White man`s religion
I was in the Philippines some time ago. The big religion there is a group called `Iglesia Ni Cristo`(Literally Church of Christ). It`s
an indigenous group which sprung up around the turn of the century.
It has since become hugh(In the Philippines). Anyone who`s been to the Philippines will know what I mean when I say IT`S EVERYWHERE. We were driving down a road which runs down the middle of Luzon Island and there were literally Iglesia Ni Cristo churches every couple of miles. The interesting thing is that group`s teachings share many of the distinctives of the WT teachings. 1914 is a very important date in
their escatology which has the end of the world coming just around the
corner.For the most part, however, it has remained a local religion.
(There are a few churches outside of the Philippines, but no large
numbers) On the other hand the Watchtower has reached around the
world. Why the difference? The answer, I believe, lies in where it
started...America. The rest of the world loves America, eats up
Hollywood and wears Nikes. Even those who hate the US often do so out
of jealousy.(Don`t get me wrong,I`m not a blind patriot by any means.
My wife is Japanese and I`ve lived in Japan for 16 years.Long enough
to see many problems with America) At any rate,the irony of the WT`s
spread lies in the fact that it is still basically a white man`s
religion. Everyone knows about the old WT mag. articles which claimed
that if people of color studied the truth their skin would turn
white. It was a given that everyone in the paradise earth would be
white (Jehovah`s favorite color...?).Looking at older WT publications,
it`s rare to find a non-white illustration or photo.Until very recently all GB members were white (i.e.Proclaimers book).Looking at
the JW world-wide population it is obvious that the overwhelming
majority of JWs come from `western countries` (I realize that many
bros. in America are not necessarily caucasion).For being God`s one
true org. on earth it certainly doesn`t represent an even cross
section of the world population. Where are all the bros. in China?
Or Bangledesh? ,etc. Why doesn`t the GB include bros. from Africa?
Or Asia? Or South America for that matter? Here in Japan bros. and
sisters are leaving the org. en-mass. Up til recently, however, the
WT had great growth here. Why? Because it was from America. I dare
say if Bethel hdqs. was in south-east Asia the result would have
been very different. Makes you wonder, if Jesus was really a JW why
wasn`t he born in a more influential place like...say Rome? Which
reminds me...what color was Jesus? Or David? Or Abraham? JWD
This is something I've wanted to post about for a long time.
I sometimes wonder if the religion wasn't born and raised in America if it would have gotten this far. I know the Society has often commented on how they feel it was by "divine providence" that it was concieved where it was.
It seems that there is a certain mindset that exists in America, that doesn't really exist anywhere else(anymore). I personally find it strange and paradoxical that it is the world's superpower that seems to have the most backward and out-dated thinking and way of living among the more well-off countries in the world.
I don't think much of Europe and Canada would have tolerated the religion to this degree at this point in time. That american mindset that it's our way or no ones is rather perfect for an authoritarian religion. And that distaste for things american and american arrogance is perhaps what is contributing to such a backlash in Europe and Canada (maybe australia too :)
As far as Asia, there is this facination with American commercialism. The same goes for poorer nations that will latch onto anything American. Perhaps Witnesses were a "white religion" at one time. You can simply look at old photographs of conventions in the early years in the Proclaimers book. But I don't think it's an accurate statement any longer.
At the risk of generalizing too much, I find "white people" will think more with logic. Other cultures and races often more with their hearts and emotions. The religion plays upon the emotions and it will be those who don't ever stop and THINK LOGICALLY and ask themselves DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? that remain.
The religion is being reduced to people in unfortunate circumstances. Those who are emotionally or mentally unwell, those who refuse to accept the realities of living in this world.
Eventually the dream comes crashing down on all of us as we meet up with reality, whether we want to or not. Unfortunately, it will be those who cling to it the most that will be hurt the most. I don't know what will happen to these ones. If it has been this tough for many of us at this point in time, how much more so will it be for those who have been weakened by 10 or 20 more years of this?
If you think that JW's is a white man religion? Then you are wrong! Jehovah's Witnesses can be found in 235 lands. Where is the Witnesses in China? They are doing good.
Interesting question. I tend to agree with your summation: right time, right place.
Iglesia ni Christi in Phillipines is quite different to WTBTS, but is also a product of time and place. It has only managed to make a very small inroad into the 95% (from memory - could be higher) Catholic nation. The two bits of Catholicism that it did not shrug off - as evidenced by the ostentatious churches - almost as big and bright as mormon temples and for the same reason - is tithing and Phillipino cultural affinity for power, prestige, politics, pomp, ceromony and heirachy.
BTW there are 3 InC's in Sydney, Australia.
You are right about the growth of "American" religion. This was commentated on by Newsweek recently. The growth of Christianity in Africa and Asia is attributed in no small part to its link to America. The WTS has managed to get some of the growth by being part of "Christianity" and aided by the fact that its HQ's are in the USA.
There is a difference in Europe where American religions are treated suspiciously and the old world history and traditions are most important. However, in other parts of the world where America is seen as the successful offspring of Europe, America's religion is often seen as desirable. Much that people will see Hollywood movies, smoke American cigarettes and wear American brand clothes they will often practice American religion too.
My thoughts anyway.
'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'
Are you trying to say that it is wrong to have the HQ in the USA? Where Commentary Press located at? In China?
Quote me where I said it was wrong to have US HQ's. Otherwise if you can't read don't post.
'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing'
I was asking a question.
hey..i'm from the philippines and iglesia ni cristo definitely makes a lot of money coz members are required to give 10% of their salary as tithe and i think they're also prohibited to eat blood but transfusions are ok(not sure tho) but hmm all i can say is that filipinos are such suckers for imported stuff....which obviously includes religion
Regarding those photos via Proclaimers book; is it at all possible to post any of them for all to see?