Cao Dai – What is it?

Cao Dai, also known as Caodaism, is the third largest religion in Vietnam. Somewhere around 7 million people follow Cao Dai. Cao Dai literally means "High Tower" or "High Place." Figuratively it refers to where the "Supreme Being" dwells, or to God Himself, though this god is most definitely not the One True God of the Bible.

It was founded by Van Chieu, a man who claimed a spirit named "Duc Cao Dai" communicated with him during a séance in 1919. Chieu thought he was receiving direct revelations from God. Cao Dai was formalized in 1926 with Chieu as its prophet.

Caodism combines some aspects of Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, and other belief systems. The head of Cao Dai acts a bit like a pope and the "church" is organized like the Catholic church.

Cao Dai teaches there are many holy figures to worship, including the Father, the Holy Mother, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Buddha, and Khuong Thai Cong. Saints such as Victor Hugo, Joan of Arc, Pericles, and Muhammad are honored, along with ancestors.

Cao Dai desires unification of all people, despite minor differences in belief systems, producing peace and understanding, tolerance, and common destiny.

This sort of cafeteria religion, where different aspects of several belief systems are picked and chosen to form an individual spiritual structure, is more and more popular throughout the world. However, this false construct is opposed by the Bible, which claims one way to God the Father, through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself, talking directly to Thomas, made this exclusive claim. "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).

Not all "holy" people are equal. Jesus is God Himself, divine. He is above all the saints and any divine beings (Colossians 1:15–17; Hebrews 1:1–4).

Cao Dai does not adhere to biblical truth nor follow the teachings of Jesus and His disciples, but instead teaches that ceremony, diet, and good works will accomplish a oneness with the "Supreme Being." Christianity says that salvation comes by grace alone, through Jesus. Righteousness cannot be obtained by willpower or moral strength (Romans 3:10) and good works will always fall short of God's glory (2 Timothy 1:8–10). The only way to God is through trusting in Jesus, His finished work on the cross, and His resurrection (Romans 10:9–10; John 1:12).

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