In college I have met many atheists that also claim to be taoist, a form of eastern monism. I have studied Taosim and in a technical sense it is possible to be both a taoist and and atheist. In taoism there is no God. There is only the Tao. Still it seems as if the Tao is takeing the place of a God, emotionaly at least. It also seems to be on the same level, epistemicly speaking, as God. So it seems strange for me that one person would deny the existence of God and affirm the existence of the Tao.

Toaism states that everything in the world is believed to be a manifestation of the Tao and are restricted, in a sense, by the Tao. In the Tao de Ching, the main text of Taoists, the tao is described as being indescribable (doesn't that sound familiar to something other theists say about their God?). It is said by certian taoists that the Tao, I am paraphrasing here, is both smaller than the smallest thing and largests than the largest thing (a contradiction). The Tao is unity (whatever that means, I mean why not just call it unity then?). The Tao seems even more vague than any concept developed by western religions and just as hard to prove the existence of than any western God. Maybe I am to entrenched in western thinking for any of this eastern philosopohy.

Tags: atheism, atheist, eastern, monism, tao

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There is a very simple difference:  Does Taoism make any claims of either the existence of any entity or force or contingency, that cannot be scrutiniced by scientific research?    Without such a claim, it is a philosophy, with such a claim, it is some religion or woo-woo.

If you are not prepared to believe in a Middle Eastern bronze age belief system, why make excuses for for an Asian bronze age belief system?

 

From an etymological point of view though:

When I see the word Tao (dou 道in Japanese),'the way' or 'the way of' comes to mind. As in Shintou(神道) the way of God、kendou(剣道) the way of the sword、bushidou(武士道)the way of the warrior. etc So when I see 道 by itself, I think 'the way'. But the way to what?

Lol, massive difference between the two.

 

Bronze Age Middle Eastern Religion - The primary controlling Force of the Universe likes me better than you.

 

Bronze Age Asian Philosophy - This is what I understand to be how the Universe works based on observations of the Universe actually working.

 

The "ways" described are not always "paths" but rather "workings". Alternately, one can have clear goals in mind when applying the philosophy. Peace, prosperity, skill, etc. The "way" can describe the appropriate "path" to achieve those things or the "workings" of those things in practice.

 

Take note, however, that there is a distinction between the dao "of something" and the greater Dao. The Greater Dao is how the Universe works, from the smallest to the largest and how they relate to each other. If you would like to sh17 on that, then you sh17 on most of modern science. Where science seeks to understand the workings of the Universe, the greater Dao has held that there is something to be understood.

Hi Ronald, how are things?

If you would like to sh17 on that, then you sh17 on most of modern science.

Everything else apart from this sentence is comprehendable. Just because you have written this sentence, and just because you think this sentence to be true, doesn't make it true. 

 

I am not shi7ing on Taoism nor on science.

 

Taoism doesn't explain anything what so ever. Everything in it is ambiguous. Taoists just take what they want form Taoism the same way Christians take what they want from Christianity. Believers of both religious systems read their ancient texts and interpret them in a way that makes them feel good inside. 

 

 

Why hello, Leveni, I am doing wonderful and I hope you are as well.

 

If you understood the rest of my post, it follows that you are able to comprehend the sentence you quoted. I must agree with you on your assertion that just because I think it is true doesn't make it true. I must also remind you that just because we have no reason to believe there is a God, doesn't mean there isn't one. This is the condition we find ourselves in because of how we have interpreted the world.

 

What are your political opinions? Do you prefer capitalism over socialism or vice versa? How did you come to that opinion? My guess is by your interpretation of the world and the systems in question. The Daode Jing is not a religious text as much as a philosophical, ethical and political treatise. As such, I am free to agree or disagree with the opinions contained therein. In general, I am in agreement. Sometimes I am not.

 

As for the ambiguity, I would prefer that you cite a specific example rather than make an unqualified statement. Or you could stick to your atheistic fundamentalism. If that's your dao, then I have no motivation to relieve you of it ;)

Hey Ronald,

hehe, nice response. Thanks for making me smile, even laugh a bit.

If you understood the rest of my post, it follows that you are able to comprehend the sentence you quoted. I must agree with you on your assertion that just because I think it is true doesn't make it true. I must also remind you that just because we have no reason to believe there is a God, doesn't mean there isn't one. This is the condition we find ourselves in because of how we have interpreted the world.

Agreed.

 

What are your political opinions? Do you prefer capitalism over socialism or vice versa? How did you come to that opinion? My guess is by your interpretation of the world and the systems in question.

I do have political opinions but they are way out there. And most probably wouldn't be taken seriously. But basically, all necessities needed for life should be given by the state, everything else, a semi-controlled laissez-faire capitalist system. But again, you are right about how my opinions have come about.

 

The Daode Jing is not a religious text as much as a philosophical, ethical and political treatise. As such, I am free to agree or disagree with the opinions contained therein. In general, I am in agreement. Sometimes I am not.

This is the case with any opinion about life in general that has been written down and taken to be the 'proper way' to live. 

 

As for the ambiguity, I would prefer that you cite a specific example rather than make an unqualified statement.

'Wu wei'. or 'wei wu wei'. It's a pretty meaningless statement. If somebody acts and gets it wrong, Taoists can just say: 'he didn't wu-wei properly'. If he gets it right they will say: 'he did wu-wei properly'. Wu-wei is pure meaningless ambiguity.

 

Or you could stick to your atheistic fundamentalism. 

Atheistic Fundamentalism. TNT666 mentioned this in a thread he started in regards to the meaning of the word Atheism. I tend to agree with him. There is no such thing as Atheism or Atheistic Fundamentalism. They don't exist.

 

An Atheist is somebody who does not believe in God or gods.

But Atheism? There is no doctrine in regards to Atheism. TNT666 makes a great point. 

 

If that's your dao, then I have no motivation to relieve you of it ;)

Even Dao is ambiguous. 

When I read the Chinese version of Daoism, it states that it's main purpose is to worship Traditional Gods, achieve immortality(神仙) and save the world. What does that mean?

 

How each of us wishes to save the world is different, and therefore ambiguous. 

 

Immortality? Christians also believe in Immortality, but in a different way and by a different means to Taoists. Therefore it is ambiguous. 

 

Worshipping Chinese traditional Gods. I do not see how lighting incense and praying can do anything to help somebodies life, and every prayer would be different and therefore the whole process would be ambiguous. 

 

Taoism is a religion that appeals to human emotions, just like all religions. 

But

just as you said, I have my 'way' and you have your 'way'.

 

Glad you enjoyed. I don't have much of an opinion about religious Taoism except that often the practical application of polytheism is that everyone has a god they can look too. The Daode Jing, Zhuangzi, and the Confusian Classics did not begin as religious texts. Any religiosity attributed to them is, technically, a corruption. Therefore I really don't that much attention to them, lol.

 

Wu wei and wu wei wu are not like Paul's prayers where success is seemingly guaranteed. It's just a technique. Action without action is like Rosa Parks. She didn't fight a war, she just sat in a seat. That is a prime example of wu wei in practice. I hardly find this to be meaningless.

 

There is no doctrine of atheism but there are dogmatic connotations that are clung to by some atheists such as grabbing every opportunity to ridicule religion. Like when atheists make a big stink about the bible speaking of unicorns or bats being grouped with birds. This at the expense of any value one might gather from the stories being told. It makes it hard to have a conversation with some people. I'm just not terribly impressed.

 

Dao is not ambiguous as it has been explained very well in this thread.

 

Funny note on immortality. In religious Taoism, one path to immortality is that the female achieves orgasm many times (up to 50) while the male refrains. Something to do with energies or some such. Makes me think of the QI joke where immortality is located on your elbow, all you have to do is reach out and lick it.

Wu wei and wu wei wu are not like Paul's prayers where success is seemingly guaranteed. It's just a technique. Action without action is like Rosa Parks. She didn't fight a war, she just sat in a seat. That is a prime example of wu wei in practice. I hardly find this to be meaningless.

After reading a bit about Wu Wei, I can find no conection between Rosa Parks action and Wu Wei. 

Rosa Parks not moving seats was a form of protest. 

Quote:

"When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night."

She, in her mind, had a steadfast determination not to move.

But 

this is not Wu Wei. Wu Wei states that the non-action is to have no proactive interference from the mind. It has to be a natural action. For example: to paint in the wu wei way, one must paint without thinking, because the thoughts will interfere with the natural course of the painting. Or when playing music, one must not think of all the notes, just play effortlessly. Wu Wei is not doing what should be done, but just doing things in a natural manner. 

 

I put it to you that the Rosa Parks example is a misleading example of Wu Wei. Yes or No?

 

 

There is no doctrine of atheism but there are dogmatic connotations that are clung to by some atheists such as grabbing every opportunity to ridicule religion. Like when atheists make a big stink about the bible speaking of unicorns or bats being grouped with birds. This at the expense of any value one might gather from the stories being told. It makes it hard to have a conversation with some people. I'm just not terribly impressed.

This, I agree with you. I disagree with ridicule. I notice a lot of atheists prefer to quote Thomas Jefferson's ridicule quote, than put up a point of view. 

Putting up a point of view and explaining that point of view I find much better. Going through point by point, finding out what a person believes in, and making sure they explain their beliefs in a well understood manner, one that they themselves can clearly see and understand, as well as everybody else being able to understand, makes much more sense to me.  

EG: I think I know what Wu Wei is. I do not think Rosa Parks is a good example, and I explained why. I can not believe in Wu Way because it is ambiguous. There is no real point to it in the physical world. In the practitioners own mind there is a point to it, but outside the mind it is meaningless. 

But can Wu Wei give a practitioner peace of mind. I guess so, but it all depends on the indoctrination process of Taoism. In my mind Taoism can only work on the subjective level, thus making it similar to a religion.

 

Dao is not ambiguous as it has been explained very well in this thread.

Maybe I am wrong in thinking it is ambiguous. But that is what I think. And I gave examples of why. Dao: the indescribable way the universe works? This has no meaning to me.

 

Glad you enjoyed.

I like when there is a bit of a bite in an opinion/response in a debate. Keeps me on my toes.

 

I don't have much of an opinion about religious Taoism except that often the practical application of polytheism is that everyone has a god they can look too. The Daode JingZhuangzi, and the Confusian Classics did not begin as religious texts. Any religiosity attributed to them is, technically, a corruption. Therefore I really don't pay that much attention to them, lol.

I see, it looks like religious Taoism started with the Tang Dynasty(618AD-907AD)

 

 

Never even knew QI existed. I'm already hooked. Thanks.

 

I generally enjoy anything Steven Fry has done. You might check out A Bit of Fry and Laurie as well. as for your explanation of wu wei, it differs from the concept I am familiar with, although mine does encompass that one in a way. Rather than only "action without thinking" it is more "action without action". Like standing in a stream. You might say you aren't doing anything or you might say you are withstanding the flow of gallons upon gallons of water. Technically, you are not doing anything AND experiencing the flow of the river. Perhaps we have looked at different interpretations or perhaps both are true? Wu wei has to be more than "just do it" because the Daode Jing recommends holding one's self above desires in order to realize it's effect as well as waiting for the mud to settle before reaching into the water.

 

Of course I could be wrong. Daoism is also full of paradox. The authors are using language to tell you that language is an insufficient means of instruction and understanding. But it's what we have. I think it is probably one of the best lessons I get from it. Language can never tell you exactly how it is I understand something to be because the message is re-interpreted in your mind to make it understandable in your own terms. We can try and perhaps one of us can have a revelation in understanding but complete mutual understanding is both difficult (perhaps impossible in most cases) and, in the end, is really just pointless.

 

If you and I argued our points in a formal debate, and one of us won over the crowd, would the victor just be a better debater or would they actually BE right. This is one way in which language falls short. If we argued economic systems and you are the better orator, does that mean that your system is actually better? I think not.

 

That seems like a major digression, but it is why the Dao is indescribable. Say you had been to an extrasolar planet. You didn't bring anything back but your memories of the experience. If you describe it too me, I might get some idea of what it was like, how it must have felt, what color things were, etc. but I will never KNOW as you know unless I go myself. The Greater Dao is that concept writ large. We can comprehend what the universe is and how it works and even how it began but we cannot communicate the experience of it. Of course, this is before our advanced mathematics so perhaps this is no longer true. The quantum physicist, after all, has to lie a little bit to describe things to others in language other than math. The Dao is indescribable to even him using human language and, currently, is troubling to describe mathematically.

 

Some (including myself) would assert that "the Dao is indescribable" is as much a criticism of the limitations of language as it is a reverence for Dao.

 

 

 

The way to maintain harmony and integrity within, the way to keep balance and avoid strife without.

I sit still at my computer, doing nothing; yet time draws me forward in reply. From being stilled, the way flows from within to without.

tao is a conceptual framework for maximizing alignment with universal resonance - which is no more woo than wetting my finger and sticking it into the wind. ;)

I generally avoid using the word "taoist" in a description of myself since I always get hesitant when "ist"s are involved. I have found Taoism to be an amazing philosophy, but I can only benefit from it by cherrypicking around concepts and phrases about the Tao. When it is a philosophy about how to maintain a harmonious life it can be wonderful, but there is a lot of nonsense people have brought into it that I have just learned to avoid.

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