I am, by no means, a man of faith. I have a great deal of respect for people who are unlike me, though. I can’t tell what caused me to lose faith, if I ever had it. Part of that lack of faith is what makes this book, for me, such a good read.
Silence by Shusaku Endo is the story of a priest who, unlike myself, starts with the utmost faith, as is necessary for someone of his position. The story is about his struggle to remain faithful to that which he has dedicated his life through the most heinous punishment one could ever hope to face.
The book—written by a devout Catholic—asks the eternal question: “How can God be merciful if he allows such senseless violence and pain?” The interesting wrinkle is that that the person doing the questioning is a priest as opposed to a layman like myself. The book well details the priest’s struggle with the battle between what he feels in his soul and what he sees in the world. The priest has in his mind a vision of glorious martyrdom. What he sees in front of him, though, is meaningless brutality.
Martin Scorsese is making this book into a movie. Andrew Garfield is playing the priest. I suspect it will be like all Scorsese: good. I also suspect, given the content of the book, that it will be terribly violent and tread the line between attempting to convey the violence necessary to make a priest question his beliefs and simply delighting in torture. But who knows. I’ll probably go see it whenever it comes out.
The book is a fairly quick read at just over 200 pages and I considered reading it time well spent.