Animism is most inclusive in extending personhood, kinship, community, morality, and spirituality far beyond human society. The ideal of Animism is to respectfully engage in a morality of kinship and reciprocity with others, especially extraordinary beings in nature encountered in daily life, rituals, and/or visions. While Animism is the religion of many of the some 300 million indigenous people in the world it is not limited to such societies.
About 1,000 years later, a tremendous reorganization took place, in which all attributes of an object split into two opposites, such as hot vs. cold, fast vs. slow, etc. In Chinese dualistic philosophy, out of the chaos in the universe came Yang, which represents everything about the world that is illuminated, evident, active, aggressive, controlling, hot, hard, and masculine; and Yin, the opposite, signifying that which is dark, hidden, passive, receptive, yielding, cool, soft, and feminine. Counterparts and conflicting opposites, they complemented each other in the formation of a creative force whose products were heaven and earth with its fruits. Its symbol is a circle divided into 2 embryonic shapes, one black, and the other white, whose significance is life and the ordering of life, universal power, and the mysterious duality which lies in the soul of men, to achieve perfect harmony.
As with most things in nature, the religions in China slowly evolved through the ages to meet the needs of the ever-changing environment. The first, Animism, was followed by the the development of "Dualism" or the existence of positive and negative aspects to all things. These following six organized religions, which followed Animism and Dualism, should familiar to most people:
3 - Taoism: 604 BC.
It is the intent of this short site to place the emergence of Taoism as the first truly organized religion in the world.
Taoism is a beautiful religion; actually, it is a "predecessor of Christianity", but is often seriously misunderstood, because its symbol (shown to the right) is the dualistic anagram of the Yin and Yang, born 1,500 years before Taoism.
In 440 BC it was adopted as a state religion. At that time, Lao-Tse, the founder, became popularly venerated as a deity. Taoism, along with Buddhism and Confucianism, became the three great religions of China. With the end of the Ch'ing Dynasty in 1911, state support for Taoism ended. Much of the Taoist heritage was destroyed during the next period of warlordism. After the Communist victory in 1949, religious freedom was severely restricted.
It takes but a perfunctory comparison of the salient points of Taoism and Christianity to gain an understanding of their many similarities and the inescapable conclusion that one was certainly derived from or evolved from the other. The timing alone implicates Taoism as the primary philosophical source behind Christianity.
The essence of Taoism is "Tao", "the way", which is not the "eternal Tao", (not God the Father); he is "the way, the truth and the life" (does it sound like Christ?)... the translation of the Bible in Chinese reads, "In the beginning was the Tao, and the Tao was with God, and the Tao was God"...like John1:1... the "Tao" is "infinite profundity", "the origin of all things", "a stabilizing force, for where Tao is equilibrium"... "it existed before heaven and earth", "it is eternal", "stands alone, and never changes, pervades everywhere", "Tao is the source of all things, the treasure of good men, and the sustainer of bad men"... He is the "Word", Jesus Christ!
However there is a great difference: "Tao" is not a person; it is a force, a principle... "Jesus" is a person, he is God, the creator of all things in heavens and earth, and he wants to live in your heart, and you in him, in his Mystical Body, in his Church... come to Jesus, just have faith in him and you will be saved... he is the real living Tao!
the Men of Tao
"He who lives in Tao, and Tao in him, is a good man: He keeps in good terms with men, takes things easy, loves the world as he does his own person; he is simple like an infant, cautious, modest, yielding. He is humble, and thus he remains entire. He is subtle, penetrating and profound; avoids excess, extravagance, and indulgence. He makes the self of the people his self"... he acts to the good or to the bad with goodness, and to the faithful or the faithless with faith. He returns love for great hatred"...
All these quotations from the "Tao-te Ching" certainly sound like "Christ" and "Christianity!"
The Essence of Christianity is not "to know" about Christ but to be another Christ, with Christ in the Christian and the Christian in Christ, in his Mystical Body, in his church... and Christ is God, the Absolute, the real Tao who became a real human person.
The third part of Taoism: The Old Dualism
The old dualism of life stems from Tao, as the competition of complementary opposites, Yin and Yang; these two competing energies are found in all things, but both must be kept in balance. Excess of any energy is harmful. When the two forces are in balance within the human personality then the perfect ideal human will exist. But always Tao, the spirit, will prevail over the physical, material nature, for Tao will never die.Tai Chi
There is a long history involvement by Taoists in various exercise and movement techniques. Tai chi in particular works on all parts of the body. It stimulates the central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress and gently tones muscles without strain. It also enhances digestion, elimination of wastes and the circulation of blood. Moreover, tai chi's rhythmic movements massage the internal organs and improve their functionality. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that illness is caused by blockages or lack of balance in the body's chi (intrinsic energy). Tai Chi is believed to balance this energy flow. http://www.utah.edu/stc/tai-chi/articles.html http://www.taoist.org
The other site of Taoism: Priests, magic, spirits, emperors
Lao-Tze left no church, no priests, no rituals and services... but today, it is lived in syncretism with the old Animism of China, and it is demeaned by polytheism, witchcraft, demonology, spiritism, spirit spells, and a degenerate papacy...
The priests head the rituals in the temples, and an incense burner is essential to every magic rite and exorcism... these "temples", besides of the religious rituals, are as well a cultural axis, providing fairs, puppet shows, story-tellers, opera... and most Chinese have they altars at home, to the ancestors, and to spell the bad spirits.
Each Chinese, after death, wants to be an important ancestor...in their Heaven, where they can help the living...but there is Hell, like "Purgatory", with nine stages of punishments, each one governed by a demon king; and the prayers can help them to get out of there.
Denominations or Traditions
1. Orthodox: Tao masters and Black Headed Taoists. Stress the importance of rituals, cosmic renewal, and controlling spirits.
Taoism and Confusionism Taoism was founded in the 604 BC in China by Lao-Tze, which means, literally, "old philosopher" or "old boy", but his real name was Li-Uhr.
"Two" Different Religious Ways
For Confucius, "human conduct" must be righteous, and the man's relation with God and the universe would take care of itself... for Lao-Tze, man must establish himself in harmony with the universal principle; with the Tao, through his own Tao, and good human conduct will follow...
Tangential Effects of Early Religion on other Sections of Civilization
At this point in religious history, Taoism occupied the position of greatest popularity not only in China, but in the entire known world. Actually, it is thought by many that the spread of Animus as the first really organized worldwide domain was a powerful stimulator in demonstrating how organized communication could distribute information to staggering numbers of people in incredibly short periods of time. This fact would continue to be utilized not only in religion, but in many other areas of business, scientific, and a host of other valuable applications around the world.