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The Sodom story in Genesis 19 is about the attempted gang-rape of two (apparent) men. This is usually taken as an indictment against homosexuality in general.

A very similar story appears in Judges 19. This story is about the actual gang rape of a woman. For some reason, this is not usually taken as an indictment against heterosexuality in general.

Why not?

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I'm not sure it is fair to say "this is usually taken as an indictment against homosexuality." This may be a common interpretation, but I don't think it's fair to say it is the most common interpretation. Furthermore, no "doctrinal scope" is specified by which we can answer this question, except to make similar stereotypical generalizations about some (possibly common) viewpoints. –  Flimzy Nov 26 '11 at 0:51
I agree with Flimzy. If you're going to ask a controversial question, you'll need a doctrinal basis from which to answer this question. As it is, this becomes a voting contest. –  Richard Nov 28 '11 at 13:55
Per comments to an answer, I interpret this question more as "Why is homosexuality condemned but not heterosexuality?" Coming from that perspective, the wording on this is argumentative (using two points in scripture as cases in the argument). If you're asking about interpretation of these two passages in scripture, this really isn't coming through (at least to me). –  Richard Nov 28 '11 at 14:07
@Richard. I am asking about those two passages. The Sodom story is constantly referenced in unhinged diatribes on homosexuality; so what's the difference between that and the variant myth in Judges? –  TRiG Dec 2 '11 at 14:10
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closed as not constructive by Flimzy, Richard Nov 28 '11 at 13:55

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2 Answers

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I'm pretty sure this has been covered here before but...

The problematic interpretation here is not the second of the two you mention it us the first. Neither passage is a teaching passage about what is right or wrong expression of sexuality. Both passages are narrative of events that happened and both events are condemned.

The Genesis passage is not a good proof text for the fact that God considers homosexual acts to be sinful even though it is clear from the narrative that evil is afoot.

Likewise we know that the Judges account is of a tale of misdeeds but it is not clear what is what. We learn clearly from the rest of scripture what proper relations are, so we conclude from this passage the eminent issue is the rape and murder, not the heterosexual nature of the rape.

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@Richard: The only thing I was suggesting was not a good proof text (even though I do think it can be a supporting passage) is that particular chapter in Genesis. I could use other Genesis passages to make the case too, I just don't think that one makes a good lead argument since there is another possible reading (even if a very weak hermeneutic is required). Leviticus is certainly part of what I referred to as "the rest of Scripture". –  Caleb Nov 28 '11 at 14:01
Aah, ok. I missed that sentence. The answer seems to play down the rest of scripture and address the question directly. Whereas I read the question and see "Why is homosexuality condemned but not heterosexuality?" –  Richard Nov 28 '11 at 14:04
@Richard. "Why is homosexuality condemned but not heterosexuality?" is not the question I was asking. I was asking very specifically about these two passages. And the idea that anti-gay Christians don't take the Sodom story as evidence is new to me. I'm not entirely sure I believe it. –  TRiG Jan 1 '12 at 4:01
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Very few Christian apologists would use the Sodom and Gomorrah story as a negative toward Homosexuality. They are far more likely to use Romans 1:24-27; I Timothy 1:10 and Jude 7.

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I suspect that depends on your definition of "Christian apologist". I see that story used all the time. Perhaps not by theologians, but I'm more interested in Christianity as it exists in the real world than I am in the rarefied musings of theologians. –  TRiG Nov 25 '11 at 17:45
@Stephen Welcome to Christianity.SE. –  Caleb Nov 25 '11 at 17:59
@TRiG When you want to know what a thing is, you need to look past the half baked implementations by those who haven't made an effort to differentiate their beliefs from hearsay. The accurate interpretation of the scriptures is not the rarefied musings of academia, it is the foundation of our faith. This site in particular is for answerers based on the doctrines and ordinances of documented Christian religion, not every persons individual implementation (or perversion) of them. –  Caleb Nov 25 '11 at 18:13
@Caleb. Yes ... but. Maybe I'm asking more of a sociological question than a theological one. But the belief I'm talking about is hardly uncommon, and is certainly part of Christianity as defined on this site. –  TRiG Nov 25 '11 at 18:34
@Caleb. Would it help if I found and added to the original question examples of prominent Christians (not just random people on messageboards) making a connection between the Sodom story and homosexuality? People do say this, and I would like to understand it. –  TRiG Nov 25 '11 at 19:35
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