Is Taoism compatible with Christianity? 

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Taoism

Taoism or Daoism teaches that by living in harmony with the Tao or the way of nature, it is possible to prolong life and even become immortal. Taoism refers to either a school of philosophical thought (600 to 200 B.C.E) or to a religion (1st C.E). Both share ideas and concepts of Chinese origin origin. Lao Tzu wrote the basic text of Taoism called the Tao Te Ching.  

Tao is composed of two equal yet opposite components which are in complete harmony with one another—yin and yang. The yang is the strong, positive, active, competitive, and masculine side (it’s the light side in the symbol). The yin is the weak, negative, passive, noncompetitive, and feminine side (it’s the dark side of the symbol).  

The yang has a little bit of the yin and the yin has a little bit of the yang so nothing is completely yin or yang. Ultimately, everything is relative. The Yin and Yang symbol has long been a representation of peace and harmony. Yet, the Yin is not able to exist without the Yang. For there to be life, there must also be death

According to Taoism, man’s problem is that he is imbalanced. He practices far too much yang. The answer to this is to be more yin by practicing humility, non-competition, and pacificism. This philosophy emphasizes that there is a natural order to the universe and by allowing yourself to go with the ‘flow,’ you will be living in harmony with the Tao. Every person has his own way, his own flow, his own Tao. No one can explain the Tao to another – its a personal journey.  

Major Differences Between Christianity and Taoism  

Taoism is not compatible with Christianity. Here are some major differences:

1-The Creator 

In Taoism, the Tao is the source of everything and the ultimate principle underlying reality. Taoist theology emphasizes the formlessness and unknowable nature of the Tao, and the primacy of the “Way” rather than the concept of a personal God.

In Christianity, we learn that God is the Creator of all that is. He created the Universe through Jesus (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-4). It is God who gives life, and by Him all things are sustained (Psalms 147:9; Colossians 1:16-17).

2- Worship 

Taoist orders usually present the Three Pure Ones at the top of the pantheon of deities, this hierarchy emerges from the Tao. Laozi is considered the incarnation of one of the Three Purities and worshiped as the ancestor of this philosophical belief. The Tao is not a conscious entity, has no emotions. Rather, the Tao is a creative force, an energy that fills the universe and is accessible to all humankind.  The Tao does not favor one person over another but grants its favor to anyone who desires oneness with it. 

According to the Christian belief, a believer has a personal relationship with God (John 15:4), who is a loving Father (Matthew 6:9). He is a conscious Being with a will and emotions (Exodus 34:6,7). He not only loves His creatures but offered His life as a ransom to save them from the penalty of their sins (John 3:16). He gives them grace to overcome sin and trials (2 Corinthians 12:9). He exercises straight and full control over the universe (Exodus 20:11).  Thus, Christianity teaches a personal God while Taoism does not. 

3-The Divine plan 

Tao does not have a plan for humans and does not control the course of history.  In contrast, the God of the Bible has good plans for His people (Jeremiah 29:11) and wants to save them (1 Timothy 2:3-4). He intervenes in their affairs and in the course of history to fulfill His good will (Daniel 2:21). He guides and protects His children (Luke 4:10) and punishes those that practice evil and injustice (Isaiah 13:11). 

4-Salvation 

In Taoism, there is no concept of salvation because humankind’s natural state is in perfect harmony with the Tao and with the universe.  Only the evil influence of worldly interferes can affect that state of harmony. But that can be controlled through “unlearning” and “nonaction.” Consequently, this leads to a harmonious relationship with the universe, which is the natural right of every person.  Taoism teaches different disciplines for achieving perfection through self-cultivation. 

According to Christianity, mankind is in a state of rebellion against God due to his original sin (Romans 3:23). It is only through accepting the sacrificial death of Christ by faith that man can be saved from death (Romans 10:9; John 1:12). God not only forgives the repentant sinner when he confesses his sins but He also gives him a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). He gives him victory over all his weaknesses (Philippians 4:13) and grace to face temptations and trials. Thus, through Jesus’ sacrifice, man receives access to a living relationship with his Creator and Redeemer (John 14:5-7).

5-Morality

Taoist ethics or morality vary depending on the particular school, but in general tends to emphasize Wu Wei (action without intention), naturalness, simplicity, spontaneity and the Three Treasures: compassion, frugality and, humility. Taoism has nothing comparable to God’s moral standard nor does it define good and evil, right and wrong. The Taoist concept of “God” is that each person has his own definition of what “god” is, and each definition is fully acceptable—neither right nor wrong. 

Taoism teaches passivity, non-action, as the behavioral model. If one follows the Tao, one allows the universe to unfold as the Tao has created it to be. In this way, the right action takes place by itself.  Where there is no intentional deed, there can be neither good nor evil.  Passivity, therefore, rather than obedience, is the basis of Taoist morality. 

In the Christian faith, morality is not defined by people’s opinions. Rather, God reveals His good will to man (Jeremiah 29:13–14). And He gives His children moral standards of right and wrong to live by (Exodus 20: 3-17). Happiness is achieved when man obeys God’s law (Proverbs 29:18; Luke 11:28).

 6-Spiritualism  

Taoism calls people to connect with Tao and uses occult rituals, magic (outer alchemy-waidan and inner alchemy-neidan), and mystic exercises (meditation) that may seem harmless but in reality deals with spiritualism and the hidden works of darkness. These practices are done to attain personal power by a reliance on the supernatural produced by demons or the supposedly “spirits of the dead.”

In the Christian faith, God forbade His people to engage in any practice the deals with the occult. For these forbidden practices would put them in direct contact with demonic forces (Deuteronomy 18:9–13; Leviticus 20:6). The Scriptures teach that the only way a person can connect with God is through the study of His Word, prayer and ministry. 

7-Rewards and Punishments  

Taoism has nothing comparable to either the “will of God” behavioral standard or the “Heaven/Hell” doctrine. By contrast the Christian faith is supported by a system of rewards and punishments determined by how well one conforms his life by God’s grace to the divine will.  Those who do God’s will are rewarded with an eternity in Heaven (John 10:28), and those who don’t receive eternal death (Psalm 37:9,20).  

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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