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Is Taoism religion or philosophy?

(aka Daoism) Or can it be both? Mainly for history class, but also because I’d like to say I am a Taoist, but if its a religion, that wouldn’t work because I’m Christian… Could I say I am Christian and Taoist, or is there a philosophy practically identical to Taoism that I could say I am?

3 COMMENTS

  1. I would say that it is more a religion than a philosophy. Confucianism is more a philosophy and Daoism is more a religion (since those two are closely related I am comparing them) because it includes worship of ancestors and temples and offerings. Its got a religious like practice, so I think that would make it a religion. You dont really need to say you are something, just live by the daoist philosophy.

  2. Kind of like Buddhism, where it doesn’t require much of you, so I don’t think it would be a problem for you to say you’re both…although why anyone would want to classify themselves as anything is beyond me…

  3. Those are the two major strands of Taoism. There are Taoist temples, most commonly found in China, where people consider it a religion with rituals and whatnot, but there is a philosophical Taoism too, which could very well mean you’ve never stepped foot inside a Taoist temple, but you are intrigued and mostly agree with Taoist writings. I practice Christianity, but my personal philosophy is much closer to that of Taoism.
    There was actually a school of religion called Taoist Christianity once upon a time, which might be of interest to you. I don’t know much about it, but this is the book I first learned about it from:
    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Sutras-Rediscovering-Scrolls-Christianity/dp/0345434242
    So, yes you can remain a Christian and follow Taoist philosophy, even though paradoxes will arise when you overlap the two, but don’t worry about that too much. Another interesting book that’s in novel form that talks about the idea of practicing multiple religions at the same time is “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel:
    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Pi-Yann-Martel/dp/0156030209/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242517888&sr=1-1
    very entertaining book that’s a fun read AND will give you insight on practicing more than one religion (even though you don’t have to “practice” Taoism in the religious sense and still follow its philosophy).

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