Shusaku Endo – Silence


I honestly didn’t feel like reading this book at first. I presumed “Silence” by Shusaku Endo will be one of those books that moralise the godless and tell you how there is God and how he loves you, but only if you believe in him and so on. My religious views are only my concern, I think, thus I was reluctant. But as I took it from the library, I felt obliged to do it.

And how surprised I was. I think this book “Fits all”, for the further you read, the more, from the point of view of a priest, to that, you understand how different is belief in God and Church are. A man judges you – you’re a blasphemer if you are weak and can’t handle things in the name of your God. But what if others die because YOU believe? I mean, if you were told – we’ll hang this man, innocent man, for nothing, if you won’t denounce your belief in god formally/publically – would you let the man die and stay true in the eyes of the church? Or would you step on the picture of your Holy Father, just so one of his creation gets saved, even if it meant Church will then denounce you instead?

I was mesmerized  by such a point of view. I did once read a bible, it contains a ton of great and interesting stories, fantasy ones if you wish, with angels, demons and other things. But I myself was never religious, and maybe I would have been were I not by force pushed into it, being told not to draw demons, being told not to dress in black, being called a goth which equaled being called a satanist by religious freaks, and this book highlights exactly that side. The church rules are ran by men and they’re quick to damn you, if you’re not very strict in the frame of the Saint-Like. And they’re just as quick to forget that this Jesus of theirs died for the lowliest of the low, the criminals who murdered, for those who betrayed him, for the weak and the ugly.

The title “Silence” is well placed, for the priest in the book watches innocent poor people work harder than any animal and get tortured and killed for nothing, for christianity, for deity that is not even theirs. And thus he keeps asking – why do You stay silent in presence of such wrong? It was a bit hard to read at first, because topic simply didn’t interest me – missioners come to Japan to convert. Bah. But when Silence was broken – that’s when book practically explodes and revealed all the purpose behind it – first of all a man is not to be a Saint, a man is to be a HUMAN BEING, compassionate, forgiving, able to put others before one self. Pretty much, as any atheist who isn’t a moron would tell you (because, admit it, atheist too have the “freaks”, just like religious folk have theirs) – don’t be a dick, hell or no hell. That was what saved this book in my eyes.

So in the end, I think this book might be a good one for both religious, christians, and non-religious, for the “moral behind it” should be applied to all. I know my mother wouldn’t like it, for she’d jump to conclusions of how cruel japanese people are, which is redundant, for we, lithuanians, too have our own roots in something far far from christian, and our ancestors chose death over “foreign god“, thus crusaders could be considered just as cruel, if not crueler. War over God of Love and Compassion is like Celibacy for God of Fertility. Lets just maybe be kind to each other first, alright? I’ll give this book 4 out of 5. Deserved it right for the last few chapters, even if it ended poorly.

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