Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rules, Rules & More Rules

When the great Tao is forgotten,
Kindness and morality arise.
When wisdom and intelligence are born,
The great pretense begins.
~ Tao Te Ching, portion of Eighteen ~
When a person reads the above passage from a Judeo-Christian viewpoint, it seems to make no sense at all! Being kind to others and living a moral life are said to be virtuous attributes. Wisdom and learning are things we should strive for.

But from a Taoist perspective, Tao is impartial. It's not kind, moral, wise or intelligent. It just is and, if you allow yourself to be one with Tao, you do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Period. End of story.

In essence, you don't try to live your life by a set of arbitrary religious rules -- ones that often were written down long ago and by someone external to you. Such rules are problematic because they lack context. What may seem to be the correct move in one instance, may not be in the next instance.

Another problem with arbitrary religious rules is that it seems to be the human condition always to try to find a way around them. Almost all of us like for rules to be rigidly applied to others, while we expect a lot of slack, in our own particular case!

The other chief problem with arbitrary religious rules concerns WHY most people seek to follow them -- that is, when they DO follow them. This specific point represents one of my chief critiques of Christianity. If you do or do not do something to please God, then, in my book, you're not truly doing or not doing it for the right reason anyway.

If you do something positive, then you're expecting brownie points or a reward (heaven). If you do not do something negative, then you're hoping to avoid a demerit or sanction (hell). In either case, you hope to get something out of the behavior or action. Therefore, your genuine emphasis is on you, not the supposed almighty. This means, of course, that your true motivation is nothing more than a bold attempt to serve your own selfish needs.


  1. Plus it's amazing how many Christianists use their "morality" in order to conduct what to me are immoral actions, like trespassing on the rights of others to live as they please.


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