Several quasi-religious movements are working around the world. However, the quasi-Christian doomsday sect Shincheonji has become a global pariah. The Christian new spiritual movement was originally found on 14 March 1984 but has received much criticism and fame only now. The spiritual movement and its association with the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea have created havoc among its citizens and left a global impact.
Shincheonji is a Korean word “Hanja lit,” which means “New Heaven and New Earth.” The creator Lee Man-hee is recognized as the”promised pastor,””the person who overcome,” or”the advocate.” He’s a self-declared messiah that proclaims that the soul of the returned Jesus Christ is inside him. He also asserts that the Book of Revelation from the Bible is written in secret code that only he can interpret. Lee also preaches that salvation is by seeking the Shincheonji Church of Jesus and that everyone outside the group will not be forgiven and destroyed.
Shincheonji, which was once a theological curiosity, is now a global pariah. Several controversies circle the groupnonetheless, the major source of its rising popularity is its affiliation with the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea. The outbreak of the virus in the country was centered on Daegu, where a 61-year-old person, a part of the Church of Jesus, was infected with the virus and eventually spread to other church members and citizens, creating havoc in the nation. It created a nationwide outcry where over 1.3 million South Korean citizens petitioned the Government to disband the existence of Shincheonji.
But, the opposition party and members of this religious group criticize the Government for allowing travelers from China to enter Korea. It declared that it was the biggest failure on the part of the Government. Other controversies include abuse, threat, and discrimination on the job against the spiritual group members. Different NGO’s and human rights activists have come in support of the spiritual group concerning the unfair blame placed upon the members to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea.
The creator of this team Lee Man-hee publicly apologized for the virus’s unintentional spread through its own church members. He also talked about the unfair blame or falsely accused of its church members and the spiritual group. The negative media focus pointed at the religious group became a global talk and declared the group a cult that has been misleading the people. There was also a national outcry where over 1.3 million South Korean taxpayers petitioned the Government to disband the religious group’s existence. Recognizing the growing discrimination against the members of their spiritual group, several NGO’s and human activists have come together in support of the group.