to Moses. The usual reply from the Sunday School teacher was "do not ask. These were beyond the thinking of men.". I also remembered the pastor warned that those who have accepted Jesus and forsook him would be punished in the worse of hell.

I was still in my teens when my mother died suddenly.
I remember the sermon given by the Pastor from her Church. In front of her coffin, he asked the whole family to stand up. Behind were our relatives and friends. He then asked all of the family members to swear that we would be Christian (My father and the rest of the siblings were not.)
I became to read about other religions.
I decided to risk "the worse" of damnation by denouncing Christianity. It took a year for the recurring nightmares of being burnt in hell to disappear.

I once was truly blind but thank goodness, I woke up soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Since there was not further description of act of homosexual raping, or m2m molesation was a extreme harsh cruel doning at that time.

Lot's kindness to protect the two guests was because of his either due to rejection of homosexual behaviour, sor, Lot was living on prostitution, using his tow daughter!!!! (Why Lot wanted to offer daughters to other men knocking at his door, unless Lot was living on prostitution.)

Therefore, Lot's acts were indeed did not adjustifiable to say the Book condemed homosexual.knowingly there are many means of m2m sex. Why sodomy relating to anal sex is a puzzle?

Anal sex itself a human behaviour can be indulged between any two individuals genders.

Existence of Panel Code 377A trying to criminalise human nature (making love between two adults in private space), itself incorrect and unnecessary endeavour.

At the end of the day, what protection does this code served,in an environment of a global city, ever willing to accept foreginer who can contribute to economic growth.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Lot probably offered his daughters because he was afraid to breach the hospitality rule.

We should appreciate that "hospitality" then had quite a different meaning from what it has now.

Hospitality was a key religious principle for Lot. It means that God's expectation is that you must have to treat your guests with a lot of respect and do your very best to protect your guests from harm. Failure to do so woud be regarded as a very serious sin.

Some food for thought:

Hebrews 13:2:“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Romans 12:13: “Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.”

An insight into what hospitality means, in Jewish culture:

http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/the-shabbat-primer/12.htm

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang Says So said...

"I don't see any Christians pushing for laws to send heterosexuals who are sexually immoral or idolaters or adulterers or greedy etc etc ail. Why the inconsistency?"

Silly Mr. Wang.

How can you understand the mind of God?

The inconsistency is just one of many ways God tests us.

"Blessed are those who have not seen but yet believed."

Don't think too much Mr. Wang. Reason and logic are beyond the realm of God.

As you have said, FAITH is good.

He has a plan for ALL of us.

Those who disbelieve will end up in Hell in everlasting fire when Jesus
revisits us in the Second coming.

It's all in the Bible and the Bible is the word of God.

You should read the New Testament. and pay particular attention to the morality that will be on display when Jesus returns to earth trailing clouds of glory (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9, 2:8; Hebrews 10:28–29; 2 Peter 3:7; and all of Revelation)

"Extra Ecclesiam Nilla Salus".

And the Holy Father The Pope recently reminded the Faithful not to forget that this is the ONE True Religion.

You ignorant man.

It's never too late to repent. You too can be forgiven and can be saved from everlasting torture in Hell.

You only have to believe and have FAITH.

God loves you.

PZ said...

Lot probably offered his daughters because he was afraid to breach the hospitality rule. - Mr Wang said so.

Yes, the sin of Sodom has been been interpreted by biblical scholars to mean the sin of inhospitality.

The homophobes see only homosexuality. Methinks these Christian nutjobs doth protest too much.

Lot's gallantry in refusing the demand suggests that God might have been onto something when he singled him out as the only good man in Sodom.

But Lot's halo is tarnished by the terms of his refusal: 'I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof' (Genesis 19: 7-8).

Whatever else this strange story might mean, it surely tells us something about the respect accorded to women in this intensely religious culture.

BTW, Lot's two daughters make a brief reappearance in the story. After their mother was turned into a pillar of salt, they lived with their father in a cave up a mountain. Starved of male company, they decided to make their father drunk and copulate with him. Lot was beyond noticing when his elder daughter arrived in his bed or when she left, but he was not too drunk to impregnate her. The next night the two daughters agreed it was the younger one's turn. Again Lot was too drunk to notice, and he impregnated her too (Genesis 19: 31-6).

If this dysfunctional family was the best Sodom had to offer by way of morals, some might begin to feel a certain sympathy with God and his judicial brimstone.

Whether the story... is true or not, it is widely believed, no doubt because it is entirely typical of utterances by evangelical clergy, including Robertson, on disasters such as Katrina.

Robertson is quoted as saying, of an earlier Gay Pride march in Orlando, Florida, 'I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you.'

As I have said at Angrydoc's Blog recently, when you discard reason and your critical faculties you get cow dung thinking.

Anyone who actually believes that faith - the abandoning of reason and belief without evidence - is a good thing, his brainwashing by the religious nutjobs is truly complete.

PZ

Denzuko1 said...

To Mezzo:

Different people have different interpretation of the bible and no one is wrong in their interpretation.

Why the complication? People simply think the Bible is too chim and complex in its meaning. People think too much.

I would suggest these people to try out the Primary six maths before they read the Bible again.

Anonymous said...

Those of us who are can see are able to see that C in Conservatives really refer to the Fundamentalist Christians, who form a large proportion of highly English-educated professional who are loudly vocal.
The "Majority" of Singaporeans, the dialect speaking, are more pragmatic and are concerned of price increases then repeal 377A.

The fundamentalist Christian takes the cue from the Western counterparts. So how "Asian" can this perspective be?



Look at this anti-gay hate sites

Analysis of two Internet hate sites which attack Gays and Lesbians

A threatening and very angry quotation of Michael Swift, a "gay revolutionary." Pastor Peters concludes with a call for lynching by vigilante groups, and an appeal to create new sodomy criminal laws which will execute all gays and lesbians.


I think the Government must acknowledge the danger of such bigoted fanatics to proliferate, if it were already not too late, with the the majority of MPs already declaring "christianity" as their religion in their MP profiles.

Anonymous said...

This is very strange....Has the word "homosexuality" already appeared at the time of bible?

As far as I know, this word "homsexuality" was only invented in the late 19th century in Germany.

LCC said...

I have always find it troubling, if not annoying, that people cite the Bible to argue that homosexuality is a sin.

Why?

Well, for one thing, there are verses contained within the Bible in which God allows for things that we, as decent human beings, no longer see as "moral". For example, if we look at the verses Leviticus 25:44-55 and Exodus 21:20-21, it would appear that God approves, or at least is not in opposition, of slavery.

Also, there are verses within the Bible which talk about how people should not cut the hair at the sides of their heads or clip off the edges of their beards and not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Yet, strangely, we do not see Christians campaigning for laws to make it illegal for people to cut the hair at the sides of their heads, clip off the edges of their beards or wear clothing woven of two kinds of materials, do we?

I guess I have said enough for now but if you all wish to know more about this issue, perhaps you all can take a look at the last part of this post and at this post.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"Silly Mr. Wang. How can you understand the mind of God? ... The inconsistency is just one of many ways God tests us .... Don't think too much Mr. Wang. Reason and logic are beyond the realm of God."


Your problem is that you're confused. You're mistaking yourself for God.

YOU may be inconsistent, unreasonable and illogical. I suggest you think twice before imputing these attributes to God.

Onlooker said...

Actually If you look carefully at the passages, Sheeps. The most important Sin that drove God over the edge is Pride. Pride the a certain Miss Wee had displayed, pride in the fact the "majority" support some puppet system and Pride in the fact that ignorantly you forget that There are other religions in this country. Why is it that Keep377a.com is not penalize for inciting religious blah blah I may never know. Maybe just maybe it is the religion of the Elite see I jealous of them again silly free thinker me.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wang said so ..."Your problem is that you're confused. You're mistaking yourself for God.

YOU may be inconsistent, unreasonable and illogical. I suggest you think twice before imputing these attributes to God."

Silly Mr. Wang is lost in his human ego..

God is beyond logic and reason.

If God really is God, then God must, by definition, surpass our human understanding.

There is still something we will never grasp, something we can never know - because God is beyond our human categories. And if God is beyond our categories, then God cannot be captured for certain. We cannot know with the kind of surety that allows us to proclaim truth with a capital T. There will always be something that eludes us. If there weren't, it would not be God.

If he is to be understood with logic and reason then we would not need FAITH now would we? As you have said Faith is a good thing.

Mr Wang Says So said...

How sad, Anon. For a moment, I thought you might actually be able to quote the Bible and explain in a clear, reasonable manner why my views on the story of Sodom are incorrect.

Instead you insist that you cannot understand the Bible, or God, and then you insist that I cannot understand the Bible, or God, and then you insist that no one can understand the Bible, or God ...

... but in your next breath, you'll say that according to the Bible, or God, homosexuality is therefore wrong.

I hope you can see how you are not very persuasive or convincing at all.

I invite you to stop being so defensive. You aren't defending the Bible, by the way. You're merely defending your own understanding of the Bible. Drop your defensiveness, and go actually read the Bible, and think about it for yourself. You might end up surprising yourself.

Anonymous said...

as far as damages done to the fabric of society and the families, the majority straights are far greater(staggering in number) sinners compared to the minority gays.

illicit sex resulted in thousands of teens aborting their child yearly and it seems the number is growing . teen sex, and adult illicit sex account for far greater sexual diseases than gays.

so it is inconsistent to criminalize gays and not straights when the damages to 'common values' are far far greater.

having said that, the bigger picture of the biblical message is beyond mere 'screwing right or wrong holes'. so sex is not really about the physical sex per se and the real meaning behind illicit sexual relationship is still hidden from most main streamers.

and btw, the reason why the law makers are not going after the straight sinners is because....if they ever do, you can be sure more than half the population will probably end up in jail or caned!!!!!

what hypocrisy!

Jimmy Mun said...

What would Jesus do? Would Jesus go whining to Pontius Pilate about gays destroying Jewish family values? Would Jesus send Roman centurions to arrest the gay men?

I dont know which hole "The Majority" came from, but these people are not Christians. Stop maligning my religion with your silly illogical unChrist-like agenda.

The Bible warns of false prophets, people who spread false teachings in the name of Christ. Be wary.

Anonymous said...

I am a fundamentalist Christian and personally, I am ok with legalising homosexuality. The problem I have with this is that once you legalise it, there will be a floodgate of social problems which we might not be able to control.

You might say if we are matured we can handle it but as far as history is concerned, has any human society ever displayed the maturity or has it become worse at every possible opportunity?

No, I am not calling for homosexuals to be jailed just because of their sexual orientation but after weighing the consequences of legalising homosexuality, I am for keeping the law, the ban on homosexuality.

You can say there is hypocrisy because we did not criminalise heterosexual immorality and so on. Did we make a mistake? I am sure it was a crime once upon a time, long long ago though it is not a crime now. History will judge us one day if we made the right choice or wrong choice in this. But this does not mean that because we may have made a mistake here, we should therefore carry on making the mistakes.

Homosexuals, in my opinion, are not being made the scape goats here becuase of minority and so on. It is because this issue is publicised now even to parliament level and thus, the church has to make a stand. If someone were to argue for the rights to have sex with animals, the church would have to make a stand, just as we did in the casino issue. We did not just fight on this issue only.

The issue here will be very contentious because on one side, there is crime against nature or God and the other, is a fundamental human right which if it is denied, will threaten the values we hold dear as a society as well.

The church will always have to make a stand against homosexual because it is a crime against God, just as other crimes like adultery and so on. Some churches do not and this is where as Christians, we see the decline in the moral authority of the church.

Bottom line, I signed the petition for the keeping of the law because after weighing all choices and consequences, this is the best choice. Yes, I might be denying some people some rights as a result but to give these people their rights would be worse for society as a whole.

Thank you for bearing with this long post.

Anonymous said...

"Please leave the bible interpretation to the bible scholars. Thank you."
tseliot said...
The sin is in these words "bring them out unto us, that we may know them", violence is covered in the story of Cain and Able. Please leave the bible interpretation to the bible scholars. Thank you.

Bible scholars are already "sold" on their beliefs.
Their academic pursuit of Christian theology is more often than not an exercise to interprete and reafirm their faith. They study it to "deepen" their beliefs and not to "poke holes" in their TRUTH.
This does not just apply to one religion.
Once you are "sold" on it, all things, events, are explained or reasoned out according to those beliefs.
Perception indeed does become a reality. . . . a self fufilling cyclical rationalizing of almost everything, especially of the unknown, the non-conforming, the unique . Thats how sometimes some zealots become fanatically discriminating & judgemental , while swimming in their blind faith.
Ironically most religions teach tolerance, acceptance.
Wonder how it got hijacked along this long & winding road to.....
... holy wars , crusades, desert storms. The endless sufferings & killing of men women & children.

You sure you still want to leave the compilation & interpretation of the Good Book & History to mankind or scholars ?????

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang says - "I invite you to stop being so defensive. You aren't defending the Bible, by the way. You're merely defending your own understanding of the Bible."

Silly Mr. Wang.

It is not MY understanding but that of the Roman Catholic Church.

There are Mysteries such as that of the Holy Trinity that requires FAITH. That cannot be fully understood through reason alone.

I suppose YOU can understand this Mystery with your logic and reason??

"For a moment, I thought you might actually be able to quote the Bible and explain in a clear, reasonable manner why my views on the story of Sodom are incorrect."

It is ONE of many views but there is ONE true meaning distorted by many. Otherwise we would not have so many interpretations and equally many thousands of Churches appearing like bean sprouts everyday. You know them. The Anglicans, Methodist, Episcopalian, Unitarians and oh the The Church of the Latter Day Saints - the Mormon Church. They believe in magic underwear. Do grown ups really believe this nonsense? Maybe you do.

Ever since the Reformation when Henry VIII broke away from the one TRUE Church - The Roman Catholic Church, others have sprouted - a dime a dozen. You know, the Church of THIS and the Church of THAT...everywhere

The Holy Father the Pope has reminded us that there is but one True Church. And no it not MY understanding but the Pope himself.

Pope Benedict says there is only ONE True Church

"With respect for the differences between different religions, we are all called to work for peace and an effective effort to promote reconciliation between peoples."

"But he also made it clear that he will never budge on traditional Catholic teaching, that Catholicism alone is the one true faith,"

The Oriental Express said...

Am not a theologian, lawyer, politician or philosopher. My articles "Let us all be Gay" and "The Importance of Being Gay" are just the humble views of an old aunty who also happens to be a Christian. :-)

Mr Wang Says So said...

Anon:

Oh I see. You are NOT able to dispute what Ezekiel 16:49-50 says.
Hahahahaa.

Mr Wang Says So said...

"The Holy Father the Pope has reminded us that there is but one True Church. And no it not MY understanding but the Pope himself."

Oh no! I hope you and your friends won't petition Parliament to pass a law to criminalise the use of condoms.

Jimmy Mun said...

"It is not MY understanding but that of the Roman Catholic Church. "

Who died and made you the official spokesperson of the Pope?

I want to know your name, because you are misrepresenting Church teachings. You want to talk, use your own name. Don't misuse the good name of the Church.

Just because the Pope can declare a teaching infallible when he so chooses does not mean every single word he is infallible all the time. And even then, His Holiness may not approve of homosexuality, I don't believe he is an advocate of using secular laws to punish sinners.

There are plenty of Catholics who are not half as confused as you are, so you are better off consult someone with a more mature understanding of our religion than blindly shooting from your hip here.

kitsura said...

"Pope Benedict says there is only ONE True Church"

This is just so funny that I had to post a reply. So does this mean that the Pope is the new Prophet Muhammed and that he is now God's mouthpiece?

If not then don't bother to quote whatever he says as a universal truth.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Jimmy:

I just wanted to know that anon did reply to you (and me as well); but I've decided not to publish his comments.

In response to me, he said something about how the use of condoms contributes to the "culture of death". I guess you get the general sense of where that's going.

No point lah.

This thread is closed from further comments.