Apologetics Books Dundee Films Food History Judaism Music Podcasts Radio Sermons Theology TV

Saturday Review 7 – Operation Finale; Owen Vol 9; From Our Own Correspondent; The White Album; Masterchef; Cafe Scilia

Film – Operation Finale – 7/10

If you have Netflix then don’t miss this film.  The story of the capture of Adolf Eichmann is fascinating enough and this film certainly captures that – but it also raises some great questions and teaches some important lessons.

  1. Why do people hate the Jews so much?   “The history of the Jewish people is steeped in suffering and persecution” says one of the political leaders.  It is remarkable that currently in 2019, hatred of the Jews is a hot political issue in the UK, the EU and the USA (to say nothing of the Arab and Asian worlds).

2. What was wrong with the Holocaust?  It seems a ridiculous question but if what Eichmann states is true  – “We are all just animals, it’s just that some have bigger teeth than others”, then what is the logical moral basis for arguing against the Holocaust?  In a debate at the University of Cambridge I was told by the president of the atheist/agnostic society, citing Bertrand Russell,  that it was not a fact that Dachau and Auschwitz were wrong.  He thought they were wrong but it could not be proven as a scientific fact such as gravity.   Eichmann’s view was that killing the Jews was protecting his country from a virus and anyway it was just the rearranging of chemicals in the universe.  On the purely atheistic materialistic scientific perspective, he was right.  Incidentally at that debate I was asked by my atheist opponent to prove that Auschwitz was wrong. I answered.  “You cannot prove that Auschwitz was wrong because your basic presupposition, your basic starting point, is that there is no absolute God – so ultimately you cannot get to absolute morals or absolute right and wrong”.  His response was “But your starting point is that there is a God”.  “No, my starting point is that killing six million Jews is wrong.  But you are right – then I ask – why is it wrong?  And I keep asking the question until the only answer that comes up is the one that Richard Dawkins states – to have absolute morals you need an absolute God.  The irony is that my acceptance of evil leads me to God, your rejection of God leads you to the notion that ultimately there is no such thing as evil”.  It was a revelatory moment for me and I ended up developing this Apologetic of Evil…

3.  Evil often appears banal?  If I recall correctly it was a journalist writing about Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 06.21.39Eichmann’s trial who described him as ‘the banality of evil.  Operation Finale certainly captures that.  Eichmann looks like a book clerk, is mild-mannered and polite.  This is no foaming at the mouth maniac.  It is an accurate description. All in all an excellent and informative film.  Ben Kingsley as Eichmann is outstanding.

Books – John Owen Vol 9 – 8/10

Owen-V9-SermonsToTheChurch-639x1024I am gradually working my way through Owen’s works.  Again I greatly enjoyed reading this one – a sermon at a time. (Vol 9 is a book of 83 sermons to the church).   Especially the Sacramental Discourses.  Owen is deep and at times complex – you certainly can’t skim read him!  But he is not as difficult as some might imagine.  Once you get in to it – you will enjoy swimming in the deep waters!  Mainly because this is not just deep intellectual theology, but it is biblical teaching that brings you Christ.  What more could a Christian want? Some sermons are so highlighted in my book that I would have been as well just colouring in the whole one – for example the sermon on ‘the use of faith under reproaches and persecutions’ (p. 498) – from which this gem comes:

“Faith will give us such an experience of the power, efficacy, sweetness and benefit of gospel ordinances and gospel worship, as shall cause us to despise all that the world can do in opposition unto us.”  

Owen states his purpose clearly:

The last day will discover I have nothing but a heart to lead you in the ways of God and into the enjoyment of God”  

Podcasts – From Our Own Correspondent  9/10

From Our Own Correspondent is the BBC at its best.  Hosted by the experienced Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 06.59.41journalist, Kate Adie,  the self description is accurate; “Insight, wit and analysis from BBC correspondents, journalists and writers from around the world”.   I would highly recommend listening to this online or as a podcast.  It lasts about 30 minutes. As an example This is a great clip from a correspondent in Georgia.  Real men eat egg shells!

Album – The Beatles – White Album – 8/10

I used to own this album on white vinyl.  I regret selling it after I became a Christian (thinking it was ‘worldly’ to have such a large record collection!) – because it would be worth a fortune now. It is a double album with 30 varied songs.  From the rock of Helter Skelter to the pop sing-a-long of ObLa-Di- Ob-La-da and Back in the USSR.  My favourite is a catchy and simply ditty – I’m so Tired. 


Although 50 years old The White Album does not sound dated and is miles better than any album in today’s charts – none of which will be around in 50 years time!

TV – Masterchef -6/10

Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 07.17.28I already wrote a little about Masterchef here – It is a popular TV programme based simply upon the premise of fine dining competition.  As well as the original Masterchef there are spin offs such as Celebrity Masterchef and Professional Masterchef.  I think the programme works well because of the personalities of both the judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace and the contestants – who are diverse and entertaining.  Although if I hear one more ‘cooking is my passion’ cliché I’ll scream!  It’s an entertaining, interesting insight into some of our culture!  Speaking of food…

Cafe Scilia – 7/10

Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 07.23.34

One of the places I will miss most in leaving Dundee will be my second office – The Cafe Scilia.  This is just down from St Peters – a former launderette  It’s small and in some ways basic – but it really is excellent Scillian food and coffee.  I especially love the pastaScreenshot 2019-03-02 at 07.27.48 and the pizza and the Sicilian specialities.   And it is very reasonably priced.  The staff are always great – in fact all of us who work in St Peters know them by name and would even regard them as friends!  If you are in Dundee then you could do worse than visit St Petes – and then go for a coffee or lunch at the Scillian!

Saturday Review 6 – Call the Midwife; 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You; Downfall; Beethoven’s Pastoral; The Ralia Cafe


  1. The journalist you refer to who was writing about Eichmann was Hannah Arendt , when she saw Eichmann in the dock in Jerusalem, she spoke of his appearance and ‘the banality of evil.’

    Eichmann was simply a Mr. Organiser and in his warped universe a ‘good’ one and that is why he was one of the few Nazis targeted by Israel after World War Two.In a very practical sense he made the holocaust work and run on time.

  2. Even as a Christian, one might feel it one’s sacred duty to eradicate a perceived threat to all humanity: it’s how we got burnings, beheadings and “wars of religion”, and indeed those still have their proponents today. I have no doubt the Nazis genuinely believed – or were led to believe – that Jews were a universal existential threat, and responded exactly the same way, though rather more ruthlessly and thoroughly, that we did (for the same reason!) to the Nazis themselves. Thankfully we still had enough vestigial Christian morality to stop short of a similar “solution”. I am not sure we could be relied on not to go down the same way again.
    It’s something I’ve long recognised, and tried to understand and explain, that evil *always* has to borrow off good for its very existence – nobody gets out of bed saying “I’m going to do something really evil today.” Those who do evil always do it to obtain some perceived benefit or pleasure, usually but not always to themselves. Even “justice” (the perversion of which is revenge) is itself a righteous pleasure relating to the setting-right of wrong: and theatrical taboo-breaking or even mass murder are acts seeking attention and validation – again, good things in themselves.
    Satan could not exist without God, or those gifts God has made – he has nothing to offer of his own, only corruption, destruction and death of what is already given.

    1. The Nazis simply exploited Christian antisemitism that was prevalent in German society, dating back at least to the mid-19th century, and probably much further back into Middle-Ages Europe.

      Positing bogeyman figures like “Satan” as some sort of explanation — in the context of the Shoah — is offensive to Jews, and anyone else with basic commonsense, when purely man-made explanations are more than sufficient to account for such a large-scale atrocity.

      1. Are you yourself Jewish? Otherwise telling me what Jews find “offensive” might be rather presumptuous. It’s their Scripture, after all, that introduces us to Satan and gives him a name.
        As to “commonsense”, it’s anything but common: plenty still think it “commonsense” that Jews and other “strangers” should – if nothing worse! – not be trusted. Just because a belief is “common” doesn’t make it “sense”.
        And you don’t have to believe in a personal wrecker to take the point I made: that evil cannot exist without good to parasite on.

      2. The Tanakh is Hebrew scripture. It has nothing to do with gentiles. If you’re going to avail yourself of — and attempt to co-opt — Jewish “sacred” texts (even down to worshiping a purely Hebrew deity), then by rights you should reject messianic status for Jesus, as practicing Jews do (not including wacko Jews for Jesus).

        But Christianity is like a buffet spread: you can pick and choose whatever you like, according to taste, without worrying about whether it all goes together very well.

        Forget folkloric figures like “Satan”. If we want to understand the mysteries of human “evil”, we have to look to greater understanding of neurological causes.

      3. Christianity is not a buffet spread – even though some professing Christians treat it like such. It actually fits together very well – OT and NT, Christ and the prophets and apostles…

  3. What sort of world will it be in 50 years if Jesus hasn’t returned? It’s close to Orwellian now so the darkness would surely be complete by 2070.

    Watchmen on the walls anticipate Jesus coming soon – do you David? I am not familiar with Free Church of Scotland position on eschatology. Not trying to set dates but the signs of the times with skulduggery everywhere, particularly in the established churches, point to the nearness of the blessed hope of the true church.

    Just to list some: Pope’s Chrislam/inter-faith sell-out; CofE has finally lost the plot, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians et al sold out to SSM and TG; NAR prophets embracing new age and dominionism; arrests of street preachers, intimidation of Christians across all employment sectors; open defiance and mockery against God throughout society by individuals, groups and businesses; political chaos everywhere, crying peace when there is no peace , wars and rumours of wars; increasing natural disasters;, violence and crime rising, increasing drug legalisation; UN plans for Agenda 21 and 30 advancing daily while the world and the church slumber; Israel’s enemies circling ominously…and much, much more.

    Lovers of The Beatles might be upset at my parody of The Long and Winding Road, written last week, unplanned and by inspiration, I am not a musician so it may need some adjustments prior to recording (out of courtesy I have messaged Paul McCartney to inform him) and am in touch with Christian producers in UK and US (please pray that, in the spirit of General Booth popular songs by top artists, with biblical lyrics are broadcast to by-pass MSM road-blocks). As Tim Jupp said on Premier last week “Music can reach where preachers can’t”:


    There are two roads
    That lead to eternity
    Which one’s for you and me
    It’s time to decide

    The broad, broad road
    Attracts us at every turn
    Appeals to us all
    Says life’s just a ball

    The broad, broad road that offers us everything
    But what does it profit us
    To gain the whole world
    And (If we) lose our own souls

    Many times we’ve been alone
    And many ways we’ve tried
    For a way we thought we’d never find

    On that long and winding road
    Many times we’ve cried

    The guide book shows
    There’s a strait and a narrow way
    That leads to a holy way
    But we have to choose

    Turn away from our emptiness
    Turn toward holiness
    Repent from our selfishness
    Believe in the Son

    He’s standing before us now
    With arms open wide/The door’s open wide
    That whoever will may come
    To walk by his side

    It starts on our knees in prayer
    He laid down his life for us /He knocks on our door
    He takes all our sins away/Invites us to eat with him
    Just welcome him now/Come sup(eat) with him now

    He is the Son of God
    We all know his name
    We all have rejected him
    But he took our blame

    The time is short
    For Jesus is coming back
    His promise is sure
    For all who believe in him
    He is the door
    That all men search for (that The Beatles looked for!)

    He’ll reign in Jerusalem
    The truth in plain sight
    It was he who created us
    He’ll put the world right

    So what are you waiting for
    He’s the life and the way
    The truth we’re all searching for
    So choose him today…

    …choose him today
    So choose him today

    Copyright, Jude Meritus 18 February 2019. Inspired by Revelation 3:20. A parody of The Long and Winding Road, Lennon & McCartney 1970. It was their last and final number one hit (their 20th) before they broke up.

  4. I remember reading of an incident at Eichmann’s trial where an observer burst into tears, when asked the reason for her reaction, she said something to the effect that “he was so odinary, he looks just like us.” Her assumption of evil appearing evil was destroyed.

  5. ” that we it was not a fact that Dachau and Auschwitz were wrong” – please can you rewrite this? Thank you.

  6. “Why do people hate the Jews so much?”

    Should be addressed to certain evangelical Christians — alt-right, for instance — and Muslims. I doubt that atheists or secularists are bothered overly much by Jews (I expect someone will weigh in with shop-worn cliches about Stalinism, or Hitler. After all, what else do you have?)

    But some speculations might be called for: Jews were sensible enough to reject both Jesus and the Islamic “prophet”, which probably didn’t win them many friends. Also, Jews are the only members of the Abrahamic faiths to openly mock or make fun of their own religion, which endears them to non-theists, but — again — not to devout Christians/Muslims. Which is why we have Jewish humour — profane, skeptical, wildly irreverent — but no real Christian/Islamic counterpart.

    The sources of Christian antisemitism lie in the Gospels — particularly John — and probably in some of Paul’s epistles, like Thessalonians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: