The Bible is actually a collection of books, generally published as one volume. The first book in the Bible, is named Genesis.
It’s often thought that the most relevant section of the book of Genesis, to homosexuality, is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lets look at the key section, in chapter 29. It involves a man named Lot, in a town named Sodom. Here is how it is worded in the easy-to-read Good News Translation (you can also read chapter 29 in a variety of other translations, here.) –
The Sinfulness of Sodom
1 When the two angels came to Sodom that evening, Lot was sitting at the city gate. As soon as he saw them, he got up and went to meet them. He bowed down before them2 and said, “Sirs, I am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way.”
But they answered, “No, we will spend the night here in the city square.”
3 He kept on urging them, and finally they went with him to his house. Lot ordered his servants to bake some bread and prepare a fine meal for the guests. When it was ready, they ate it.
4 Before the guests went to bed, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. All the men of the city, both young and old, were there. 5 They called out to Lot and asked, “Where are the men who came to stay with you tonight? Bring them out to us!” The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them.
6 Lot went outside and closed the door behind him. 7 He said to them, “Friends, I beg you, don’t do such a wicked thing! 8 Look, I have two daughters who are still virgins. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. But don’t do anything to these men; they are guests in my house, and I must protect them.”
9 But they said, “Get out of our way, you foreigner! Who are you to tell us what to do? Out of our way, or we will treat you worse than them.” They pushed Lot back and moved up to break down the door. 10 But the two men inside reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and shut the door. 11 Then they struck all the men outside with blindness, so that they couldn’t find the door.
Lot Leaves Sodom
12 The two men said to Lot, “If you have anyone else here—sons, daughters, sons-in-law, or any other relatives living in the city—get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The Lord has heard the terrible accusations against these people and has sent us to destroy Sodom.”
14 Then Lot went to the men that his daughters were going to marry, and said, “Hurry up and get out of here; the Lord is going to destroy this place.” But they thought he was joking.
15 At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. “Quick!” they said. “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed.” 16 Lot hesitated. The Lord, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17 Then one of the angels said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.”
24 Suddenly the Lord rained burning sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 25 and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land.
Yes, it’s an odd story, but it is what it is.
So anyway, it’s basically universally agreed that the people of the town of Sodom did things that God angered God, and that He destroyed the town as a result. Gay activists though, generally disagree with others about the reason that God was angered. Different gay activists have different arguments. These arguments include:
- Since it was all men in the town who did this, it’s unlikley that they were all gay, so homosexuality is off-topic
- The reason Sodom was destroyed was rape
- The reason Sodom was destroyed, was inhospitality
- The Bible says in Ezekiel 16:49 that there are various reasons why Sodom was destroyed, and they dont include homosexuality
None of these 4 arguments are necessarily 100% wrong. But they are unlikely to be 100% correct either. The sins of sodom were certainly more than homosexual sex – Ezekiel 16:49 tells us that. So the question is whether sex between men was a contributing factor to God’s anger. Various factors suggest that was –
- The narrative of Genesis 19 is structured in such a way that it’s natural to think that the attempted rapes were a key reason for the destruction of the towns. It would seem that this is the conclusion that the author expected of the reader
- The fact that Lot offered his daughters as substitutes, suggests that he believed that men raping his daughters would not be as bad as men raping the visiting men
- Ezekiel 16:50 says that one of the sins of Sodom was ‘abomination’ (“Toevah” in the original Hebrew). This word can refer to various things, including sex between males (see Leviticus 18:22). Im not aware of that word ever being used elsewhere to refer to a lack of hospitality.
Ultimately, I think we can conclude that while there are ambiguities to the story, there are indications that sex between males was quite likely the ‘abomination’ of Ezekiel 16:50 mentions when describing the sins of Sodom and is quite likely a key factor in the reason for the destruction of the town.