Taoism Vs Christianity Essay Research Paper THE

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Taoism Vs. Christianity Essay, Research Paper THE WAY TO IMMORTALITY A Comparison Between Taoism and Christianity and the Paths They Take to Reach Immortality By: Emily Capaldi PH 200 The basic structure of both Taoism and Christianity are parallel because they work to attain the same goal. It is apparent in both religions that by following a pure path, and devoiding ones self of earthly ambitions, wealth, and desires, one may reach the ultimate goal of immortality. But the way in which one reaches this goal is very different. Both religions believe in an entity that has existed before the universe, is the creator of all things, and loves and provides for all of creation. The Taoist believes in Tao, which remains a ?formless?, spiritual stare of mind. It rejects names and is

therefore ?nameless? and unable to be spoken. Christians, however, believe in God, which takes on an active human form and is spoken as ?the word? of God. However, it is the differences between Tao and God that present the most evident factors that separate Taoism from Christianity. Unlike the Tao, God rules as a supreme being, while the Tao is at one with all, and does not master over anything. It is obvious that immortality is the goal in both religions, but the Taoist concept of immortality, and the way in which they become immortal differs from the of the Christians. Immortality, to the Taoist, is to achieve Tao, becoming at one with the universe. Christian immortality is to reach heaven, and walk along side God. Also, the Taoist must follow an individual path, that comes

from within. While a Christian may reach heaven only by acts of his/her own goodness in accordance with their relationship with God. Creation, in both Taoism and Christianity, is stemmed from a source that always was and always will be. Taoists base their beliefs around the Tao, and the Christians believe in God. However, the essence of these two separate ideas differ dramatically in many other aspects. Unlike Tao, which claims to be ?formless?, God takes on an actual form, the image of man. The very first sentence of John?s Gospel states, ?In the beginning was the one who was called the word…? This statement confirms the existence of a single being. Later in the text it is said that ?the word became flesh and dwelt among us?, thus becoming like a human. In contrast, the great

Tao is ?infinite?; it flows everywhere and is always present, yet it cannot be seen or touched. It is ?empty like a bowl? and ?bottomless? yet its capacity cannot be exhausted. The Tao?s own intangibility demonstrates the notion that it is frameless and therefore is not constructed into any shape or form. While speech and understanding remain the basis for following Christianity, the Tao cannot be spoken, and therefore can never be fully explained in words. According to the Gospel of John, in the Christian Bible, God sent John down to earth to speak ?the word? and lead the people to have faith. In order for Christians to acquire an understanding of their faith, they must receive some form of teaching or instruction. Christians go to church to hear ?the word? that is verbally

preached to them through the words of a priest, who acts as a servant to God. With this being understood it can be concluded that without language, as the basis for understanding, Christianity could not exist. Taoism, on the other hand, emphasizes the fact that it is unspoken and therefore can never be verbally told or explained. Tao is described as being ?nameless?. It is exceeds beyond verbal communication and comprehension. ?Words can be used to speak of it, but they cannot be used to contain it.? Both Tao and God love and take care of all of creation. Every living thing depends on them for life. But the Tao is not a supreme being as God is to the Christians because Taoism is not monotheistic. The main focus in Taoism is not the worship of one god, but instead coming into