This rhetorical question applies equally to God as it does to man. I am not asserting that God is the foundation of morality. Even from a priori concepts of morality without the Torah--which can be applied to God as well, God cannot be demanded of by man to extend an undeserved free gift.
Just as you cannot demand free gifts from other human beings.
Imagine you have an infinite supply of cash just lying around and you decide to give your son a stipend of $1,000 a month-- purely out of the kindness of your heart. You sign no contract and make no commitments to supply this monthly stipend indefinitely. Now one fine day, you decide enough free gifts. You abruptly stop the payments. Does your son have any moral claim on you to continue providing him with that stipend?
I dont think so.
In exactly the same way, I am making the observation that God owes no man "a right to life". Man certainly cannot decide to take away another mans life-- because he isnt supplying it! But God is supplying it--as a free, undeserved gift to us. And being in that position, God has the moral right to stop supplying it at any moment. Not because God is the foundation of what is moral, but simply because its His free gift to withhold at will.
So I agree that God cannot command torture of another human being unless it was morally deserved by the victim. But ending a human life (painlessly) is certainly within Gods moral capital to dictate.
You raise another point:
I would dispute the assertion that "no ones life is dependent on outside beings determination". From the religious perspective, this is simply not true. If God created everything ex-nihilo, then all life is dependent on its creator's determination. Even if God is not the foundation of morality.
Indeed, what gives life its intrinsic worth? Where does this idea come from? Does this apply to animal life? Insect life? Vegetable life?
I think we can only assign inherent value to life on the basis of its creator's determination.
The secularist is completely without guidance regarding how to assign value and and how much value to life. And it has led to all kinds of animal rights movements which we all realize go to absurd extremes in their attempts to equate animal life with human life.
To your next comment:
Once you acknowledge that God as supplier of life is acting within his rights to end the free gift of life to any human being, then this command to Avraham becomes a moral command and is not evil in the slightest. Just as it is not evil to stop paying out free, undeserved, monthly stipends.
So, now that Dovid specifically said he is not confined to believe that the world is only 5771 years old are you going to debate a new topic? Also, I am happy to hear that Dovid retracted from the view that Homosexuals should "theoretically" (whatever that means in this context) commit suicide. This is clearly contradicted by many sources explicitly.I suspect that Mr. Pelta will not be able to find another opponent with which to debate the truth of Orthodox Judaism. This is because he has insisted that the opponent defend any position which Mr. Pelta determines to be normative to Orthodox Judaism--even if the opponent himself does not subscribe to that position. (This means even Rabbi Slifkin himself can be held to defend the position that the universe is only 5771 years old.) Quite an absurd condition for a debate if you ask me.
What "theoretically" means is להלכה ולא למעשה --this is common halachic terminology. Extensive training in Talmud accustoms one to take theoretical halachic positions constantly-- and defend them vigorously by mounting as much support as possible-- without being committed to them in practice whatsoever.
I agree that for those outside the beis midrash, it does seem peculiar to make such an elaborate, dramatic presentation of a halachic theory, but my goals were also to educate about the gravity of the behavior in terms of technical halacha. This explains the ultra- serious tone of the post.
Although Mr. Pelta found comments which misunderstood the thrust of my post, I find it quite noteworthy that all those comments come from sites which have a particular ax to grind against Orthodox Judaism and were predictably quite happy to find an opinion which they could portray as morally reprehensible.
If one will survey comments by other, disinterested parties, the picture becomes more balanced. I seem to be dangerous only in the minds of those who have a keen personal or ideological interest in portraying me as dangerous to the public.
By the way, E-man, where are the many explicit sources which contradict the theory? I would gladly add more to my list of two.
I wish to thank Baruch Pelta for giving me the opportunity to eliminate so much misinformation that has been going around the blogs for years and for being such a challenging debating opponent.
Anyone who wishes to further discuss any of the points raised in this debate is welcome to email me at: