Daoism developed before and distinct from Christianity. Its early development was not, as far as I know, influenced by Judaism or other forms of monotheism. It assumed the existence of spirits and ghosts and, as it took shape in interaction with Buddhism as a canonized religion, came to accept the ideas of an afterlife: a heaven and hell. But Daoism never seems to rely upon the presence of a singular god-like figure to provide moral guidance.From time to time, contentious discussions break out on this blog on the subject of philosophical versus religious Taoism. Since the three scribes here all lean toward atheism, we naturally focus on the aspects of Taoism BEFORE it became a canonized religion. This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with belief in or following the canonized form; it's simply not the path we happen to follow.
~ from Godless Goodness by Sam Crane at The Useless Tree ~
I think one of the appeals of Taoism (in whatever form an individual chooses) is that it is a belief framework without the need for a god or gods. This, of course, makes perfect sense for those of us who do not believe in gods anyway! Most of us believe there is no need for a supernatural entity to serve as the basis of morality and ethics. Humans can and do develop these on their own.
Speaking for myself only, I submit that the belief in a god or gods unduly complicates the issues of morality and ethics. In the Judeo-Christian belief systems, rules are set down in cement that God himself does not follow. What is an adherent to think when the ultimate role model doesn't model the actions he says are sacrosanct?
What a way to screw with somebody's mind!