ccording to the First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey, done on March 25-28, 2017, the Iglesia ni Cristo ranks first in church attendance at 90 percent –
“The proportion of those who attend religious services weekly was highest among members of Iglesia Ni Cristo at 90%, followed by Muslims at 81%, other Christians at 71%, and Catholics at 41% [Table 3].
The proportion of those who attend religious services monthly was highest among Catholics at 39% followed by other Christians (18%), Muslims (9%), and Iglesia Ni Cristo (4%).
The proportion of those who attend religious services occasionally was also highest among Catholics at 20% followed by Muslims and other Christians (both with 10%), and Iglesia Ni Cristo (6%).”
This statement was echoed by Eagle News –
“(Eagle News) — The Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported that Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) members topped its survey on Filipinos who have the highest attendance in religious services weekly, beating other Filipinos who belong to other religions.” [
And of course Access the Truth –
“Ayon sa SWS malaki ang pagpapahalaga ng mga miyembro ng Iglesia Ni Cristo sa pagdalo sa mga pagsamba na nasa 90 percent, sinundan ito ng mga Muslim na nasa 81 percent, at iba pang religious groups na nasa 71 percent.
Ang mga katoliko naman ay nasa 41 percent. Ang madalang na pagsisimba ng mga katoliko ay napatunayan nang 39 na porsiento sa kanila ang umaming dumadalo lamang sila ng misa nang isang beses kada buwan.”
The Manila Bulletin likewise shared the news –
“SWS said the largest commitment in attending weekly services are from the members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) at 90 percent, followed by Muslims at 81 percent, and other Christians at 71 percent.
The seldom church attendance by Catholics was further proven by 39 percent of them who admit to have only attended church masses once a month, leading the 34 percent of Filipinos who attend religious services monthly. Other Christians followed with 18 percent, Muslims with nine percent, and members of the INC with four percent.”
Now let’s scrutinize. According to SWS –
“The March 2017 Social Weather Survey was conducted from March 25-28, 2017 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide, 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao).”
So that means they get 300 individuals from Metro Manila and the rest divided equally among the rest of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. From a mere 1200 face-to-face interviews covering every religion in the Philippines, they come up with the conclusion that the INC ranks first in attendance –
“The proportion of those who attend religious services weekly was highest among members of Iglesia Ni Cristo at 90%, followed by Muslims at 81%, other Christians at 71%, and Catholics at 41% [Table 3].”
Let’s be realistic here, out of the 300 interviewed for Metro Manila, how many were INCs, Catholics, Muslims, and the so called other Christians? The survey should have included this in their study. But of course we are not here to question the outcome of the survey, we are merely here to clarify what their survey states.
Based on the survey conducted, out of an unidentified number of different religion members totalling merely 1200, the INC came out first in church attendance on a weekly basis . This simply means that the 90 percent came from the 1200 interviewed and not from the total membership of the church. There is a big difference here. It simply means that a group of INC members from the 1200 interviewed when asked if they still go to church, they answered “yes”. Now given the conditions prevailing in the church these days, would you say “no”? Catholics, Muslims, and other so called Christians are free to express their opinions without fear or intimidation so their response may be considered accurate and true.
Thus, if you are to choose true or false on the hypothesis that the INC tops church attendance, it can be true if you base it on the response of the INC interviewees from the 1200 participants. But, if you ask if 90 percent constitutes the attendees of the whole membership that is a big false.
The real score is 65 to 70 percent of the total membership that still practice worship service. Attend the District meeting in your area and witness for yourself how the locale officers are scolded on dwindling membership and monetary offerings.
I asked myself why SWS suddenly conducted a survey on religious practice. Maybe it was in line with the spirit of Holy Week. Or maybe it was not…