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He is forced at one point to witness his beloved fellow priest Garupe--who would not apostatize to save several Christians from being drowned at sea--himself drown in an effort to keep them from going under.
If you have been reading NCR's other articles on "Silence," or read the novel, or seen the film, you know that Rodrigues, too, apostatizes by stepping on the image of Christ to save the lives of his fellow Christians.
This style of representation marks a troubling, but no doubt deliberate choice on Scorsese's part, since the second half of the film concerns the two priests' captivity: Rodrigues is prepared for martyrdom, but not for the Japanese inquisitor's more diabolical scheme, which involves torturing other Christians until he apostatizes.
He dies exhorting his fellow captives not to apostatize.
Apollyon threatens the pilgrim, commanding him to give Jesus "the slip," to fall away, apostatize, and return to a life of ease and comfort; in other words: give up the life of a pilgrim.
46) It remains unclear if he paid off the entire debt or convinced the ruler, with his impressive piety, to free the detained Armenians, but according to the scribe he managed to do so with the following words: "And with God's grace let us repay the debt we owe the king, so that we may not apostatize.
27) As the Sabbatian movement grew, the Ottoman authorities noticed it and brought Sabbatai Sevi before the Sultan, whereby he was forced to apostatize to Islam under threat of death.
Each has devoted his life to loving God and to loving neighbor, but the Japanese authorities have decided to torture and kill the Christian peasants unless the priests apostatize.
Recently separated from the Jewish synagogue, the sectarians were suffering both societal scorn from the outside culture and the threat of internal collapse from members tempted to apostatize back to Judaism.