Last evening, my husband and I decided to watch a movie by Martin Scorsese entitled, “Silence.” It is very long (almost 3 hours) so we didn’t finish watching it. Perhaps we will finish it tonight.
My first impression was that although this was a movie about Catholic Christian missionaries in 17th century Japan (where Christianity was outlawed and Christians hunted, rounded up, tortured, and then killed in several awful ways), there was something about it that lacked much redeeming value and in fact, proved to be deeply disturbing. My husband and I hoped that the last portion of the movie would provide more redeeming value, but my sneak preview of the end of the movie proved to be a disappointment.
The following movie review (spoiler alert!) over at The Christian Post asks the question Why Are Christians Praising Scorsese’s ‘Silence’?
Certainly the notion that Christ would condone apostasy to end someone else’s suffering is deeply problematic.
Jesus left very clear instructions about renouncing Him, saying: “(W)hoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 10:33)
As believers, we know this verse, so the moral Catch-22 in Silence creates a great deal of inner emotional turmoil. We cannot accept the decision Rodrigues made, yet how can we not? This is what makes Silence so potentially treacherous.
Catholic author and editor of Aletia, Daniel McInerny, suggests that Silence raises “the sinister possibility that Christian faith and love are internally conflicted, making a lack of integrity, at least in extreme circumstances, inevitable.”
I agree with McInerny. The movie actually reminded me of a quiz my son was given by a public school teacher, which presented numerous no-win moral dilemmas and then required him to choose. The only purpose I could imagine for the quiz was to undermine a Judeo-Christian ethic, especially since it was given as part of a unit on the Salem Witch Trials.
Silence has this same disastrous potential. It raises a serious theological dilemma, but offers no solution — at least not a biblically viable one.
Read entire review HERE.
I can’t be sure, of course, what went on in the mind of writer of the book that Scorsese adapted into this film. However, my own knowledge of the differences between Roman Catholicism vs. Biblical Christianity give me a hint. Catholicism’s traditions include the concept of “Purgatory,” which is not a biblical belief. Perhaps this answers the question of the Post writer who asked:
Silence also suggests that one can maintain his faith in complete private, and still be saved. Again, I say suggest because the film doesn’t settle issues; it merely raises them. But what is the viewer supposed to conclude about Rodrigues [Note: one of the Jesuit priests who denounced his faith later in the movie] clutching a cross at the end?
As we solemnly remember Good Friday, we are reminded that Jesus laid down his life for his friends willingly. He could have called legions of angels to “rescue” Him from the cross. If He did that, He would have re-entered heaven alone. Instead He stayed there to rescue all who would believe in Him from the penalty of their sins. His sacrificial death was accomplished to defeat eternal death and hell for all human beings who would place their trust in Jesus Christ.
In a comment thread on one of my previous posts, I made the claim that Jesus Christ has fulfilled over 300 Bible prophecies. There are several yet to be fulfilled at His second coming. I found a site that lists 353 prophecies fulfilled by Christ!
Even with all of this evidence, hardened hearts will still refuse to believe in Jesus! Amazing…isn’t it?
Why is that?
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Even with proof of fulfilled prophecies by Christ, there are those who will continue to refuse the message of the cross. So, what exactly is missing in those who refuse being saved by the power of God?
No wonder the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write in Hebrews 11:6 the answer to that question.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.