Is Tao The Way, or is the way Christ?
The word "Tao" literally means "way" or "path." This should never be confused with Christ’s statement of being the way, the truth and the life. The GOD of Christianity is personal, Taoism has an impersonal force. It cannot be separated from the religion itself as the Taoist philosophy believes that ch'i is the basic flow of energy that sustains all life; the oneness of all creation. That is not at all the similar as what the Bible teaches in its worldview. There is no communion with God in Taoism because it is impersonal.
The Tao is the natural way of all things, it is the nameless beginning of heaven and earth, and the Mother of all things. Only those free of desire can apprehend the Tao, which leads to a life of 'actionless activity.’ There are three worlds and beings within them, The Path of Attainment: He who has realized the Tao, has arrived at pure consciousness and sees the inner truth of everything.
Tao one of the three religions of China is a mystical tradition, interpretations are diverse and it has many sects. It is said the Tao, or Way, has never been put down in words; rather it is left for the seeker to discover within. -Lao Tzu wrote "The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao." Taoism is concerned with man's spiritual being, and in the Tao-te-Ching the awakened man is compared to bamboo: upright, simple and useful outside-and hollow inside. Effulgent emptiness is the spirit of Tao, but no words can capture its spontaneity, its eternal newness.
Lao Tzu wrote down his wisdom in the Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, of approximately 5,500 words instructing rulers in the art of government. It teaches that the less government, the better, and that a ruler should lead by non-action.
Tao says the knowable universe is composed of opposite components, whether physical (hard/soft; dark/light, life/ death, summer/ winter), moral (good/evil), or biological (male/female), classed as either YIN or YANG. When combined, existence is produced, and is manifest as Tao. Neither yin nor yang can exist independently.
The founder of Taoism, “Lao-Tse had a cynical view of history. He saw that all that flows out returns to its starting point. Life came from non-life and returns to non-life again. Therefore, true wisdom becomes a matter of attuning oneself to the rhythm of the universe, which corresponds strictly to the rhythm of life. Five main orifices and organs of the body mirror the 'five directions,' or as they are alternately called, the 'five parts of the sky,' or the 'five holy mountains.' They are water, fire, wood, metal, and earth. These correspondences and rhythmic movements became characterised by the concepts of YIN and YANG." (Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols, p.271.)
In chapter one: Conceived of as having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; conceived of as having a name, it is the Mother of all things. Always without desire we must be found, If its deep mystery we would sound; But if desire always within us be, Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.”
Now that we have a cursory background of this. There is a huge problem of those who claim the Tao is Christ. As some state, man is one of thousands of manifestation, is finite and will pass; only Tao is endures forever. The impersonal Tao is in direct contrast to a personal loving God depicted in the Scriptures that is real to those who have encountered him.
“the more I have studied non-Christian cultures and beliefs of various cultures and periods, the more I have become persuaded that the truth is just the opposite. Jesus is the Tao that Confucius and Lao Zi were looking for, the Rta of Indian philosophers or Purusa of the Rig Veda, the Divine Logos of St. the Apostle John. John's famous words about that Logos are correctly translated as follows in Chinese: “In the beginning was the Tao. And the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God. . . All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . .”
And then, as if to wake all the philosophers and day-dreamers among us up:
“And the Tao became flesh and dwelt among us.”(How I Learned Jesus Is the Tao by David Marshall "http://www.homestead.com/christthetao/learned.html"
Much of this is interpreted as subjective and his personal view and has no basis in history or reality. The fact that many writers have an inclusivist view on the Bible and reinterpret it in whatever way they think is best for those they want to connect with.
This is 2,500 years ago so he is saying that the Chinese had a revelation of the Son of God before the Hebrew prophets, before the New Testament?
In his book Ecumenical Jihad: Kreeft says it is, “very likely” that there is a “hidden Christ” in pagan religions, Kreeft wrote, If John’s Gospel had been written in Chinese instead of Greek, it would have begun by asserting that “in the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God and the Tao was God?”Kreeft is then saying God is an impersonal force? Chi comes from Taoism, Ki, Reiki, Mana are similar spiritual energies from other spiritual systems. In the Tao the purpose in life is to become one with the Tao which is the source of all that exists, the Principle that controls the universe and the Way that enables us to live in harmony with nature. The Chuang-Tzu tells us the Tao is, "... complete, all embracing, the whole; these are the different names for the same reality denoting the One."
The cosmic Tao is invisible, inaudible, unnamable, undiscussable, inexpressible(Max Mueller, ed., Sacred Books of the East, London: Krishna Press, 1879-1910, 40:68, 69).
In other words it cannot be expressed in words therefore it cannot be the word from Scripture or the word of Jn.1.
This is contrary to the gospel that we are to speak of. It has been said He who knows the Tao does not care to speak about it; he who is ever ready to speak about it does not know it. But we are to speak what we know of God and his word.
Those in the emergent church famously
combine other religious concepts with Christianity. “The
in the West –
the church of spiritual seekers who seek to share in the journey of Jesus but
not impose it on others -- is already Taoist in tone. …
What remains is for them to realize that
one of the best ways to “proclaim the gospel” is not to proclaim at all,
but rather to travel a path of gentleness, which is its own proclamation, its
own good news.”
I agree some people should keep silent (one should read this whole article that is overflowing with the new mysticism). However the bible commands us to speak, not be silent lest we be rejected by God (Mt.10:32; lk.12:8; Rom.15:9). Rom. 10:15-17 “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
If you don’t have an answer how can you live by it? The Bible speaks of other winds that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14). V.15 We are to be “speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”, and “should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.” Which is by being inclusive and making different religions compatible is being double minded.
Consider this found in some Chinese Bibles, the "Logos" is translated to "Tao. In John 1:1-2: “In the beginning was the Tao. And the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God… The Tao became flesh and dwelt among us”
To quote the passage on the deity of Christ and his eternal relationship with the Father as the Tao tells me that this person knows more about the Tao and less about the meaning of Scripture. To do such a rendition of the Bible is absurd. But nothing is off limits to these active “cultural change agents.” This is merging two very different belief systems to make them sympathetic to each other. They relate it to the Greek philosophers Heraclitus, Socrates that held to the logos being abstract and impersonal.
John is not using a Greek model, he is using a Hebraism for “the Word.” John wrote his gospel in Greek, using Greek words for Jewish concepts, it is not Hellenistic. This Word is a title for the Son of God who possesses the very same nature as the Father. What John was doing was explaining the true meaning of logos compared to the Greek writers. The common term in the Old Testament for “word” is dabhar (used in the Septuagint). “In Hebrew thought, the dabar was dynamic and filled with a power that was transmitted to those who received it. The term was often used to designate God's communication to his people, as at the beginning of many of the writings of the prophets: “The word of the Lord came.” The whole of the Law, or all of Scripture, could then be referred to as God's Word. (Holman Bible Dictionary LOGOS)
Clearly if they do not have the same words of the Bible delivered from God (nor the same meaning) then the Tao is not the same Word who was made flesh.
Tao means Way, and it is left for the seeker to discover within. The Tao is an impersonal Supreme -- there exist lesser divinities, it is the oneness of all creation, in the spirituality of the material realms and in the brotherhood of all men. Does this sound like a Christian (Biblical) worldview?
Yet there are books, like this whose author interprets it in a Christian manner The Tao Te Ching and the Christian Way: A New English Version. Fr. Hieromonk Damascene, a priest of the (Serbian) Christian Orthodox Church wrote Christ, the Eternal Tao, the logos being one and the same as the Tao. We find people willing to get revelation from other religious viewpoints and present a synchronized view with Christianity by isolating certain words. But these words carry concepts that are diametrically opposed to each other.
Taoism believes man is a spiritual being, and in the Tao, te-Ching the awakened man is compared to bamboo: upright, simple and useful outside-and hollow inside. The knowable universe is composed of opposite components, physical (hard/soft; dark/light), moral (good/bad), or biological (male/female), which are classed as either YANG or YIN. Thus two opposing forces make up the whole.
The word – is the Son, which the Bible says has no darkness. To say it is the Tao, should be repulsive to Bible believers who want to do real evangelism, but this kind of new Christianity is being embraced and taught through numerous missionary organizations. I was once told in a correspondence with someone who teaches at Fuller bible college he was using Tarot card to evangelize, insinuating that what we are doing is old and passe’ and is being replaced. Indeed it is but by what?
There are those who have an inclusive view of religion, even calling themselves Christian. Some want to find Christ in the other religion or statements of the Bible. Trying to make different religions compatible, watch out for those who do this, they do not represent Jesus but are leading you away from Him.
Christ never used other religions or culture to reform, neither did he instruct the Apostles to do so. They “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) by preaching the gospel to people of many different cultures. Why do something the Bible says nothing about and think you are doing evangelism.
When we employ other religions concepts the work of the Holy Spirit is put aside and a reliance on human ingenuity and methods is used. This essentially compromises the Spirit of truth’s work in a persons heart.
God is able to give knowledge and save the same way He always did, he does not need us to improve on His methods or ways – we only need to speak and explain what He has written. If we exercise faith and allow the Spirit of truth to work we will see the results we desire and will not have to opt for these made up methods of man.