Dualism is the concept that depicts the presence of two equal but opposing parts or forces within the same body. Borrowing from this concept, then Christian dualism can be defined as the belief in good and bad as the two parts that counter each other. Taking this definition, the two opposing forces could be assumed to be God and Satan or good and evil. The main issue is the fact that the two forces should be able to counter each other in order to create a balance. In the definition of dualism, for the concept of dualism to be applied in Christianity, then God and Satan should be of equal abilities. Unfortunately this is not the case as scripture clearly states that God is superior to Satan; it further states that God will defeat Satan and throw him in hell. This explanation therefore beats the idea behind dualism. Therefore the term is considered. On the other hand, the concept of Christianity has created a good and evil; what to be and what not to be. This concept of good and evil has formed the basis of Christianity as God has clearly dictated the rules that man must follow in order to go to heaven. The opposite is to go to hell and destruction if one doesn’t obey and live as a Christian should. It is this I believe that has created the notion of duality within Christianity; the fear that if I do bad things I will go to hell and if I do good things I will go to heaven (Moreland and Rae 15-30 & Bemberger 234-240). Another concept of looking at dualism within Christianity is when you put Christianity on one hand and all the other “false religions” in the other. Christianity has stand out as among the religions that deems it’s self as true.
This therefore puts it at a collision course with other religions of the world some being much older than Christianity. In true sense dualism in Christianity has a lot of levels. This assignment will therefore compare this notion of dualism in Christianity in comparison to Taoism, a doctrine practiced in Asia.
Taoism believes that there are three pillars in the universe. All this pillars are dependent on each other. The pillars are heaven, the earth and man. The heaven is considered to be the Yang, the Earth is the Yin and Man is created out of a balance created by a merge of the Yin and Yang thus creating life. Yin is considered as dark, receptive and feminine while Yang is considered bright, strong and masculine. The manifestation of the forces varies from time to time depending on the situation. Unlike Christianity, Taoism doesn’t describe these forces as forces of good and evil but rather it emphasizes the balance between the two great forces within the man. This is because the balance will ensure his/her well being (Pregadio 5-10).
The dualism in Taoism comes in a different setting. Man is created with a balance of these two forces from heaven and earth. These forces will therefore struggle within man. Man on the other hand has an obligation to master the forces, to be firm and flexible at the same time. This is the basis of this dualism. Therefore unlike Christianity, it’s not about good and evil but about balance and discipline because indulging in one force is considered as wrong. Taoism therefore preaches a balance of all elements so as to ensure we are all rounded and living our potential (Bonsall 77-90).
There are similarities and differences between the two doctrines. To begin with both believe in the concept of a heaven. In Christianity heaven is Gods domain. Taoism describes heaven as the source of Yang or light. Both also preach restraint and discipline; over indulging is considered a sin in Christianity and wrong in Taoism. Christianity believes in one God who is the maker of everything that we see and don’t see. The Bible has also described him as omnipresent because he is believed to be everywhere at all times. Taoism believes that the forces yin and yang are bonded inside man by the one referred to as Tao. This I can relate to God. The differences are Christian dualism is characterized with evil or bad influence while Taoism dualism preaches balance of the said energies or forces within. This balance is critical to the well being of the individual.
In conclusion, dualism exists in many things including religion. Though each religion has a different doctrine, this doesn’t make that religion inferior or superior. Christian dualism can be seen in a number of levels. But the most common is the concept of good and bad in reference to heaven and hell. Taoism on the other hand depicts a balance of energies within our bodies. But both share a dualism that tries to explain the existence of man as he is today.