Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Silence’ is based on a novel about Christian Jesuit missionaries in Unzen, Japan around 17th-century. In my opinion it is one of the most incredible Christian persecution movies that displays Christ’s victory over death.
Japan is one of the toughest places to evangelise in, since the first missionary St. Francis Xavier in 1549. Today the Christian population in Japan makes up less than 1% of the total population. It is not surprising therefore that Christian persecution was heavily experienced by both the missionaries and local Christians since the 16th-century. It is clear in the movie that persecution was used to intimidate Christian and to stop Christianity's growth in Japan.
One of the most beautiful and remarkable things displayed in the movie (my highlight) is the active and unwavering faith of the local Christians who were being tortured and persecuted for their faith in Christ. They held on God’s promise of Paradise, a place where there is no sorrow, hardship, oppression, death, sin, labour, sickness and all kinds of evil, which compared to their context, was the only place they could long for. It is God’s promise of Paradise more than anything that made them look death in the eye with the sense of victory, knowing that death no longer had power on them.
They were willing to die for Christ because they were going to a better place.
Unfortunately when persecution was so fierce, the two missionaries, Father Ferreira and his student Rodrigues eventually compromised The Gospel and accepted to work with Japanese authorities, helping them to fight against the spread of Christianity in Japan. Their actions although disappointing, clearly shows what a person can do under the pressure of persecution.
I therefore, knowing that I have never gone through such an experience did not judge them, but only felt sorry with how their life ended. I am not sure if their faith in Christ was still active during their years of silence but I concluded that many of the local Christians who knew and look up to them were very discouraged and disappointed.
I recommend Christian's should watch this film, and be challenged in your faith.
The movie has really left a mark on me.