About 81% of the population of Taiwan are affiliated to a certain religious organization. Religion in Taiwan is diverse and includes aspects of Chinese traditional culture. The constitution of Taiwan allows for the freedom of worship. Religious beliefs and practices have evolved over time due to various influences from the immigrants and through interactions with different cultures within Taiwan. A large percentage of the population in Taiwan are Buddhists, Taoists, and atheists.
Religious Beliefs In Taiwan
Buddhism is the most common religion in Taiwan with about 35.1% of the population confessing to adhering to the religion. Part of the Buddhist community practices Chinese Buddhism while the others practice Asian Buddhism with their primary distinction being the practice of vegetarianism. Most of the Buddhist practices in Taiwan have developed a more social approach to their practices with reduced focus on ritual and more focus on aspects such as environmental conservation, promotion of equality, freedom, and reason without engaging in politics. Buddhism has grown steadily from the time it was established in the Dutch rule with the most significant period of growth and spread during the Japanese period. The Buddhists have established various institutions such as schools, shrines, and temples.
Taoism is a religious, philosophical, and ritual tradition that originated from the Chinese and forms the second most followed religion in Taiwan by 33% of the population. The religion aims at harmonizing human beings with the natural cycles and emphasizes on naturalness, spontaneity, simplicity, and detachment from desires. Taoism is believed to have been developed from a fusion of a variety of Chinese folk religions.. Taoism encourages vegetarianism and fasting. The religion includes public rituals as well as observance of particular days.
Atheism Or Agnosticism
About 18.7% of the population of Taiwan are irreligious either due to indifference or rejection of religion or the absence of worship. The atheists and agnostics do not believe in the existence of a god or accept only the existence of one whose existence they cannot prove.
Yiguandao is a Chinese folk religion that emerged in the 19th century from the Xiantiandao tradition. The religion has a membership of about 3.5% of the population in Taiwan. The religion was recognized in Taiwan in 1987 after which it continued to grow. The religion focuses on an infinite mother who is represented by a flame. The religion spread through the 1930s and 40s through its missionaries who were sent to preach the religion. The Taiwan government suppressed the religion as a demonic one in 1959 up to the 1980s when its followers requested the authorities to lift the ban.
The Impact Of Religion In Taiwan
The religions in Taiwan have affected the spheres of life in the country. For instance, the building of schools promotes education while construction of temples is likely to attract a larger following of the religion. Other influences include longevity of the followers such as the Buddhists who are believed to live in tune with nature, therefore, increasing their lifespan. Other religious groups include protestant Christianity, Tiadism, Roman Catholics, Miledadao, Zailiism, Xuanyuanism, and other smaller religious sects.