I'm sorry I haven't posted more here, and I'm not sure I really have anything all that worthwhile to add. But thanks, Mark, for posting these questions. I'll give a couple of them a shot.
QUOTE(Mark @ Apr 18 2005, 09:48 PM)
1. Is Christianity incompatible with some cultures? Specifically, is the "failure" of the missionaries in Japan because the culture of the day was a "rootless swamp," or because of religious oppression?
A complex question with no easy answer, I guess. I'm thinking of Kichijiro and of the numerous times we're told that he would have been a faithful Christian all along if only he had been left alone to live in a quiet village without oppression. So, thinking of that, I guess I'm inclined to blame the oppression. However, I'm currently reading the book of Acts, and there are editor's notes in my Bible pointing out how early Christianity tended to take root, grow, and spread even faster during times of religious persecution. And Silence
certainly gives us examples of Japanese Christians who keep their faith up to the point of death.
2. Rodrigues continually evokes the image of Christ's persecution, comparing himself to Christ, Kichijiro to Judas. How do those comparisons stack up?
Was anyone else here slightly annoyed by Rodrigues's constant self-comparisons to Christ, especially toward the beginning of the book? They seemed to have a tone of such superiority, and they also seemed to warn that a fall was coming, sort of along the lines of Peter's claim that he would never leave Christ and was ready to die for him.
Also, I suppose I felt sympathy for Kichijiro, mainly because I know my own capacity for failure, and I have no idea how I would actually behave if placed in a life-threatening situation. I would hope to remain strong, but only God knows for sure. But I do view Kichijiro's apostasy in a different light than his turning over Rodrigues to the authorities for money. Wait a second. That's really troubling to me. I view his disloyalty to God as more forgivable than his disloyalty to Rodrigues?! Yikes. But again, I guess it's a case of his life being in danger. I almost see him as being put into a situation where he almost certainly will fail (trample or die) verses him actually working on his own volition to sell out Rodrigues, which also leads to numerous other Christians being persecuted. But goodness, that still troubles me!
Sorry. I think I just rambled there without actually saying much.
Edited by Diane, 22 April 2005 - 12:07 PM.