I still don’t get the Sodom and Gomorrah story. I didn’t when I was 10, and I sensed there must’ve been more to the story than just God punishing the wicked. I mean, I already knew that there were quite a few wicked people in the world, and I had an even more heightened sense of that after watching a popular television mini-series at the time, “Roots,” and I realized that God didn’t “sweep away” those wicked ass motherfuckers. Indeed, they thrived because of their wickedness! I imagine now that my church pastor, my mom, my older sister, and my older brother didn’t want to detail the nature of the people’s wickedness because they would have had to explain the story’s sexual innuendo, and they would have assumed that I was too young to understand.
I was later reminded of the story while watching the original “Star Wars” movie when Darth Vader and his Nazi-like cohorts pressed a button and destroyed all of the inhabitants of an entire planet. My mind, (granted, an odd one), connected the stories in terms of the judgment upon whole communities, even though I did understand the Darth and his guys were the wicked ones in the latest tale. (Ironically, Darth Vader is redeemed at the end of the original Star Wars trilogy, and I don’t get that either!)
When I finally broke with the church as a teenager, I included among my reasons my objection to the story, which seemed to me unconscionably cruel as well morally incomprehensible in the end, and if that behavior was indicative of God, then I wanted no parts of that irrational, wrathful ass cat.
In reviewing the story, I was surprised to discover Abraham’s role. I had remembered Lot as the star, and his wife fucking up. Abraham debating with God as to whether the righteous should be destroyed along with the wicked is ironically more godlike, in my humble opinion, than the behavior of God, who too often in his own story exhibits the worst of the human characteristics such as a bloodthirsty need for revenge. (Abraham and God’s debate reminds me today of the U.S.’s use of drones in Iraq. What’s that popular military phrase, “Kill ‘em all, and let God sort them out”?)
Though God agrees with Abraham to spare the city if ten righteous men are found, the story suggests that he had already, for all intents and purposes, made up his mind, and when the avenging angels meet Lot at the city gates, you can be sure that the residents don’t stand a chance.
After that, the story gets interesting. Let me preface what follows by insisting that the Bible is rather slight on details. Nonetheless, apparently every single man in Sodom, “young and old” and “without exception” besieged Lot’s house because they wanted to fuck the angels, about whom we do not get a physical description, but we must assume are pretty hot with their wings and everything. (I’m thinking, like, male versions of Victoria Secret models…?) Now Lot knows that the angels will be inclined to give a bad report in they are, indeed, brutally gang raped, and he knows that they won’t give a shit if, like, ten dudes don’t participate, (and clearly women don’t count), so he offers the rapacious mob his two daughters, further enticing the men by revealing that his daughters are “virgins” and telling the men that they can do whatever they like with them. I won’t insult your intelligence by discussing my outrage upon reading this, but what I find further intriguing in this moment is that the angels supersede Lot. Instead of allowing Lot to subject his young daughters to this indescribably cruel fate, they blind the men, and though the Bible doesn’t detail their specific reasons as to why, I do wonder if the angels looked back at Lot and were like: Really? They’ your daughters, man!
As suspected, the angels don’t bother to search out the city’s repentant souls after the incident. They tell Lot to gather up his family including his “intended sons in-law” who refuse to go, who “did not take him seriously.” After what Lot considered doing to their future wives, his very own daughters, I imagine they were like “Really?” too. I’d rather take my chances with that fire and brimstone, homes!
To be fair to Lot, (not that I want to or need to be), certainly one could argue that the sacrifice that he proffers is intended to save the whole, that he was willing to sacrifice whom we might presume are his beloved daughters to save the whole city, but as legendary homophobia has it, the men of Sodom weren’t interested in girls, so why didn’t Lot offer his own ass to the mob, that would have been a more understandable “sacrifice,” eh? More Christlike? Moreover, as I suggested previously, if this what so-called God requires in terms of sacrifice, I am so out!
Of course I recalled the part about Lot’s wife looking back and being turned into a pillar of salt. Oddly, it’s the story’s most memorable image. Everybody seems to remember it. But what does it mean? Never look back? What I didn’t recall was, after the escape, when Lot and his two daughters lived in isolation, the daughters got Lot drunk and seduced him to become impregnated by him. The suggestion may be that they, like their mother, who may have looked back out of longing, had been corrupted by their time in the wicked city, and so am I to make any connection between their wicked deed and Lot’s offering of them?