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Is God Silent Essay

1516 words - 7 pages

Is God Really Silent?
The novel Silence is written by a Japanese author named Shusaku Endo. It is a story of two young Portuguese Jesuits, Rodrigues and Garrpe, sent to Japan for missionary and to look for their mentor, Ferreira. The story took place in two Japanese villages namely Tomogi and Nagasaki. Rodrigues and Garrpe arrived in Japan in 1638 and it was in Tomogi where they encountered the underground Japanese Christians and began their missionary work in a hidden hut on the mountain. During this time period, many Christians were tortured and persecuted by the Japanese government but there were also a number of people who apostatized such as Ferreira. Eventually the two Jesuits got ...view middle of the document...

The Jesuits’ primary purpose of going to Japan was to get more followers by spreading Christianity. But unfortunately, due to the strong government organization in Japan, such attempt could not carry out smoothly. When Rodrigues and Garrpe first arrived in Japan, they learnt that due to the persecution, Japanese Christians could only practice their religion in secrecy which is very different from how the Jesuits practice theirs. These villagers had no churches to go to, no sacraments, they pray in front of the picture of Christ (pg 26-27). With the help of these Christian villagers, the two Jesuits were able to preach and perform sacraments in a hidden hut. In all, their missionary life was quiet and peaceful. It was not until the sudden inspection by the samurais had they witness the cruelty of the Japanese magistrates. Then Rodrigues started to wonder about God’s silent as mentioned in Chapter 4 followed by the death of two Christian villagers, Mokichi and Ichizo, “Behind the depressing silence of this sea, the silence of God…the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with folded arms, silent” (pg 61). This is when the doubt began to appear. As the story goes on, more Christians have been captured and tortured in turn for Rodrigues to apostatize and God continually to be silent. Although he had blamed God for his unreasonable silence, but in the end Rodrigues saw something in the Japanese Christians that Ferreira and the magistrates could not see, faith. “With his own eyes he had seen those peasants, poverty-stricken martyrs. If they had not had a true belief in salvation, how could they sink like stones in the mist-covered sea?...it breathed a conviction that had been implanted in Japan not by these officials nor by Buddhism, but by the Christian Church” (pg 152). Because of God’s “silence”, he had ultimately became confident in the faith of the Japanese Christians. But was God really silent? Perhaps he has spoken to Rodrigues in a different kind of way by revealing himself in nature or on one’s own experience.
Many times God does not speak to us in words to strengthen our faith or to change people’s lives. Rodrigues learnt how to love and forgive through the varies circumstances of his life. This can be seen at the very end of Chapter 10 as he administered sacrament for the man who had betrayed him “Since in this country there is now no one else to hear your confession, I will do it…say the prayers after confession…Go in peace” (pg 191). He willingly performed this sacrament at the end of the story for a fallen Christian named Kichijiro, a man who had betrayed Rodrigues for a few pieces of silver (pg 78). Unlike the rest of the Christians in the village, this fellow is weak-minded as he apostatized many times to save his life at the cross-examination. Many times Rodrigues had given him absolution, but it was not out of love and forgiveness, instead it was merely out of the duty of a priest. In the prison, he...

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