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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
It is through Gods own actions that Christians are guided. they must receive some form of teaching or instruction. stands above the universe as a higher being. that people are to abide by in order to avoid wrongdoing. as the basis for understanding. it invariably takes no action. who acts as a servant to God. Tao does not dominate the world with force. Christianity could not exist. Both religions believe that there is an existence without end. Every living thing depends on them for life. whereas Tao rules by not acting. the universe and I exist together. and all things and I are one. The main focus in Taoism is not the worship of one god. also known as the law of man . In fact the . emphasizes the fact that it is unspoken and therefore can never be verbally told or explained. on the other hand. Thus he says. and therefore can never be fully explained in words. It is exceeds beyond verbal communication and comprehension. God sent John down to earth to speak the word and lead the people to have faith. He rules by power. are a set of rules.or form. Taoism. and yet nothing is left undone . God. Christians go to church to hear the word that is verbally preached to them through the words of a priest. Whether a person chooses the path of the Taoist or of a Christian they are ultimately aiming towards the same goal of immortality. Words can be used to speak of it. the Tao cannot be spoken. With this being understood it can be concluded that without language. but instead coming into harmony with Tao. that a persons soul is eternal and therefore never dies. According to the Gospel of John. The Ten Commandments. developed by God. God rewards those who lead a virtuous life and punishes those who have sinned in order to teach them the right way to live. on the other hand. While speech and understanding remain the basis for following Christianity. but they cannot be used to contain it. setting certain standards which Christians are to live by and obey in order to reach salvation. Tao is described as being nameless . Tao clothes and feeds all things but does not claim to be master over them. in the Christian Bible. In order for Christians to acquire an understanding of their faith. But the Tao is not a supreme being as God is to the Christians because Taoism is not monotheistic. Another element that separates the Tao from God is the way in which they guide the world. Both Tao and God love and take care of all of creation.
The meaning of Tao is translated as the way . following natures principles in order to attain an enlightened and empowered entrance into reality. In the absence of God s direction they would not be able to ever reach heaven. once they reach heaven. Christians would have no concept of right from wrong. still existing as a single being. In Taoism. a much different state of immortality than the Tao. The pursuit of these types of standards will ensure a life of happiness and tranquility which far surpasses anything that all of . Someone who achieves Tao however. Instead Tao is about reaching a new level of consciousness which arises when the mind and body are joined together and transcend into a deeper wisdom. the way in which they follow these paths are contrasting. As stated in the text Being one with nature is to be at one with Tao. Taoism seeks naturalness . becomes at one with nature itself. But the Taoist idea of immortality greatly differs from that in Christian beliefs.soul. migrates to another life where it lives in harmony and bliss for all eternity. Despite these similar criteria for eternal life. they must avoid all earthly temptations and desires that may lead to the pollution of a virtuous style of life. If one is to reach either Tao or Heaven. Similarly. Without God acting as a leader. and selfishness are seen as distractions to a harmonious life. fame. but this way can never be taught. It is only when one rids his/herself of such desires that immortality can be achieved. When a soul reaches heaven it walks along side God. it comes from inside the believer. A Christian follows a very strict set of doctrines developed by God. and enforced by the church. one must agree to follow and un-corruptive lifestyle. Desires such as ambition. in both Taoism and Christianity. Unlike God. to find the way. Tao does not define a path for the Taoist. the way to achieve Tao is individual. A Taoist wishes to achieve Tao. It is God itself that guides Christians. Christians believe that their soul will live forever in peace. it must come from within. Unlike Tao. Reaching Tao is not about a specific re-location of the soul as it is with Heaven in Christianity. in both Taoism and Christianity. and shows them the way to accomplish this goal of eternal life. Heaven is a physical relocation of a persons soul. reaching a deeper life where a persons soul becomes at one with the universe. who shows you the way . uniting with all of existence.
are the leading factors that divide Taoism and Christianity into two very isolated sets of beliefs. greatly differs from that of the Christian . However. It is apparent in both Taoism and Christianity that only through proper living. by following a pure path. In both religions it is possible to maintain a pure lifestyle only when all desires and personal ambitions are forsaken along the course of one s life. Tao and God. it is clear that the differences between the two religions far outweigh the similarities.humankind s cleverness can devise. the two main entities from each religion. It can be concluded that the Taoist concept of the immortal afterlife and the method in which a person reaches eternal life. can one achieve the ultimate goal of immortality.