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To my understanding, Bible says that God does not like homosexual relations. But why? Why did God punish and destroy inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? They were not Jewish and were not given the laws (like Mosaic laws) to follow, were they? Why were they punished so heavily?

This is different from the previous question by Mr. Spolsky: What is the halachic source for objection to gay (civil) marriage?

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Jane, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! The first part of your question is a duplicate of this one. The "why" part and the specific sub-question about Sodom and Gomorrah are new here, though. I recommend that you rewrite to focus on those. –  Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 17:46
... but note that according to our tradition, the defining sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was cruelty, not homosexuality. –  Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 17:51
Despite its obvious differences between judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8477/5 (not to mention judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7619/5) and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9042/5 (the latter being closely related to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8515/5 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8646/5) do we really need another question about these oft repeated topics? –  Seth J Sep 13 '11 at 18:12
I think a better question would be to draw a textual relationship between homosexuality (or even just cruelty) and the fate of S&G (or the fate of the flood generation, for that matter) and ask why the penalty/ies was/were so severe. It would avoid repeating the question about the Jewish view of homosexuality and the question about what/who is/was a Jew. –  Seth J Sep 13 '11 at 18:15
@Seth, re duplicates, see blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/… . If the new question has any truly new element, I think the right thing to do is cross-reference but not close. –  Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 19:08
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Judaism believes that while the complete set of commandments was given by Moses to the Jews, there are a few universal laws expected of non-Jews too (known as the Seven Noahide commandments). Genesis Ch. 2 says "therefore a man shall abandon his parents and stick to his wife"; our oral tradition (written down in the Talmud, Kiddushin 58a ) tells us that means that only people of opposite gender should have sexual relations.

Now the why, and how exactly that gets weighed against other things, is beyond us (see the book of Job); but you'd asked about Sodom, again, Jewish tradition says it wasn't about the sex, it was about a society that had made callousness the law, and used rape to enforce that ban.

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Can you point to the Talmudic source you allude to? –  Isaac Moses Sep 13 '11 at 19:12
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The Talmud in Masechet Hullin on page 92a says that homosexual relations was one of thirty commandments from God to the children of Noah. I can't explain WHY he forbade it to them, but this should at least explain why they would be held accountable. The point made by several people above about the specific example of Sodom and Gomorrah stands too.

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The Gemara says they accepted 30 commandments and upheld 3, one of which was not writing marriage contracts for men. It says nothing about homosexual relations (see Rashi ad loc) or about G-d giving them 30 commandments. –  Seth J Feb 1 '12 at 2:15
And nobody was calling you out. It was a request for more information. We generally try to be supportive, not needlessly argumentative here. –  Seth J Feb 1 '12 at 2:17
@SethJ, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (linked in Menachem's comment to an answer on the related question, judaism.stackexchange.com/a/8481/37). –  Alex Feb 1 '12 at 2:17
@Alex, thank you. –  Seth J Feb 1 '12 at 2:20
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protected by Isaac Moses May 25 '12 at 11:18

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