Home Discussion Forum So is Taoism a religion or a philosophy?

So is Taoism a religion or a philosophy?

Or is it/can it be both? Can one believe in God and the devil and follow taoist priniciples as a philosophy for life?


  1. religion is what people see it as. but you’re right it’s both religion and philosophy. any religion is philosophy.

  2. Does religion and philosophy not mix from time to time?
    I like the think religion as never being separate from philosophy, unless your the religiously ignorant type of person.

    One ‘can’ believe anything. Why not try to incorporate both? I’m a bit rusty on Taoism, but some of it can overflow into the christian/ abhramic God’s Ideals.

  3. Religion and Philosophy dwell in the realm of thought….
    Taoism is based on the concept of no-thought…

  4. It’s blurry.
    They’re just words. see behind the words. The great square has no corners. We look at it and do not see it; It’s name is The Invisible. Shape without shape. Form without object. In it are THINGS.

  5. In my opinion, it is more of a philosophy about how to deal with life, but it is treated as a religion.
    I fail to see the point of calling it a religion because it has no doctrine or dogma, no official “structure” as in a business structure…and as far as I know, no belief in gods or diety. I may be wrong, but reading Lao Tzu does not give me the impression of the thinking being religious, as in , dogmatic, but rather, a very practical application of the fact that all of life is about change.

  6. There are many different aspects to Taoism, because it’s not an organised religion like Christianity.
    Some Taoism follows primitive folk traditions.
    Some Taoism involves superstition and magic.
    Basic Taoist ideas are a philosophy, not a religion, but most asian followers seem to use it as a religion.

  7. Taoism started off as a philosophy.
    In early Han dynasty, it is adopted as state ideology.
    In later Han dynasty, it is mixed with chinese myths and become a religion with Lao Zi as the immortal sage.
    EDIT: WOW, SURENDRA NATH D answer is good 🙂
    He truly understand the meaning of TAO.

  8. It doesn’t fit the common usage of either. It’s better to do a more direct translation and call it a “way.”
    It’s only a philosophy in the sense of practical philosophies, how-to-live type of things, and that’s a small portion of the word’s usage.
    Here are some better words to describe it than either religion or philosophy:
    you didn’t ask, but I mostly think Taoism is overrated, ever since that guy wrote “the Tao of Pooh” and claimed that a Taoist lived over 200 years (complete bs). In my opinion, going with the flow is a good way to end up being sold down the river. Anyhow it’s a Way, that’s the best word for it.

  9. Religion is always, and always should remain intertwined with its philosophical aspects. The aim of religion should be the cultivation of self and the betterment of life. Any attempt to segregate the two only results in blind worship and bigotry.

  10. Tao is neither a religion nor a philosophy. It is simply the purest understanding of meditation where everything disappears, including you. Then what remains is Tao. Buddha will call it dhamma; you can call it truth, consciousness, beauty. But all these words denote one oceanic feeling of awareness in which you are not separate from the cosmos. But the difficulty with man is, he makes everything into an ism.
    So when Lao Tzu died, people started making an ism. And his whole life he had been teaching that there is no ism, no philosophy, no theory. You have to drop all these mind activities. You have to attain to a silent and empty space. That is Tao.
    Nobody can be a Taoist, so from the very beginning, we know that the questions are going to be wrong.
    Tao is not Taoism. It has no ism, no philosophy, that’s the beauty of it. It is not a religion either: it is just pure life!
    THE WORLD OF LAO TZU is totally different from the worlds of philosophy, religion, ethics. It is not even a way of life. Lao Tzu is not teaching something — he is that something. He is not a preacher, he is a presence. He has no doctrine for you — he has only himself to offer and share.
    Had he been a philosopher, things would have been easy — you could have understood him. He is a mystery because he is not a philosophy. He is not even an anti-philosophy, because both depend on logic. He is absurd. Philosophies depend on logic, anti-philosophies also depend on logic — so the anti-philosophies are also nothing but philosophies. Nagarjuna, a great anti-philosopher, is still a philosopher. He talks, he argues, he discusses in the same way as any philosopher. He discusses against philosophy, argues against philosophy, but the argument is the same. And logic is a whore.
    I call it an insight, not a doctrine, not a philosophy, not a religion, because it is not intellectual at all; it is existential. The man who is speaking in it is not speaking as a mind, he is not speaking as himself either; he is just an empty passage for existence itself to say something through him.

  11. Though the uncarved block is pretty small, nothing under heaven can govern it. When the first principle gets a name, names there will be but good. You will know, then, that this is where to stop.

  12. You just answered your own question when you said:
    “Can one believe in God and the devil and follow taoist priniciples as a philosophy for life?”
    Thus you called Taoism a philosophy.


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