CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

The 2018 CESNUR Conference

Co-organized by:
Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR)
Weixin College, Nantou County, Taiwan
Taiwan WeiXin World Peace Promotion Association, Nantou County, Taiwan
International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR)


jerusalem Weixin College
Nantou County, Taiwan
17-23 June 2018


Sunday June 17, 2018

Participants arrive at Taipei airport. Transportation services from Taipeiís Taoyuan International Airport to Hotel Formosa, Caotun Township, Nantou City, will be available at 12:00 and 18:00 on 17 June.


Monday June 18, 2018

Pre-Conference Field Trip

Buses will leave Hotel Formosa at 8.30 a.m. Participants will attend a significant religious festival in Taiwan, centered on the unveiling of a 25-meters high golden statue of Guiguzi (the largest statue of Guiguzi in the world) by the Taiwanese new religion Weixin Shengjiao, the parent organization of Weixin College. Guiguzi was a Chinese sage who, according to the tradition, during the Warring States period in China operated the first school of military strategy and diplomacy in world history. As happened for other figures in Chinese history, he was divinized after his death and is regarded by Weixin Shengjiao as the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Wang Chan Lao Zu. The cult of Guiguzi is largely spread in both Mainland China and Taiwan, and it is expected that the unveiling of the statue on June 18 will be attended by thousands of members of many different religions, including Christians, who obviously do not regard Guiguzi as a divinity but respect his historical role as a promoter of peace through diplomacy. These different religions will participate, some presenting their own rituals, in what promises to be a truly spectacular event. The day will conclude at Weixin College (B1, Building C) with a welcome banquet hosted by Grand Master Hun Yuan, founder and leader of Weixin Shengjiao, and the Dean of Weixin College. Participants will then be taken back to Hotel Formosa by bus. The fees of local transportation, meal, and accommodation on June 18th will be sponsored by Weixin Shengjiao.


Tuesday June 19, 2018

8.30 a.m. - Buses will leave Hotel Formosa for Weixin College

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 1 – Opening Plenary Session

Tradition and Innovation: Success Stories from East Asia

Presiding and Introducing: Massimo INTROVIGNE and Fiona CHANG

Panelists: Grand Master HUN YUAN (Weixin Shengjiao)

President YUN Eun-do (Institutional Head of Daesoon Jinrihoe)

Cardinal THUONG Tam Thanh (Cao Dai)

11 a.m. - 11.15 a.m. / Coffee Break 

11.15 a.m. - 1.15 p.m. / Session 2 – Plenary

I Ching, Feng Shui, Myth, and Modern Society: Weixin Shengjiao in Taiwan

Chair: Fiona CHANG

Introducing Weixin Shengjiao to Those Who Do Not Know It

The Transition of Religious Authority in the Contemporary New Religions of Taiwan: Weixin Shengjiao as a Major Example
TSAI Yuan-Lin (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)

The Theory and Practice of Fengshui in a Contemporary Taiwanese New Religion
Benjamin PENNY (Australian National University, Canberra)

The Rehabilitation of Chiyou: Grand Master Hun Yan Chanshi’s Wish for Peace by Building the Three Ancestors Halls
LEE Fong-Mao (Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Taiwan)

1.15 p.m. - 2.45 p.m. / Business Lunch

3 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. / Session 3

Vietnamese Developments


Religious Conversion of Vietnamese Originating from China in the South of Vietnam
TAM Truong Phan Chau (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City)

The Study of New Religion in Vietnam and East Asian Countries - Theoretical Issues
LINH Nguyen Thoai (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City)

Three Religions Fusion: A Paradigm of Philosophy, Religion, Ideology of the East Asian Countries and Vietnam in the Middle, Latter-Day
THAO Vu Thi Thanh (University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City)

3 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. / Session 4

Two Neo-Christian New Religions from Korea: The Unification Movement and the Victory Altar

Chair: Massimo INTROVIGNE

Current Unification Church: Innovating or Creating a New Religion?
KIM Jongsuk (The Institute of the History of Korean Messianic Movement)

The Unification Pater-Materfamilias and the Challenges It Faces
Alexa BLONNER (University of Sydney)

Scientific Ideas in Victory Altar Church
Holly FOLK (Western Washington University, Bellingham)     

About the Complete Soteriology of Nirvana that the Maitreya Buddha Preached
HAN Gang-Hyen (International Academy of Neo-Humans Culture, Bucheon City, Korea)

Respondent: KIM Youngjun

3 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. / Session 5

In the Meantime, in the West

Chair: George CHRYSSIDES

A New Religion for the Upwardly Mobile: The Prosperity Gospel Movement
J. Gordon MELTON (Baylor University)

Religions in Italy 2018

Cooperation and Innovation in Building the Seattle, Washington, USA, Branches of Mary Baker Eddy’s Church
Cindy Peyser SAFRONOFF (Independent Researcher)

4.30 p.m. - 4.45 p.m. / Coffee Break 

4.45 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Session 6

Case Studies

Chair: Holly FOLK

Tradition and Innovation in Two Invented Religions: The Church of the SubGenius and the Otherkin
Carole CUSACK (University of Sydney)

Adapting, Innovating and Growing: Pentecostalism in the Caribbean
Nawal ISSAOUI (University of Bordeaux)

‘Abd-al-Baha and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: Parallel Missions to the West
BEI Dawei (Hsuan Chuang University, Taiwan)

Why Hollywood Flirts with New Religions, but Refuses to Adopt Them
David RESNICK (Bar Ilan University, Israel)

4.45 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Session 7

Esoteric Tradition and Innovation

Chair: PierLuigi ZOCCATELLI

The Great Masters from the East: The Spiritual Teachings of the Wisla Esoteric Milieu (1918-1939)
Malgorzata Alicja DULSKA (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland)

Tiffany Chang’s Spiritual Fiction: Gender and Journey in Cross-Straits New Ages
Paul J. FARRELLY (The Australian National University)

Inventing a New Esoteric Buddhist Orthodoxy: The Case of Neo-Zhenyan
Cody BAHIR (University of California, Berkeley)

Native Americans, Samurai, and Greek Neo-Pagans: The Quasi-Orientalism of the Interpretation of Polytheistic Traditions by the Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes (YSEE)
Evangelos VOULGARAKIS (Independent Scholar)

4.45 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Session 8

I Ching and Feng Shui (I)

Chair: Edward IRONS

The Cosmos Views of Feng Shui in Weixin Shengjiao
 SHIH Kuo-Ching (Da-Yeh University, Taipei, Taiwan)

The Relationship between School Education and Feng Shui
WANG Wang-Chun (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)

The Mystery of Feng Shui: How a Form, Shape or Structure Affects Health and Wealth
 CHANG Yu-Yao (Mingdao University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Success and Failure of Cross-industrial Investment and Using I Ching Principle
 CHANG Ching Wen (National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan)

Feng Shui as Religion and Politics Through Korean Dynasties
MIN, Byeong-Sam (Brain education university, Korea)

4.45 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Session 9

East Asian New Religions: Similarities and Differences

Chair: YOO Kwangsuk

Yin-yang Theory as Adapted for Usage in New East Religions  - Observations Regarding Oomoto and Daesoon Jinrihoe
 KIM Euiseong (Daejin University, Pocheon, Korea)

Heavenly Principle Moving from the Rising Sun to the Morning Calm: The Japanese New Religion Tenrikyo and Adaptation to Korean Society
LEE Suhyun (Ph.D. candidate, National Cheng Chi University, Taiwan)

Flashing Across the Sky and Rumbling Through the Earth: Theory Regarding Traditional Lightning Deities and Related Developments in Daesoon Jinrihoe
SHIN Sangmi (Ph.D. candidate, Daejin University, Pocheon, Korea)

The Chosen One: Caodaism in Vietnam and Beyond
Thien-Huong T. NINH (Los Rios Community College, California)

6.40 p.m. - 7.45 p.m. / Dinner (B1, Building C, Weixin College)

8.00 p.m. - Buses will take participants back to Hotel Formosa


Wednesday June 20, 2018

8.30 a.m. - Buses will leave Hotel Formosa for Weixin College

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 10 – Plenary

Religious Tradition and Innovation In/From East Asia I

Chair: Eileen BARKER

Keeping Your Mojo: Creative Leadership Models in Hong Kong Sectarian Religion and the Example of Xiantiandao’s Lung Hing Tong
Edward IRONS (Hong Kong Institute for Culture, Commerce and Religion)

The Caodai Organisational Structure: Developing a Sense of New Identity
Grzegorz FRASZCZAK (University of Vienna)

Sacred Transmission and Ecclesiastical Evolution: A Historical View of the Lineage of Religious Leaders in Daesoon-Jinrihoe
LEE Gyungwon (Daejin University, Pocheon City, Korea)

Holy Speech Immortalized through Sacred Ink: Progress in Sanctifying and Systematizing the Weixin Canon of Taiwan’s Weixin Shengjiao
Fiona CHANG (National Cheng Chi University, Taipei)

11 a.m. - 11.25 a.m. / Coffee Break

11.30 a.m. - 1.30 p.m. / Session 11 – Plenary

Religious Tradition and Innovation In/From East Asia II

Chair: Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD

Magic, Witchcraft, and Paganism in Contemporary Japan
Eriko KAWANISHI (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan)

Wind as the Breath of Gods and Water as the Abode of Dragon-Kings: A Comparative Overview of Divinely Received Feng Shui in the New East Asian Religions of Weixin Shengjiao, Daesoon Jinrihoe, and Caodaism
Jason GREENBERGER (Daejin University, Pocheon City, Korea) and HWANG Hee-yeon (Daejin University, Pocheon City, Korea)

The Mother Goddess of the Cao Dai Religion
Joe HOBBS (University of Missouri, Columbia)

Chinese Five-Spice in the Land of Kimchi: How the Syncretic Religion, I-Kuan Tao, Adapted to Korea
David William KIM (Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

The True Buddha School in the United States
J. Gordon MELTON (Baylor University, Waco, Texas)

1.30 p.m. - 2.45 p.m. / Business Lunch

2.45 p.m. - 4.35 p.m. / Session 12

Tradition and Innovation: East Meets West

Chair: Malgorzata Alicja DULSKA

“Writing without Spelling”: How Jehovah’s Witnesses Spread their Teachings in Taiwan
George D. CHRYSSIDES (University of York St. John and Birmingham, United Kingdom)

Asian Jesus: Reflections on Why the East is Adopting the Religion of the West
Dyron DAUGHRITY (Pepperdine University, Malibu, California)

An Ancient Cousin: The Impact of Swedenborg’s Teachings about China
Andrew M.T. DIBB (Bryn Athyn College)

Poland as India of the West: Interpretations of Theosophical Notions Applied to the Polish Nation
Karolina Maria HESS (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland)

2.45 p.m. - 4.35 p.m. / Session 13

From Kang Jeungsan to Daesoon Jinrihoe

Chair: YOO Kwangsuk

Characteristics of Daesoon Jinrihoe Ox-Seeking Pictures
JOO So-Yeon (Daejin University, Pocheon City)

Innovativeness of Daesoon Thought
KO Namsik (Daejin University, Pocheon City)

Kang Jeungsan and the Soteriology of Korean New Religions
PARK Ingyu (Seoul National University)

2.45 p.m. - 4.35 p.m. / Session 14

“Cults”, Religions and Political Controversies

Chair: Holly FOLK

Rajneesh/Osho and Feminine Charisma: The Mysterious Life and Death of Ma Yoga Vivek
J. Susan PALMER (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

“Spiritual Exclusion”: A Significant Component for the Murder in Knutby Filadelfia
Liselotte FRISK (Dalarna University, Falun, Sweden)

"God's Man in the White House": Donald Trump in Pentecostal/Charismatic Prophecies
James BEVERLEY (Tyndale Seminary, Toronto)

4.35 p.m. - 4.45 p.m. / Coffee Break

4.45 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Session 15 Plenary

Religious Liberty Issues in China: The Case of The Church of Almighty God

Chair: J. Gordon MELTON

Fake News: Chinese Mobilization of Resources Against The Church of Almighty God as a Global Phenomenon

The Age of Word: Legitimization through Scripture in The Church of Almighty God
Holly FOLK (Western Washington University, Bellingham)

Asylum Seekers of The Church of Almighty God and Refugee Boards: A Complicated Story
Rosita ŠORYTE (ORLIR, International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees)

6.10 p.m. - 7.45 p.m. / Banquet (B1, Building C, Weixin College)

Presiding and Introducing: Fiona CHANG and Massimo INTROVIGNE

The Jane Williams-Hogan Memorial Lecture:
Introducing: Andrew M.T. DIBB (Bryn Athyn College)
The Revitalization Theory of Anthony F. C. Wallace and the New Religions of East Asia
Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD (University of Bordeaux)


8.00 p.m. - Buses will take participants back to Hotel Formosa


Thursday June 21, 2018

8.30 a.m. - Buses will leave Hotel Formosa for Weixin College 

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 16

The Church of Scientology in the 21st Century

Chair: Susan PALMER

Major Developments of the Church of Scientology at the Turn of the 21st Century 
Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD (University of Bordeaux)

Scientology in Hungary: Data Protection and Religious Liberty Issues

The Russian State Against Scientology: From the Deprivation of Religious Status to Accusations of Extremism
Boris FALIKOV (Russian State University, Moscow)

Respondent: Eric ROUX (European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom)

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 17

East Asian Case Studies

Chair: Grzegorz FRASZCZAK

Western and Asian Acculturation in Vietnam and the Rise of Cao Dai Movement
Mohammad ALAM (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)

How People Choose Their Religions in Taiwan: The Characteristics of the Followers Within Weixin Shengjiao
LIU Hsiu-Yi (National Cheng Chi University, Taipei, Taiwan)

The Religious Symbolism of Seoul City
KIM Chongsuh (Seoul National University)

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 18

I Ching and Feng Shui (II) (in Chinese)

Chair: Fiona CHANG

The Influence of Factory Feng Shui on Business: The Correlation between Sustainable Management of Family Business and Factory Feng Shui
 LIN Tung-Jung (Da-Yeh University, Taipei, Taiwan)

The Influence of Feng Shui on the Architecture of Schools
 CHIU Chin-Yin (National Taiwan University of Science and Technology)

The Fate of Investment and the Principles of I Ching
 WANG Ming-Hsien (Da-Yeh University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Weixin Shengjiao I Ching University
 LIAO Sung-Cheng (Chinese Culture University, Taiwan)

11 a.m. - 11.20 a.m. - Coffee Break

11.30 a.m. - 13.20 p.m. / Session 19 Plenary

On the Shoulders of Giants: Eileen Barker, the Study of New Religions and Religious Leadership – A Session Honoring Eileen Barker on Her Significant Birthday

Presiding and Introducing: J. Gordon MELTON

Keynote Lecture: Old and New: Here, There and Everywhere
Eileen BARKER (London School of Economics)

Panel Introduction: Leadership in the New Religions: Charismatization, Routinization and ….?
Edward IRONS (Hong Kong Institute for Culture, Commerce and Religion)

Liselotte FRISK

13.30 – Buses will leave Weixin College for the field trip (box lunch will be provided)

Field Trip - Day 1: Weixin Shengjiao

Visits to Weixin Shengjiao Headquarters at Chan Chi Shan Hsien Fo Temple, Nantou County, and to Weixin Shengjiao Taichung Branch Temple, Taichung City. Dinner at Taichung Branch Temple and return to Hotel Formosa.


Friday June 22, 2018

Field Trip - Day 2: True Buddha School and T’ienti Teachings

Buses will depart Hotel Formosa at 9 a.m., after participants will have checked out. Visits to Lei Cang Sih (True Buddha School), in Nantou County, and to T’ienti Teachings, an important Taiwan-based new religion, in Maoli City. The day will conclude with a visit and dinner at Weixin Shengjiao’s Da-An Branch Temple in New Taipei City, Taipei. Accomodation at Green World Hotel Nangan.


Saturday June 23, 2018

Field Trip - Day 3: The Watchman Nee - Witness Lee Tradition and Tao Yuan

Buses will depart Green World Hotel Nangan at 9 a.m. The first part of the day will be devoted to exploring the Christian tradition of Watchman Nee (1903-1972) and Witness Lee (1905-1997) and bring participants to The Lord’s Recovery Exhibition Hall in Taipei and to the Local Church of Witness Lei in Taipei. After lunch, we will visit Tao Yuan, a Taiwanese new religion rooted in Spiritualism. Planchette writing, typical of Tao Yuan, will be demonstrated at 3 p.m. The field trip will end at 5 p.m. and participants will have the option to be taken by bus to Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei for departure on June 23 or to Hotel CitySuites in Taipei, in case they will leave on June 24.