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Title: Apocalyptic Sects in Contemporary in Taiwan
Authors: 蔡彥仁
Contributors: Amarican Academy of Religion
Date: 1999-11
Issue Date: 2008-11-07
Abstract: This presentation examines three apocalyptic sects in contemporary Taiwan: "Hsin-yueh chiao-hui" (New Covenant Church; "I-kuan Tao" (Way of Pervading Unity); and "T'ien-ti chiao" (Teaching of the Heavenly Lord). Although all three share a similar millenarian background, they take different stances towards secular society. The New Covenant Church, of Christian) origin, maintains an exclusive and even antagonistic stance against the establishment. Its members choose to live in a closed, communitarian way, and cause tension between themselves and the larger socio-political environment. In contrast, the Way of Pervading Unity and the Teaching of the Heavenly Lord, distinguished by their doctrinal syncretism and emphasis on Confucian moral value, hold a distinctively sectarian but this-worldly, accommodating position. They proselytize through mass media and establish branches overseas in a programmatic and entrepreneurial manner, Thanks to mass participation both spiritually and materially, they have grown from sects to global organizations. Although Western scholars of religion regard dualism, both in the temporal and spatial senses, as the foremost feature of apocalypticism, in the case of Taiwan, apocalyptic sects of primarily indigenous background seem not to conform to this understanding. Apocalyptic Christianity might fit the dualistic mode, but Chinese religions, characterized by their syncretistic and "diffused" nature, in C.K. Yang's term, tend to reduce this dualistic radicalness. The Way of Pervading Unity and the New Covenant Church actualize their apocalyptic vision through modern, secular, methods, they dexterously maintain their religious faith in a society renowned for its rapid economic growth and avid materialistic pursuit. A discussion of these three Taiwanese sects in light of apocalyptic theory and from a comparative perspective should prove heuristic for our deeper understanding of both Chinese religions in general and of religious revivals worldwide, past and present.
Relation: The Annual Meeting of the Amarican Academy of Religion
Data Type: conference
Appears in Collections:[宗教研究所] 會議論文

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