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A crisis of faith

Silence by Shusaku Endo Picador paperback 267pp 2017, 1966 Available at Asia Books and leading bookshops 395 baht

While martyrdom indicates the intensity of belief in, not the truth of, a religion, religious wars have been bloody throughout human history. Though not regarded as a war of religion, six million Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust. Christianity in general, Catholics in particular, experienced persecution for centuries.

A plethora of books have been penned on the sufferings of those who refused to stop believing in their god. Despite the cruellest of torture, Catholic nuns chose horrendous deaths instead. Other religions have had their own martyrs for the same reason.

All were brave. Woody Allen wasn't smiling when he said that he could stand anything but pain. Can you imagine the anguish of priests and those not of the clergy forced to make that choice? A 20th century Japanese Catholic wrote a historical novel on the subject.

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