Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits

Taoism does not believe in Gods and Spirits in their culture, unlike many other Abrahamic religions, as it is a philosophy or way of life that can’t simply be put into words.

Taoism beliefs in God and Spirits are that there is no invincible being beyond the cosmos that protects and runs the world. They believe in Tao, as the ultimate force that guides things in their ways, but the Tao itself is not a God, nor is it worshipped by Taoists.

Thus, it is an ancient Chinese philosophy and a religion that instructs the followers to exist in true harmony and peace with the universe by understanding the balance of nature. 

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Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits

Taoism beliefs in Gods and spirits are that there is no supreme being that is beyond the cosmos, who controls and created the entire world. This is the complete opposite of the thinking of the majority of Abrahamic religions.

Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits
Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits

People who study Taoism beliefs on Gods get surprised when they discover that Taoists venerate Gods, as there is no place for such thinking the religious beliefs and philosophies. They believe in Tao, which guides them on their ways in life.

Tao is neither a God nor is it something that is being worshipped by the Taoists. Instead, it is a philosophy that believes in marinating the true balance of nature by living with peace and harmony among each other.

This may seem startling as Taoists do use ‘God-talk’ to state to the Tao:

The Venerable Lord, the Tao, was at rest in open mystery, beyond silent desolation, in mysterious emptiness… Say it/he is there and do not see a shape; say it/he is not there, yet all beings follow him for life.

Taishang laojun kaitian jing, in Livia Kohn, The Taoist Experience: An Anthology, 1993

And they orthodoxly revere Lao Tsu both as the first God of Taoism and as the epitome of the Tao.

However, Taoism has many Gods, most of them lent from other beliefs. These Gods are within this universe and are themselves subject to the Tao. Many of the idols are Gods of a precise role, rather than an own divine being and have titles rather than names.

Books often describe the Taoist pantheon as a divine organization that imitators the secular admins of Imperial China. Some writers think that this is the wrong way round and that the secular admins took their cue from the assembly of the heavens. Since the Imperial admins and the sacred culture of the time were closely tangled this would not be startling.

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Who are the Gods of Taoism?

Taoism or Daoism is a religious philosophy from ancient China that has influenced people all across the world. It is well depicted in the book of Taoism, written by Lao Tzu (around 500 B.C.E), the Tao Te Ching.

Gods of Taoism
Gods of Taoism

It believes that all beings (Humans and Animals) should live on the earth in harmony to maintain the true balance of nature. They believe in spiritual immortality, once the spirits of the body join the universe after death.

The “Way and Its Power” or “Tao Te Ching,” his collection of sayings and poetry from around the 3rd and the 4th-century B.C.E, acts as a guiding material for Taoists across the globe.

Although the author is a believer in the philosopher Lao Tzu, there is very little evidence that he existed. Rather, it is believed that the book is an actual collection of many ancient sayings of authors. Lao Tzu gave existence to the book for many political and cultural reasons.

Believers often refer to Lao Tzu as the image of the Tao, or a God, given that it had huge legendary status among the history and folklore of Taoism. The Tao (or Dao) is tough to describe but is now and then understood as the way of the universe.

Different Taoist books such as the Tao te Ching provides great detail on how one should maintain the behaviour to live in spiritual harmony with the energy (Ch’i, or qi). However, this energy is not believed to be God.

Rather, Taoism beliefs on God came into existence from several different cultures, over the period, found across the region known as China. These Gods, became part of Taoism, like all the living beings.

Taoism has temples, priories, and priests who offer gifts, ruminate and execute other rites for their societies.

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Power of Taoist Gods and Deities

Taoism has classified the universe into 2 parts;

1. Gods

2. Human Beings

Gods are further classified into Ghosts and other Gods. Each of these Gods has been assigned as the commander, a leader of the highest order. The highest honoured God is adapted into “San Qiang” Gods, i.e. Yu Qing, Shang Qing, and Tai Qing. Tai Qing is Laozi.

Power of Taoist Gods and Deities
Power of Taoist Gods and Deities

Ancient Taoism doesn’t believe in Gods or other natural beings, rather it deals with Yin-Yan and the unity of experience with Chi. Its sole association with the Gods is mainly the result of Chinese folklore that got merged with it over several decades.

There are 1000’s Taoist Gods. Some are holy men. Others inhabit channels, rivers and mountains. Most have distinct errands and explicit powers and skills to grant desires in specific areas of capability. Taoists who need something pray to the suitable deity in special shrines called sections or halls in Taoist temples.

Most Taoist Gods are related with a spot in the exterior world and a parallel spot on the inside of man and often have a role in averting disease.

The place of Taoist deities in a large pantheon often mirrors those of secular execs in an administration. Many Chinese cities to this day have a temple devoted to the City God, the heavenly equal of a mayor.

Name Of Taoist GodsPower of the Deity
Shou HsingGod of Longevity
Fu HsingGod of Happiness
Lu HsingGod of High Rank
Tsai SheGod of Wealth
Pao ShengGod of Medicine
Ju Lai OfGod of Luck
Chu Sheng NiangGoddess of Birth and Fertility
Kuan KungGod of War
Tsao ChunThe Kitchen God
Taoism Beliefs in God and Powers

Deities, female saints, displays of yin play a vital role in Taoism. The 5 mythical emperors, including the great Yellow Emperor, are given noticeable roles too.

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At the top of the heap is the all-powerful “Greatest One” — labelled as the “Celestial Venerable of the Mysterious Origin” of the Taoist trinity. The other 2 fellows of the trinity are the “August Ruler of the Tao” and the “August Old Ruler.” Lao-tze is stared as the avatar of the “August Old Ruler.”

The 8 Immortals are key figures as per the Taoism beliefs in God and Spirits. They include

  1. Chung Li Chu, a figure from the Han dynasty (202 B.C. to A.D. 220), who helped feed thousands of people;
  2. Lun Tung-pin, an official who travelled widely and helped the poor and exorcized evil demons;
  3. Lan Tsa-ho, a poet and singer who sang about life and giving money to the poor;
  4. Tsao Kuo-chi;
  5. The aforementioned Western Royal Mother, or Heavenly Empress who possessed the peach of immortality, which all the immortals need to retain their immortality.

Many Taoist Gods have bushy eyebrows. The Sun, the Moon, and the stars in the Great Bear are also important.

Read: Taoism Beliefs on Death and Afterlife


Taoism became well-known in the 8th century C.E. as the faith of the Tang dynasty. In the following eras, it existed along with Buddhism and Confucianism (another philosophical religion).

Taoism beliefs in God have developed from the intersection of various Chinese religions, that influenced the Chinese philosophies from time to time. But in the end, it is all about the “Way of Life or Tao” and balancing life by living in harmony with nature.

Taoism Beliefs in God and Spirits

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are Taoism beliefs in God?

Taoists believe in spiritual immortality, where the spirit of the body joins the universe after death. The Tao Te Ching, or “The Way and Its Power,” is a collection of poetry and sayings from around the third and fourth centuries B.C.E. that guides Taoist thought and actions.

Does Taoism believe in heaven?

There is significant scholarly debate about the Taoist understanding of death. The process of death itself is described as shijie or “release from the corpse”, but what happens after is described variously as transformation, immortality or ascension to heaven.