Question:

I am an Episcopalian. I believe in the one true God, the heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, our Savior. I would like to know if I would be able to continue and worship at my church while using the philosophy of Taoism.


Answer:

I'm a Christian who follows the teachings of God. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).

Taoism is a product of men. As such, it holds no significant meaning. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9). You cannot be a follower of Christ and a follower of man-made philosophy at the same time. They are incompatible.

Taoism delights in vagueness. "Taoism leaves the Tao undefined and a Taoist happily explores the wonder that opens up as a result. All Taoist’s will agree: The Tao is indefinable." ["Taoism 101: Introduction to the Tao"]. The reason is that Taoism leaves it up to the individual to decide what they want to believe. "Over the years Taoism has become many things to many people. Hundreds of variations in Taoist practice exist. Some of these practices are philosophical in nature, others are religious. Taoism makes no distinction in applying labels to its own nature. This is important since as a person, we are each a blend of many truths. The truth taught in Taoism is to embrace life in actions that support you as a person" ["Taoism 101: Introduction to the Tao"]. Since the standard is the individual's desires, there is no real standard. "Taoism teaches a person to live to their heart." ["Taoism 101: Introduction to the Tao"]. It becomes an expression of empty philosophy. "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

"Taoists teach that Tao is the force that existed before all other things. Tao literally means "the way". Taoists teach that a person should leave things alone and let nature take its course through wu wei or "not doing". In addition a person should not try an manipulate others' thoughts but instead they should be allowed to find their own way based on their faith in the Tao. Also Taoists are encouraged to take care of their physical health and longevity so that they can be in harmony with Tao." ["What are the teachings of Taoism"].

"Taoism has as its goal, helping people realize their oneness with the Universe" [The Basic Teachings of Taoism - Eastern Philosophy and Meditation]. In Taoism, the universe is a balance between good and evil. It requires an equal amount of good and evil to be at peace. This is what leads to the teaching of not fighting nature. "Taoists follow the art of "wu wei," which is to let nature take its course. ... Taoists believe that humans often intervene in nature and upset the balance of Yin and Yang." [Taoism, Religious Tolerance]. See Light and Dark on why this is contrary to Christianity. Christianity is about change. It is about making war against evil. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Taoism is also an idolatrous religion. "Taoism does have gods, but Taoist gods typically are very tangible beings. They walk besides us, share tea with us, laugh, play and can alter reality. A Taoist god represents an enlightened immortal that helps other conscious beings work towards grace. In Taoism gods are shown as guides and inspiration toward how to find enlightenment." ["Taoism 101: Introduction to the Tao"]. Many followers of Taoism avoid this, preferring to say that Taoism is just a philosophy of life without promoting any particular religion. As God told the Israelites, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).

I have no idea if you can find some Episcopalian group who would tolerate someone in their midst following a false philosophy. I do know that it Taoism is contrary to the Truth. "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"" (John 14:6).