Chrono Crusade and the Silence of God

Chrono Crusade
Art by Tyuh

Since I started watching Chrono Crusade, I’ve been impressed by the bits and pieces of Christianity that popped up in episodes.  While they may function as quasi-religious story elements (Evangelion, anyone?), these pieces are still often true and sometimes used in context.  At the same time, I’ve also been underwhelmed, particularly by the characters whose thoughts and actions better resembled 7-year-olds than grown-ups.  So it’s an understatement to say I was surprised by the power of episode 7, “Devil,” and by the important question it brought up: What of God’s silence?

In this episode, the villain, Aion, only hitherto discussed, appears for the first time.  In a matter of minutes, I went from rolling my eyes at what I saw as a typical bad guy to really feeling a sort of dread.  He was almost precisely what I expected out of a Satanic figure.   Aion openly questions God and through reasonable and almost unarguable statements, using personal experience against our heroes (this is reminiscent of Job) and sheer physical power, Aion overwhelms Rosette, Chrono, and the others.

Most of his lecture to the group fighting him isn’t about the existence of God – this is a given in the series – it has to do with what might be a more troubling question – in this moment of great pain (and in others in the characters’ pasts), why has God not answered?  Why has He let His children suffer?

This question is nothing new.  I’m reminded of a woman who angrily challenged evangelist Ray Comfort during a town hall-type setting, asking why God would allow people to die of cancer.  Why is it that in these moments of severe pain that God often doesn’t cure us?

In fact, during the Chrono Crusade episode, I thought of even more painful situations – those affecting more people.  The emotions of those involved and the heaviness of the events, emphasized particularly by Aion’s brutalizing of Chrono (broken neck?), somehow made my thoughts more serious.  They were taken to Shusaku Endo’s masterpiece, Silence, in which missionaries were forced to recant their belief, or else be the reason why Japanese Christians were put through horrible torture until they died.  The question in the book was the same as Aion’s – where was God in all this?

I don’t want to be a know-it-all or to patronize those who have gone through very difficult times.  I’ve been blessed to live a relatively comfortable life, so I don’t know how I would react to the worst of circumstances.  So I’ll say this is what I believe, from one so far unchallenged.  The answer is complex and one I don’t fully understand – but it is also simple:

God is with us and God is not silent.

Christians largely believe that God speaks to us.  Though Theophanies and Christophanies are uncommon, most Christians I know believe that God speaks to use through the Bible, through prayer and otherwise in thought, and through other people’s words.  While it may not necessarily ever be “easy” to hear God’s voice, it’s easier to find it in good times than in bad.  But even in harsh times, God is unchanging – He remains the same.

The world is a dangerous and often awful place.  Miracles are not common (and even many professing Christians don’t believe they occur), and as such, it means that many will unfairly suffer.  And in these circumstances, God speaks – maybe not audibly, but certainly in our past experiences with Him and in what we know of Him in scripture.  Particularly, we may remember that God knows both the pain of losing a son and in the person of Christ, the pain of being abandoned by the Father (and world) as he was tortured to death.

Of course, what we know and what we do are two different things.  Like a child so angry that he yells over the voice of a soothing parent, I lose my cool and forget the words of God when I become irate.  It’s in these times that I hope one day I’ll shut up and listen…and “in the quite, hear [His] voice.”  And I hope the same for you, especially in the storms of life.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

21 thoughts on “Chrono Crusade and the Silence of God

  1. Are you enjoying Chrono Crusade overall? It’s one of my favorite series.

    I’m actually of the opinion that God takes a largely hands off approach in the modern world. I do believe in miracles, as I’ve known others who have experienced them, and I believe in the movement of the spirit, as I’ve experienced it myself. But I think that the “bad stuff” that happens is caused by man, and I think that God expects us to solve our own problems. Like a father, He can’t do everything for us or we’ll never learn anything or have any sense of personal accomplishment. I think He blesses people with the skills and abilities to solve problems, but it’s up to us to use them.

    1. I am…kind of enjoying it? I like the series so far, but until episode 7, it hadn’t gripped me. I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

      I agree with a lot of what you’re saying about God being hands off (though not to the extent of your belief). Certainly, man creates folly in the world and God has given us gifts and other abilities to do good. On the other hand, I do believe God moves in the world – for instance, the Bible gives example after example of how He moves in accordance to prayers. But how He does so (and how much) is a mystery to me.

  2. When I first saw Chrono Crusade, I shuddered and would leave the room during some of the especially blasphemous tirades. I think, ultimately, that this speaks to their effectiveness in portraying a subversive devil, but also (intentionally or not) reminds viewers of the standards for listening to a prophet: look at what comes of following them. Aion is charismatic and clever, bringing up what may seem like reasonable objections – but Aion does horrible things to peoples’ memories and bodies in the furtherance of his goals.

    1. That’s a really interesting point you make about false prophets. I haven’t watched the entirety of the series, but I’ll be looking for that theme (and maybe writing about it) and I continue. Thanks for the comments. 🙂

    1. On the God argument, it is easy to make assumptions on one or another faction so its rather pointless for me to talk without proof to keep up my thesis. It’s all about faith I suppose.

  3. Reminds me of that story where Elijah is supposed to wait on the mountain for God. There’s a giant wind, a huge earthquake, and a big fire. But God isn’t in any of them. Afterwards, Elijah hears a small whisper, and that’s where God is. (found it: 1 Kings 19)

    For me, at least, it’s easier to see God in bad times than it good times. In good times, I have a tendency to forget to look for him (I don’t think I’m all that unusual in this regard). A light shines brighter in the darkness and all that.

    1. Thanks for sharing the story about Elijah – that’s a great accompaniment to this post.

      I can see your point. I used to be like as well. In good times, I’d forget about God, but in bad times, I’d seek Him out. As I’ve gotten older, I find myself avoiding God a lot when life becomes difficult – almost battling what I know is right and what I know will bring comfort, letting my pride win out. But when times are good, which is sometimes a rarity in the stresses of life, I’ve found myself quicker to thank God.

      I can also see your POV in regards to Chrono Crusade…I’m not all that into the characters yet and I think the writing is shabby up to this point. But the villain, like I mentioned, is quite compelling and I’m also enjoying the story and setting.

  4. The manga is one of my favorites actually, it’s a very good title. Starts out a bit slow, but when they meet Aion, it only gets better and better. First time I was sad reading a manga too.

  5. I find that I’m able to hear God better in hard times, because I’m more determined to figure out what he’s trying to tell me. When it’s in good times and I’m listening to God, It’s more likely that when I have trouble hearing him I’ll just say “I’ll figure it out some other time”

    1. That makes sense in that there’s less pressure to “figure it out” when things are going well. Thanks for sharing, Lynna. 😉

  6. Thank you for writing this. The problem of evil has always been an enormous stumbling block for me.

    On a lighter note, I should probably start watching Chrono Crusade. 🙂

    1. Well, it’s an important question. Maybe THE important question. And I think if we haven’t considered it, then we as Christians haven’t examined our faith closely enough.

      Oh, and if you watch Chrono Crusade, let me know what you think!

  7. Good post. The post and the comments together pique my interest in Chrono Crusade, for sure. I’ve glanced at it, but never given it a try. A good villain can add a lot to an anime. I’d be interested in how or if the protagonists respond to Aion.

    1. Thanks, Annalyn!

      Up until this point, it’s really been Aion that’s most interesting among the character. But there’s so much emotion bubbling beneath the surface, that I imagine back stories and confrontations could make some really interesting viewing down the line.

  8. I just finished chrono crusade yesterday. Episode 7 I watched before I went to bed, and it kept me up (though Aion’s tirade was a reason, it was mainly because I scrolled down to the comments and saw a guy with some thumbs up say, “you know, I actually agree with most of the things he said about God!!!!1!”)

    Anyway, in the series I find that God truly is there and working in the lives of the characters. He’s not speaking audibly, but he is behind the scenes. When Aion tries to take Azmaria and his shadow is destroyed by that large display of the cross, or when the Virgin appears to Rosette and Azmaria after her soul exorcism (I’m not catholic, but I have to work with the series), we can see God watching over them all and protecting them.

    We don’t always understand why God does things the way he does (in the series, it may seem odd that God gave devils access to His power, but it was His will.) but we know that he is in control and can rest in that.

    By the way, this is an awesome series. It’s definitely not orthodox within catholic or protestant Christianity, but it’s probably one of the closest things I’ve seen to a Christian anime outside of the 3 actually christian ones.

    1. Thanks for the great comments! I think that in a series like this, the best you can hope for is the scenario you mentioned – God watching over the faithful in the series (along with themes that are associated with Christianity). I’m only through episode 10, but I’ll be looking for the theme you mentioned as I go throughout the rest of the show.

      Thanks again for the insight!

  9. Many have said before what I would like express, so I would just like to comment that I enjoy reading your posts regarding this anime. This was one of the first anime I downloaded back in the old days, and I have a love hate relation with it.

    1. I can see why a Christian would have a love/hate relationship with the series. Some of Aion’s statements can be difficult to take in and some religious elements are cringe-worthy (ex. Chrono’s explanation of the soul). But thus far, I’m finding the “truths” present in the series (whether intentional or not) worth watching, and the show’s becoming more entertaining as it’s becoming more serious.

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