My Thoughts on Silence

!!!!SPOILER WARNING!!!!

Watched Silence today. It was a good movie. I feel like it asked a lot of important questions that I have also asked myself at times. In the beginning the main character starts out zealous, courageous, and idealistic. After much tribulation however, he ends up being very humble, not nearly as sure as he thought he was, but also closer to God than he was in the beginning. I honestly identify with Rodrigues’ journey. I cringe when I look back on my zealous but ignorant past as a young Christian. I was so sure back then, and I felt like I needed to convince others to believe like me.

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After suffering great hardship in life and allowing myself to think critically about my religion, I became much more humble and more comfortable with the mystery of existence. I’ve repented of the sin of certainty, and I’ve embraced tolerance, love, and inclusion. In doing that I feel like I’m closer to God or “god” than ever before.

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While that all sounds nice however, Silence doesn’t exactly end triumphantly like that. Both Rodrigues, myself, and anyone who has been weathered by life remains a little jaded. That brings me to the topic of persecution. I always get so angry when people are killing each other because they believe a certain way. It’s truly one of the worst injustices. But I also think that it’s really stupid to die and endure torture for your beliefs as well. Before I even watched this film, I have seriously questioned the passage in Matthew where Jesus says that if we deny him before men then he will deny us before the Father. It seems to me that if my son was going to be tortured and killed for knowing me, then I would much rather have my son deny me than to make him suffer. That’s why I loved the part when Rodrigues hears Christ telling him to step on his image. I feel like that is more consistent with love, and more consistent with the Christ who came to share in our pain, and relieve the poor, sick, downtrodden, and oppressed of their sufferings.

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If a god or man ask us to suffer for his glory, then he’s a selfish dick. And he’s not worthy to be worshiped.

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Then again, the people who were torturing and killing Christians were truly fucking evil. No matter how they tried to justify it. How are we supposed to fight them? We can’t do it by resorting to violence like they do. That would make us evil like them. So what do we do? Is change only brought about by martyrs? Is change worth dying for? Is there any point if you don’t live to see change? Will the change that we are hoping for really be what we desired? This gets even more complicated when you add the afterlife mystery. Is there really a heaven or hell? Is there really any life after death at all? How should we live our lives here and now? Is what we’re doing really worth it?

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These questions and many more are asked by Silence?
That’s what silence does. It gives us room to ask questions, and when we do that we grow. Growth is often painful. Is that what this life is about, learning and growing by enduring hardship? If that’s true then we must suffer to some degree, and that must pain God to watch as we go through it. But as God tells Rodrigues in the end, “I was always with you in the silence, sufferings beside you.”

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Of course I am just speculating again. And even if you don’t believe in God, we all still have faith in something. That’s what Liam Neeson said about the movie. This movie is about having your faith tested, and how doubt actually plays a part in strengthening our faith rather than destroying it.

I would also like to say that the Japanese persecutors had a lot of good things to say. It was perplexing. I’m like, you’re saying a lot of really good stuff about tolerance and not forcing your beliefs on others and the senselessness of martyrdom, and yet you’re fucking martyring people! Like whaaat? But I guess that’s where we have to know that this is a fictional story and we were meant to learn from these characters, not just hear a heroic tale of martyrdom where one side is good and one side is evil. The story isn’t as simple as he ones we often see in the movies, or even in the simple minded worldviews that we like to hold. Reality is more complex than that.

On another note, the faith, courage, and compassion displayed by the Japanese Christians was touching. They are often made to seem like sheep being led about though.

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And that brings me to Kinichiro, who repeatedly denied Christ and betrayed his brothers and sisters, and then asked for forgiveness later. He wasn’t the most glamorous character, but he was an interesting one. It’s interesting to me that Rodrigues and no doubt the viewers are frustrated by Kinichiro’s cowardice, but in the end Rodrigues and probly most the viewers agree that denying the faith is the right choice in those situations. And the most ironic thing is that Kinichiro is the one who dies for his faith in the end. It reminds me of Peter who denied Christ. Jesus didn’t deny him or forsake him as the verse in Matthew said he would do. Instead He intentionally goes to Peter and restores him. In the end Peter was martyred for the faith, as was Kinichiro. BTW I was impressed by Kubozuka. This character was completely different from his previous characters, but he nailed it. haha

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I was also really happy to see some other familiar actors. Tadanobu Asano who played the translator did a really great job.

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So did Nana Komatsu when she played one of the Christians who was jailed and martyred.

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All of the actors did a good job. I felt like they all fit their characters well.

Andrew Garfield with his courage and compassion

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Adam Driver with his conviction

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Liam Neeson with his dejected reverence

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The scenery in the movie was also very nice.

The momentum of the movie kept me watching without worrying about time. Although to be honest it wasn’t quite perfect. I felt like it could have hit a little harder in some moments. Anyway, it inspired a lot of thought, and it was a really great movie that I won’t forget.