And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” [entire chapter is here]
The word of contention in this passage is ‘know.’ I looked it up in a Greek lexicon and this is what I found. Know is the Greek word ‘yada.’
1) to know
1) to know
a) to know, learn to know
b) to perceive
c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
d) to discriminate, distinguish
e) to know by experience
f) to recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess
g) to consider
2) to know, be acquainted with
3) to know (a person carnally)
4) to know how, be skilful in
5) to have knowledge, be wise
1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
2) to make oneself known
3) to be perceived
4) to be instructed
c) (Piel) to cause to know
d) (Poal) to cause to know
1) to be known
2) known, one known, acquaintance (participle)
f) (Hiphil) to make known, declare
g) (Hophal) to be made known
h) (Hithpael) to make oneself known, reveal oneself found.
The little description thingie I linked to says that yada is sometimes used as a euphemism for having sex with someone. But you see above that there are about twelve different meanings there and most of them have to do with getting to, well, know someone. I saw something on the History Channel that suggested that Sodom and Gomorrah wasn’t destroyed because of homosexuality, but for their all around wickedness and lack of hospitality [which was a big deal in ancient Hebrew culture.]
I have a couple of issues with the traditional interpretation of this verse. Number one: Why does everything have to be about sex? Let’s assume that when these guys said ‘know’ they did mean ‘have sex with.’
I find it interesting that every man in the whole town showed up at Lot’s door to have sex with a couple of strangers. These two towns were known to be a haven for every kind of sin imaginable, but they were also suspicious of strangers.
“9But they said, Stand back! And they said, This fellow came in to live here temporarily, and now he presumes to be [our] judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them. So they rushed at and pressed violently against Lot and came close to breaking down the door.”
Lot was never accepted into S&Gs society, he was a stranger, and they were pissed that he told them no, they couldn’t have the two men. But then they threaten Lot with worse treatment than what they were planning with the others.
Guys, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like homosexuality. It sounds like rape, which is completely different. Rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. If they raped the guys and let them go, it would send a clear message to others to stay out of town. By treating Lot worse, they were also sending a clear message to outsiders.
Forcing unwilling partners into sex, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, is rape, and it is about power, not sex. So even if you look at it with the ‘sex’ interpretation, it’s still not a good argument against homosexuality, because it has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It has to do with a bunch of horrible men who hated everyone and refused to see their fellow humans as people with rights and feelings.
This is only one of several scriptures used in the argument against homosexuality, but this is one that doesn’t work. I haven’t researched the others yet, so I don’t know if they have been skewed. And I may not have argued my point coherently here, but this is one scripture where I disagree with my fellow CCs [Conservative Christians].
And this is the kind of stuff I was talking about in my previous post about my frustration with the religious teachers I’ve spent my entire Christian experience believing. If they can misrepresent one scripture, how many others have they miscontrued to prove a point?
In spite of my irritation with them, I know these men and women are, above all, sincere in their faith. They really believe what they are saying, and I do believe that they love Jesus, and are doing the best they can.
So am I. Whatever conclusions I reach about the ‘religion’ aspect, I really am seeking God in all this. I am sure that there is a God, that He loves me, and that He wants me to know Him [well, as much as any human can comprehend the uncomprehendable… Um, is that a word?]. I have a relationship with Him that kind of defies explanation, but it’s there nonetheless.
I’m still clinging to His promise: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13