About Taipei 5: Religions

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Religions

Taiwan is probably the most religiously tolerant place in the world. Taipei is rich in beautiful, ornate temples housing Buddhist, Taoist, and Chinese folk religion deities. Xinsheng South Road is known as the road to heaven because of its high concentration of churches as well as a mosque (literally called “Pure Truth Temple” in Chinese). Several blocks away from Xinsheng South Road is the beautiful, pristine Mormon Temple as well as the Vatican’s representative office.

Visitors will find many religious leaders in Taiwan to be less dogmatic in doctrine and more supportive of interfaith dialogue based on the common goal of peace among humanity [1]. The Falun Gong freely meditate and express their political viewpoints in Taiwan: expect to occasionally see their advertisements. One may also occasionally see Tibetan monks strolling on the streets of Taipei.

Besides large temples, small outdoor shrines to local deities are very common, and can be spotted on road sides, parks, and neighborhoods. Many homes and businesses may also set up small shrines of candles, figurines, and offerings. Some restaurants, for example, may set up a small shrine to the Kitchen god for success in a restaurant business.

Tzu Chi is Taiwan's largest charity and relief organization, headed by the Buddhist nun Cheng Yen. The organization maintains a cable television station named Dai-ai (Big Love), which has a handful of English language shows.

Religious demographics

TW Dalondon BaoAn temple.jpg

Here are the top five religions in Taiwan:

Religion Members % Temples & Churches
Buddhism (佛教) 5,486,000 23.8 4,038
Taoism (道教) 4,546,000 19.7 8,604
Yi Guan Dao (一貫道) 845,000 3.7 3,218
Protestantism (基督新教) 605,000 2.6 3,609
Catholicism (天主教) 298,000 1.3 1,135

According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, there are about 93.5% of people identifying themselves as Buddhists, Taoists, or practitioners of Chinese folk religion. It is common for people to practice a blend of the three. Many people practice Buddhism exclusively, but those who practice Taoism more often blend Taoist religious practices with elements from Buddhism and folk traditions. It is not uncommon to find a Buddhist temple adjacent to a Taoist temple, or even under the same roof.

Additional Information

The following link to [This Month in Taiwan] provides a comprehensive listing for places of worship with the addresses given in Wade-Giles romanization. Here is a partial list:

  • Judiasm: The Landis Taipei Hotel
    41 Minquan East Road, Sec. 2
    Telephone: 2597-1234
  • Catholic: St. Christopher's Catholic Church
    51 Zhongshan N. Road, Sec. 3
    Telephone: 2594-7914
  • Islam: Taipei Grand Mosque
    62 Xinshen South Road, Sec. 2
    Telephone: 2392-7364
    Website: http://www.taipeimosque.org.tw
  • Protestant: Grace Baptist Church
    90 Xinsheng S. Road, Sec. 3
    Telephone: 8369-2840
    Website: http://www.gbc.org.tw
  • Orthodox: Orthodox Church of Taiwan
    Address: 4th Fl. No. 389-12 Shi-Yuen Road Xindian City Taipei CountyTelephone:8218-9009
    Website:http://orthodox.com.tw
  • Episcopal: St. John Cathedral
    Address: 280 Fuxing South Road, Sec. 2
    Telephone: 2732-7740
    http://www.stjohn.org.tw/
  1. Mojahedi, Daniel. "Taipei's Places of Worship: A Peek Where Muslims, Jews, and Christians Can Worship in the City." Discover Taipei September-October 2006, No. 55, Taipei City Government, ISSN:17281741, GPN:2009005414