How are they different?
The Tao The Ching and the Bible are, in some ways, very similar, but for the most part, once you dive into their text, could not be any more different. The Tao The Ching challenged its readers to think, explore, and try to live life in the most genuinely kind of ways. On the other hand the Bible tells tales, stories, and accounts that advise, or command, the reader to act according to its rules in order to be a good person. For me it seems rather easy to decide which of the two is more morally correct regardless of your description of the word. The Tao The Ching is morally superior to the Bible because it seeks to get its readers to strive to be better human beings and to examine their lives, for it does not claim to know the answers to life, whereas the Bible tells its readers, often in very contradicting text how to live.
An untouchable text
The Bible, for centuries, has reined supreme in our world. It is rare to hear someone speak negatively about it out of respect for a religious text but also because the speaker probably fears what would most likely be a quick outcry and retaliation from those around him. Well I am going to speak negatively about it right now so for anyone who is reading that would be offended, here is your warning. Why is this text so untouchable? If it were any other text written at that time people would disregard much of the information because it is outdated, and would only be read for enjoyment.
St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City)
The Bible comforts followers
The answer is that reading the Bible is easy. Easy? How could such a complex text so difficult to understand that there are degrees offered in its study be easy? People naturally want to know the answer to everything. If they do not know the answer to something and can not look it up it frustrates them. The Bible has rules that cover even the most ridiculous aspects of life. However, people like knowing what they must do to achieve salvation. "Knowing" that if they follow all of the rules in the Bible and be a good Christian that they will go to heaven comforts its followers.
White Cloud Temple (Beijing China)
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The Tao The Ching does not claim to hold the answers.
Now on the the Tao The Ching. How could this text even be compared to the Bible when it is so vastly different? The Tao The Ching encourages its reader to live a life that benefits those around him or her. Not a single line claims to know how one goes about doing that specifically like the Bible which ends up seeming more like a book of laws as you read through it. The Tao is to most people incredible, revolutionary, and very uncomfortable. It is this uncomfortable feeling that can scare some readers. We do not know what it is, and no we are not simply confused and awaiting an answer. The unknowing concept surrounding the Tao represents everything that is different between the two texts.
Over the years we chose which parts of the Bible we wanted to live in accordance with, and which parts we did not.
If you happen to be one of those people I had to warn earlier then hold on because I am almost finished with what to you may seem to be a long winded rant. If you are not one of those people then good for you because then your mind is open to learning new paths of thought. This concept of new paths of thought is interesting because in the Bible topics such as homosexuality are condemned. However, in Leviticus 21 lines 17-18 one can read, "none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame..." We seem to have disregarded this rule today though have we not? How about the concept of stoning anyone who works seven days a week on the "Sabbath Day" found in Exodus 35 line 2? That one seems to have been tossed out the window as well, like many of the rules of the Bible to accommodate modern life. This proves that today the Bible can be used by many to manipulate others by those choosing to cite when and what whenever they please like people have done for centuries.
The Bible has inspired much more violence than the Tao The Ching.
It seems that the Tao The Ching, to my primitive understanding, is saying that you should chase the Tao by examining your actions and life. Try to live life being as kind as possible and never act out of selfishness. Perhaps if one never stops pursuing the Tao he or she will find it, but the magic of it is that perhaps the only way to have it is to not believe you do. The ideas that these concepts are based around are simply unselfish unlike its Christian counterpart. The Bible's text has been used to incite numerous crusades which are simply an act of, well I would say, simply killing other people because they do not agree with us. Even today some Christian ideals does not coexist well with some Muslim ideals and feuds erupt. After studying the Tao The Ching its hard to believe they would selfishly kill others because a true Taoist would be open to new ideas as to resemble a bowl, harmless but useful to all.
The Tao The Ching from a Biblical Scholar's Perspective
For those who think I am being too harsh when it comes to the Bible.
I realize that my interpretation of the Tao The Ching and of the Bible could very well be totally different from someone else's. That being said, there is no way of debating the fact that the Bible tells you how to live life and potentially arms those in power who want to control a faithful group of people. Meanwhile the Tao The Ching is rather harmless due to the fact that those who are true followers would be selfless and tolerant to all. Debating these texts can be tricky due to individual interpretation and translations. In the end I find it quite clear that the Tao The Ching is the more morally superior text with a wide tolerant view that does not claim to know anything and therefor is free of hypocritical and somewhat hate filled laws in the Bible. If you want to debate the hypocrisy within the Bible I simply challenge you to read through the Bible without seeing the concepts of "judge not"(Matthew 7:1), "Thou shalt not kill (or murder depending on translation)"(Exodus 20:13), or the concept behind "love thy neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31) disregarded.
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Here we have two great texts, but one is morally superior to the other.
As you can see I believe that both of these texts deserve respect, but when it comes to the concept of morality the Bible loses in comparison to the Tao The Ching. Take a step back and its easy to see. Simply try to benefit those around you while living selflessly in search of the Tao, or follow all of these rules buried in thousands of pages and you will be rewarded with salvation. Someone needs to sit down and decide which rules apply too because right now we seem to be what our friends in Washington would call flip floppers. Jumping around citing this and that when we want and ignoring the text when it does not help our case. on the other hand, the Tao The Ching would only support anyone who's case has to do with seeking knowledge and benefiting the world around you. This is why the Tao The Ching is morally superior. People simply follow the Bible because it is easier, and anyone who is faithful is guaranteed salvation. The Tao The Ching does not promise anything close to that.
What is your opinion?
Whether you agree with me or not I would love to hear your thoughts and to discuss this topic or any thing related to it with you. So I encourage everyone to leave comments on both the page itself and the topic down below.
Chadwick on July 06, 2016:
Having read both, I'll take the Tao. As the author pointed out, no lines to cross, no sides to choose. In today's world of hate fueled rants all supposedly backed by God, it's enough to make anyone sceptical. We now know that the crusades where nothing more than wars of bigotry and selfishness. Too many folks today are using the bible as a weapon to spread their small minded ideology. I have never believed that God, in his infinite wisdom, would have me hate or ostracized someone to prove my faith to him. The Tao only seeks to have you make yourself a better person and by extension all those around you better people.
pagensa on March 08, 2016:
Re Tao The Ching vs The Bible, the author clearly doesn't know the true message of the Bible. It is not just instruction on how to live morally, it is the evidence that man cannot and that's why he needs a Savior, someone to fulfill the requirement of a Holy God to be reconciled back to Him - that's what Jesus did. He lived a sinless life and was sacrificed (shed His blood which was the offering for sin as explained in the Old Testament) as a spotless lamb for payment for all sin of all mankind forever. Adam and Eve caused the separation between God and man in the Garden of Eden and Jesus restored the relationship allowing us to experience (again) the Kingdom of God on earth and then spend eternity with Him in heaven.