Iglesia ni Cristo
What is Iglesia ni Cristo?
If you are a Filipino, then you are surely aware of the locally founded religion of Iglesia ni Cristo. They have actually spread all over the world now having members and churches in many other countries. This religion based on Christianity was founded by Erano Manalo who has now passed away. He started preaching a long time ago and got a decent amount of following and now they have become a very big church that has many followers. It's actually also become so bureaucratic. I do see it as a some sort of quasi-state, just as I do with any other religion that seeks to indoctrinate any individual with claims of salvation.
As you may have noticed in the photo, their actual churches or place of worship is grand and very luxurious looking. Probably not the way their supposed founders envisioned how the church ought to have been (I do bring up the same argument with Catholics and Vatican). I've actually always been discerning and critical of different religions. I am not really biased toward any and remain a skeptic against all of them.
I say this because the reason I am writing about the Iglesia ni Cristo religions is because of a TV show I am forced to watch (being that I don't have cable or internet in my other house in Laguna) that is hosted by Bro Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan (the old path) another Christian religion that's very critical of the INC. I noticed even that they have some sort of feud. This is probably because both claim to give salvation and they really have to debate each other on who's the "real" church. All the bickering is actually quite interesting.
One interesting difference I noticed among the two religions though would be that the Iglesia ni Cristo have more budget and more power and influence especially when it comes to politics. They have this rule of block voting where it becomes a sin if you do not vote for the candidates prescribed by the church. It is quite ridiculous when you think about it. But hey, that's religion for you, yeah?
Both religions even have their own TV channels and it's so noticeable that the production and broadcasting capabilities of INC or Iglesia ni Cristo is really superior. They look more bureaucratic though compared to Bro Eli Soriano where it's seemingly more personal and you get to ask questions personally and he even has a twitter account.
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Doctrines of Iglesia Ni Cristo
The first real thing I really noticed about their doctrines is that they are not allowed to eat Dinuguan (pork cooked in its own blood). They say that it is in the bible that you shouldn't eat that. Oh well, I do feel bad for them because that's really one of my favorites. Aside from that they are also very critical of the Catholic church (I am guessing because this is the most mainstream Christian sector here in the Philippines). I find this very interesting because I've always been interested in criticizing the Catholic religion's practices and policies.
These people really take their religion and doctrines very seriously. They even have their own judiciary system of some sort that will decide whether you will be kicked out if ever you go against their teachings. And of course this would mean that you will go to Hell (assuming that they are the one true religion). The reason I know so much about this is because I used to have an ex-girlfriend that was a part of this religion and I had to go through the whole process of their bible studies. I did find that interesting, as I have said, because it is very critical of other religions but at the same time made me criticize them as well and raised a lot of questions. For instance, is Gandhi in hell? Or any other brilliant people just because they're not part of this religion? Like Einstein or Ludwig von MIses, or whoever invented medicines for different diseases or whatever. That really makes no sense to me. It's all so exclusive, elitist, and at the same time very unforgiving (which is seemingly against the basic teachings of Christianity).
Iglesia ni Cristo Video
So what's up with Iglesia ni Cristo?
Well, I don't really care, you know? To each his own. They can preach all they want and gather those who are gullible enough to listen to their silly rhetoric about how they're the one true church that will save you from the eternal fires of hell. It's ridiculous and in my opinion immoral to a certain extent. I mean, to have such power of exclusivity or elitism for salvation is just so un-christian-like for lack of a better word. Not that I believe in Christianity as the ultimate basis for everything, but that's what they're claiming and they seem to be contradicting themselves.
The power they have over undiscerning individuals are just too much really. They have the power to brainwash and get people to vote whoever they want. They get to be one of the biggest lobbyists in the country pushing for policies and political agendas that will favor their church and the church leaders' personal interests. These are some mighty accusations, I understand that you might think that but maybe try to see it from my point of view: they are selling the idea of salvation, eternal life, and many other abstract concepts in exchange for "donations" and the power to be influenced on who to vote for.
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