Over the last couple of days, I have found myself thinking back to a time many years ago when I wanted answers and decided to read the bible from beginning to end. Here was the book I had been assured I needed to accept for my salvation. The book that would show me God’s infinite love and wisdom. Having, a short time before, been knocked into a nightmare spiral through a combination of personal crisis, acid, amphetamine and the book of revelations I felt in need of salvation. So, I opened the book and read. A story of words spoken and they were good and a garden was planted. And then I read on and saw a god who was petty and vindictive – often acting like a child in a tantrum. I read on until the entry of the Israelites into Canaan and this is where I had to put the book down. Genocide upon genocide as they took the “promised land”. Brutality and deceit being rewarded and the perpetrators held up as righteous servants of the lord.
What reminded me of this was a chance sentence that came into my head as I was whiling away my time on Yahoo answers. I was feeling a bit provocative and had typed in a few questions and then typed this “What was so righteous about Lot offering his daughters to the mob?”. And then I started to get angry as I though about how the story encapsulates why I could never accept the abrahamic faiths and why I came to goddess. Lot, nephew of Abraham is a “righteous” man we are told and angels go to visit him to see if there are enough other righteous men to stay the hand of god from smiting Sodom. So, the mob sees these young “men” and demand to “know” them. Whereupon our righteous Lot produces his daughters and offers them instead. The mob turns down the offer, the angels smite them, then god smites Sodom, taking the time out to turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. Later, Lot gets drunk and impregnates each of his daughters in turn.
This is a righteous man. One that I, as a man, am encouraged to emulate. I do not want to. I am not righteous- I am, if not fully aware of all my faults, aware how far short I often fall from what I consider to be right. BUT, to offer young women to be raped by a mob is not something that remotely fits my idea of righteousness. It is indefensible. And, to be fair, it has troubled christian commentators too – one of my answerers treated me to a rather incomprehensible sentence from Wesley.
So, I started to think. How, in this episode did Lot prove that he was righteous? And I put into the context that I have now but lacked when I first stumbled horrified on this episode. The cities of the plain – civilisations that honoured the Goddess – were undoubtedly anathema to the new arrivals and their angry and jealous god. Yet Lot went to live there. Were the people of Sodom matrilocal? Very possibly. So, emissaries are sent to find if he has been corrupted and whether he will side with his wife against his tribe. He passes the test by a graphic demonstration of women as chattels of men and not free agents. His wife, as they are leaving for the desert, looks back at her old home, her old ways – and is killed. Lot then rapes his daughters for they are now his breeding stock. In this lies his righteousness – he has demonstrated his fitness for the new order of patriarchal dominance and his complete rejection of the wicked ways of the cities where women, if not by that time equal, were treated with respect and honour. It is a perfect parable of the new world order that Abraham has been charged with fathering.