The Religious Varieties of Ethnic Presence: A Comparison between a Taiwanese Immigrant Buddhist Temple and an Evangelical Christian Church
Posted on 25. May, 2009 by James Miller
|Title||The Religious Varieties of Ethnic Presence: A Comparison between a Taiwanese Immigrant Buddhist Temple and an Evangelical Christian Church|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2002|
|Journal||Sociology of Religion|
This study deals with the seeming paradox of why an "other-worldly" Taiwanese immigrant Buddhist temple is more publicly engaged in American society than an "inner-worldly" Taiwanese immigrant Christian church. Based upon an ethnographic study of a Taiwanese immigrant Buddhist temple and an evangelical Christian church, this article shows how a combination of religious ideals, outreach strategies, and representations of racial and religious difference shape their respective types of public engagement. The temple's inner-worldly orientation of Buddhist practice leads it to public interaction through charity while the church's evangelical ideal of exclusive salvation leads it to engagement through personal evangelism. Because of the linguistic and cultural obstacles that immigrants face when evangelizing to those outside their own ethnic community, Buddhist outreach strategies of charity are more culturally transferable to the wider society than evangelical Christian strategies. Furthermore, Buddhists are construed as religious foreigners and face pressures to prove their "American-ness" and engage in acts of public relations that the immigrant Christians do not.