The Five Worlds of Religious Establishment in Taiwan
This chapter discusses the concept of multiple religious establishments and its relevance to culturally Chinese societies, and then review the five periods of relations between state and religious institutions through which Taiwan went in its four centuries of recorded history. Taiwan is a society influenced by Chinese culture for at least four centuries, and the relationship between religion and state has changed dramatically through that time. These legal and political changes have happened while Taiwan appears to be more religiously diverse than before, and many religions make their influence felt in social welfare, culture and even politics. Politics and religion were mutually constitutive and their imaginaries, institutions, and practices were linked. This was the case during the first three periods of Taiwanese history when it was at the periphery of three different empires: the Chinese Ming, the multicultural Manchu and the Japanese.