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can an atheist be a taoist?

To: alt.philosophy.taoism
From: Mark Richardson 
Subject: Re: can an atheist be a taoist?
Date: Wed, 08 Jan 2003 00:57:25 GMT

On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 11:38:04 +1100, Mark Richardson

>I am an atheist, but I am intrigued by what (little) I know of Taoism.
>I am not a superstitious person and so belief in gods and spirits is
>simply not in my nature.
>Is it possible to be a Taoist and an atheist?
>If not - why not?
>If the Tao is about the true nature of reality then I don't see why
>belief in gods and spirits (particularly having "faith" in them) need
>ever enter into it.
>Thanks in advance.

Sorry for responding to my own post...
I should have inluded this - it is what inspired my question - from
the taoist restotation society website

Taoism, from its very beginnings until today, incorporates deities. It
doesn't, however, recognize a God in the Western sense. There is no
great omnipotent being, external to man, who manages the universe.
Such management is left to the tao, but the tao itself is not
worshipped. Taoist deities are part of our universe, not separate from
it, and are as equally beholden to the movements of the tao as are
normal people. In that sense they are "deities" moreso than "Gods."
They are worshipped or venerated in Taoist temples. Without deities,
there would be no need for temples! Taoist deities exist in a great
pantheon. Within this pantheon is a structure, with various deities
operating under the authority of other deities. The pantheon generally
changes over time, and various Taoist sects have differing views of
it. But all Taoist sects acknowledge the pantheon's existence.

This says an atheist definitely cannot be a Taoist.

Is this set in stone?
Are there dissenting opinions within Taoism?


Mark Richardson mDOTrichardsonATutasDOTeduDOTau

Member of S.M.A.S.H.
(Sarcastic Middle aged  Atheists with a Sense of Humour)


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